Skin Inc – Skin Supplement Bar: An intellectual property strategy that is more than skin deep

Skin Inc – Skin Supplement Bar: An intellectual property strategy that is more than skin deep

Strange, if you really think deeply about it: if each of us is as unique as our fingerprints, why should our skin be less so? it was the identification of this market gap, plus her inability to find products that truly answered her own needs, that spurred Sabrina Tan to eventually found her Skin Inc. Skin Supplement Bar in 2007. Recognizing the importance of intellectual property from the start, the company builds, protects, and manages its IP assets proactively, as well as actively commercializing it through various methods.  It now boasts a presence in over 100 cities worldwide, with 10 concept stores and over 120 distributions outlets including Sephora.


Skin Inc. recognizes that every woman is unique and has an individual skin identity. This realization led Skin Inc. to set up the world’s first Skin Supplement Bar, offering customized and innovative skincare solutions from Japan, such as their custom skincare serums, known as My Daily DoseTM.  The customization is made possible by Skin Inc’s proprietary technology, My Skin IdentityTM, a revolutionary system which diagnoses an individual’s current skin conditions and recommends 3 suitable active ingredients to concoct their unique My Daily DoseTM serum. The result is a brand proposition that is distinctive, refreshing and encapsulates valuable intellectual assets.

In its relentless pursuit for great products, Skin Inc has collaborated with leading R&D laboratories in Japan to create proprietary product formulations, as well as appointed Dr Shekhar Mitras, a renowned global innovation expert, on its Board of Advisors. In recognition of its industry-leading innovation, the brand has to date won a total 73 awards for 22 of its products.

In order to reach out to discerning consumers in the cluttered beauty marketplace, Skin Inc also leveraged on its expertise in creative marketing campaigns and engaging community-building social media initiatives.  The brand is active on many social media platforms and has received plaudits from numerous magazines and bloggers.

The result is a community of Skin Inc loyalists, an invaluable IP asset.

Lessons Learnt

1. Never, for a minute, stop innovating. The beauty and skincare industry is an unforgiving one. Big, international industry players have plenty of ‘muscle’, while consumers are bombarded with new brands almost daily. But each cloud has a silver lining – consumers are now, more than ever, willing to try out niche brands like Skin Inc.

This means that in order to survive and thrive, brands like Skin Inc need to constantly innovate and develop IP assets on all fronts, from products & services, marketing campaigns and how they relate to its customers. In Skin Inc’s case, the brand has continuously forged new IP assets in these areas, keeping the brand fresh and relevant in the minds of the consumers, and staying ahead of beauty trends and competitors.

2. Start with the end in mind. Skin Inc is a brand with a precision plan, yet dynamic enough to constantly refine its plan as it implements it. The founder has conceptualized the brand with clear end IP commercialization goals in mind – to develop franchise stores or retail points throughout the world.  For this reason, its stores and retail points have always had a uniform, distinctive look, making it easily replicable and instantly recognizable.

3. 1 + 1 = 3.  We often see different IP assets as distinctive entities, like a trade mark or a particular trade secret or copyright material.  But sometimes, when they come together, especially during the stage of commercialization stage, they become more than its sum of its whole.  Say a new product launch is paired with a successful social media campaign, bringing in many new customer trials or sign-ups for ‘more information’, which in turn adds to the company’s database of customers or potential customers.  The takeaway here is; businesses need to try and create new IP assets from its existing ones.

4. Turn your trade mark into a brand. A trade mark is only an image to your consumer unless they are able to build an association with it.  It is essential to have a strong brand proposition as well as a distinctive brand identity.  In Skin Inc’s case, the clear brand message is the recognition of a woman’s ‘unique skin identity’, and in turn offering them customized skincare solutions with effective and fuss-free regimens. This central theme of ‘empowering women’ and their individualities is consistently carried out throughout its marketing communications.  The resulting message resonated well with many women, creating strong emotional bonds with them, and cementing the desired brand association.

Contributed by

Altiply Pte Ltd

Altiply Consulting is a strategic business consultancy dedicated to helping businesses grow. We adopt a focused approach in helping our clients to capitalise on their core competitive advantage and intellectual assets. We build franchise or licensing systems to enable them to scale their business effectively, plus franchise brokerage and IP registration services. Altiply Consulting is a subsidiary of Louken Group. Since the year 2000, Altiply has served as trusted advisor to diverse industries such as food and beverage, retail, education, wellness, services, technology and business-to-business companies.