Share on:

Justin Chiam’s foray into bird’s nest started with his pregnant wife

Along with co-founder Stuart Ho, Justin Chiam revamps the traditional industry with The Purest Co.

In any business, you know that the owner cares about his customers when it is something close to his heart. The Purest Co started with founder Justin Chiam searching for quality bird’s nest for his pregnant wife. As anyone who has ever cracked open a bottle of ready-to-drink (RTD) bird’s nest will know, most products end up containing scant amounts of actual bird’s nest. Appalled by the misinformation and obfuscating labelling of the brands he encountered, Chiam started The Purest Co with co-founder and ex-schoolmate Stuart Ho.

(Related: Nae:um is chef-owner Louis Han’s love letter to South Korea)

As with any burgeoning business, establishing the right relationships was one of their first challenges. In Chiam and Ho’s case, the challenge was finding a supplier with the experience and credibility to produce the required standard of bird’s nest and the flexibility to want to “engage in the R&D of new flavours in a modern way”.

(Related: What to expect from the newest Michelin-starred restaurants in Singapore)

Then, they had to deal with the uphill task of convincing customers about their value proposition: getting more bang for their buck with the direct-to-consumer brand. Unlike many RTD bird’s nest brands that label their product by total weight – sugar, water and everything else – The Purest Co lists the grammage of the pure bird’s nest that goes into each bottle. Shares Chiam: “Although other brands may price themselves lower, the ingredients and amount of bird’s nest they put in may not justify that price.”


  • COO Stuart Ho (left) and CEO Justin Chiam.

With over 40,000 bottles of bird’s nest sold in 18 months, it’s clear that bird’s nest is no longer just a product for the older generation, especially since the bulk of their customers are working women aged 30 and above. According to Ho, “[Our main demographic] was something we were debating about early in the business. We found through our research that younger audiences are embracing this traditional product in a new light.”

With growing health concerns worldwide, the partners are ready to take on a larger stage. The brand already offers a subscription programme for their products – a first in Singapore – and plans to expand its offerings. If all goes well, that could include an omnichannel experience for their customers – all born from the desire to find the best for Chiam’s spouse.

(Related: Ghost kitchens’ boom in Asia as pandemic sparks huge demand)