Serial Entrepreneur joins beauty business

Local serial entrepreneur Douglas Gan, 29, with four start-ups under his belt, has a new project underway - but this time, he is taking a longer view.

His latest venture, Vanity Trove, is a service allowing subscribers to receive samples of a range of new beauty projects for a monthly fixed fee.

Beauty product makers are eager to get new product samples out to consumers for them to try, and hopefully, use long term.

Mr Gan started Vanity Trove about a year ago, using his own savings, along with funding from angel investors.

He said he wants to build Vanity Trove into a strong regional company instead of selling it, as he did his previous Internet- based businesses, ranging from location-based service ShowNearby to Web design and development.

"The beauty sampling business is huge, about US$150 billion (S$185 billion), according to research firm Euromonitor," said Mr Gan, the co-founder and chief executive of the Vanity Trove group.

"Millions of young women are coming of age and entering the workforce in Asia. So I've a sustainable business that can grow into Asia's number one platform for beauty brands to reach potential customers in the region."

He has also been busy snapping up competing start-ups to ensure he has pole position in this business. His latest acquisition is Glossybox in Taiwan, for "a low seven-figure number", earlier this month. Last year, he acquired similar start-ups in Malaysia and Thailand. In Indonesia, he has a joint-venture company.

"Acquisitions or joint ventures let me get experienced staff. Their subscribers add to ours, so we can grow quickly, or else we'll be overtaken by competitors," he said in a phone interview recently.

He declined to disclose the price for these acquisitions. However, he let on that they did not come at a high price because they were young start-ups.

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