She’s a force to be reckoned with. Multi-talented with a soft spot for animals, Yuhui has grown a very successful Singaporean cosmetics tools brand. We had the pleasure of working with13rushes as part of a fun Halloween collaboration (scroll down to watch if you haven’t seen it yet!) and spent some time getting to know this dynamic, intelligent and super friendly Founder!
It was a joy to watch Yuhui work and we definitely picked up a few things from her work ethic along the way. She doesn’t stray from hard work and is thoroughly hands-on with all aspects of any project. We were simply awed at her energy, motivation and attention to detail.
Fun fact: She’s very involved in the process of making the brushes for her brand,13rushes. She’s even spent an unimaginable amount of time trimming brush hairs until they are shaped to perfection!
Get to know more about 13rushes Founder, Yuhui! She is our Zahara Warrior of the month.
Zahara: We know you as the Founder of 13rushes, a popular cosmetics brush brand grown out of Singapore. Tell us more about yourself!
Hello everyone, I’m Yuhui! I studied in NTU and my background was in Accountancy and Marketing. 13rushes is my first and only full-time job. Apart from 13rushes, I spend whatever remaining time I have with my pet birds.
Zahara: When and why did you decide to start your own brand of cosmetics brushes?
2008: When I was 17 years old, I watched this PETA video on fur farming and became aware of the cruelties behind factory farming. I turned vegan for a few years because of that video. At that point, I was also starting to become quite vain (haha)! I started watching YouTube tutorials by Michelle Phan and buying whatever brushes which she recommended. After a few purchases, I quickly realized that most of these brushes were made from animal hair.
As a super gung-ho teenage animal activist, I began to question the source of these natural hair brushes. I emailed the suppliers to learn more about where these bristles were procured. Unsurprisingly, I learnt that the bristles were either harvested from fur farms or from trapping wild animals. I was appalled to find that I had unwittingly supported the operations of fur farms, something which I was an activist against.
2012: Started to explore the e-commerce space and Alibaba. At that point, there were still very very few synthetic alternatives available in the market. As e-commerce platforms became more user-friendly, I thought I could start a small business (for fun) revolving around the idea of cruelty-free beauty. I started sourcing for suppliers of synthetic brushes, went to their factory and sat there to learn how to make brushes.
2013: Spent the earlier half of the year learning photography, web design and etc. Launched 13rushes (just because 13rushes.com is available and cheaper than brushes.com)
Before I started 13rushes, there was a lack of selection in the market and whatever was left was simply not up to par. My mission is to bridge the gap by providing good quality synthetic alternatives that everyone can afford. With 13rushes, I hope to convince my customers to make a lifestyle change and opt for cruelty-free brushes whenever possible.
I personally feel that looking good, however, doesn’t need to have the added cost of being harmful to animals. 13rushes has a simple moniker – make-up brushes; as good as the real thing, none of the guilt.
Zahara: Did you know this was something you wanted to pursue when you were younger?
I know I’ve always wanted to do something related to animal welfare (such as a vet). However, I’ve never thought I’ll ever be in the beauty industry, let alone design and create my own products. After all, my background was always in science or like accountancy. Always by the books and nothing very creative!
Zahara: How did you learn how to make cosmetic brushes?
I sat in a few factories and made them teach me. Most of them got a little annoyed because they didn’t know I’ll sit there for a few hours straight! After one factory got annoyed, I went to another factory to learn again. It took multiple visits to the factories before I could grasp basic skills like getting the bristles into the mold.
Zahara: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face?
1 - Finding reliable manufacturers and suppliers. most of the major manufacturers are some distance from Singapore. You have to invest tremendous amounts of effort and time to find a manufacturer who is willing to work with you at your requirements, quality standards and budget.
2 - Another challenge is customer service. While I believe that customer service is a key pillar of success, as your business grows, the need for after-sales service grows exponentially as well. Being able to have a consistent set of responses, but having to build in the flexibility to deal with unique situations is a difficult task.
3 - The last challenge would be to figure out how to differentiate yourself. Simply saying your brushes are animal-friendly isn't enough. At 13rushes, we go to extreme lengths to trace our products up the value chain to ensure that it is truly sustainable and animal-friendly, and we demonstrate it through our videos and testimonials.
Zahara: Do you have a mantra you live by?
“Every accomplishment starts from the decision to try”
Zahara: Which is the most enjoyable part of your job/day?
Testing the prototypes and creating new brushes! The rest of my job... I don’t like that much 😝
Zahara: From previous conversations, I learnt that you also take up hair and makeup artistry classes. What is something else that interests you which you would like to learn to help improve your business strategy?
Photography and videography is something I would like to work on. Although it is always easier to hire a professional to do all the work, sometimes it’s faster if we can do simple shoots in-house. Also as a small business, it's too costly to have an in-house photographer/videographer. For such “frequently needed, yet costly projects”, I hope I can be a little more proficient!
Zahara: You do a lot and are very hands-on with your business. Can you share some tips for efficient time management?
Oh dear... I’m bad at this aspect... ): I don’t think I can give good advice on that
Zahara: What sets 13rushes apart from other brands?
I think we are different from most brands because our brand sticks very closely and strongly to our core belief of cruelty-free beauty. We do not compromise on this aspect and have always ensured that our products are animal-free in every way. Secondly, I think we are the only brand that hand-trims all our brushes again before sending them out! I dare say we have some of the softest synthetic brushes in Singapore!
Zahara: Where can we purchase your brushes?
You can purchase our brushes from our websitewww.13rushes.com
Zahara: If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?
You only have one body and brain, keep them healthy. Also, make self-development a priority.
Zahara: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My goal right now is to have a more consistent quality of supplies and stable cash flow which we can grow and take on new challenges for the company over time. Ultimately, I’d like to make 13rushes a comfortable environment for my future employees to work in in the next 5 years. But most importantly, beyond just the operational aspects of the business, I hope 13rushes can be both cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable by our 10 years mark (which is in 5 years time!)
Zahara: Complete this sentence. A beautiful woman is someone who…?
Never belittles herself
Our team at Zahara would love to thank the lovely Yuhui for sharing a little more about herself and her business.13rushes has recently dropped THREE new brushes so be sure to check them out when you get a chance! We had the opportunity to test out their brushes and they were super soft than any we’ve ever felt!
To see how we used the 13rushes cosmetic brushes, head on down to our Halloween tutorial we did together with them! Watch it here!
Till then, let us know who you’d like us to interview next!
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