Amy Ngo is bucking the trend. When many brands reconsider their brick and mortar plans, the entrepreneur is planning to open 65 outlets across the island in the next three years through a combination of franchising and her own efforts.
“Traditionally, online platforms are advertisements to encourage people to come down to the store. Now, stores have become advertisements to motivate consumers to buy online,” she says.
Ngo is a former hairstylist and the co-founder of Organic Hair Regrowth Solutions (OHRS), a homegrown organic hair salon brand.
She recalls how her interest in the industry started at a young age when she would accompany her mother for hair appointments and ask the owner of the salon to give her minor tasks to complete. When she mooted the idea of becoming a hairdresser to her parents, her father shot it down. Ngo defied him and studied the trade in secret.
After a few years of working in the industry, her colleague suggested they venture out on their own. Ngo jumped at the opportunity with little thought and started OHRS in 2007.
Fourteen years later, it now has nine outlets in Singapore.
When the pandemic hit, Ngo had to close all her outlets. Fortunately, her plentiful reserves and government support ensured that the business could continue even with no revenue for a period. She also spotted yet another opportunity – buying a factory to produce her own line of home hair care products.
“I believe the professional organic scalp treatment packaged in home care kits will become an enormous market since they provide immediate results at a fraction of the cost and in the comfort of your own home,” says Ngo.
Her prediction is not without merit. Multiple research studies have shown that younger people are increasingly reporting hair loss. In 2018, a self-reported study of 4,000 university students in Beijing found that 60 per cent of them were losing hair. Multiple professionals in the field also share that they are increasingly seeing more youthful clients with thinning hair and receding hairlines. Ngo has noticed the same trend in Singapore.
“We are receiving more and more customers below the age of 30 with scalp problems. One of the youngest clients we had was 14,” she shares.
Ngo stands ready to help. Besides the professional home care kits, she has integrated her new outlets with technology, such as smart mirrors that enable customers to access their scalp conditions and track their progress efficiently with every visit. Ngo says, “Combining hair care with technology can be tricky, but we would like to think we’ve done it. Our customers come above everything else and everything we do is to achieve utmost satisfaction for them.”