Aleptav: Aspiring Woman Entrepreneurs Award 2021/2022


Founder of Aleptav, Joanne Kok

Going the extra mile for your customers is key to good service, but for some companies, it is almost a mantra. Beauty salon Aleptav’s commitment and devotion to their clients – not to mention their quality facial services – is exemplary, often building the kind of rapport that can last a lifetime. Customer service of this calibre is built on the back of unwavering passion, empathy, and the personal touch of Joanne Kok, who runs the salon entirely by herself.

Aleptav is located in Joanne’s home, where she would receive up to four clients a day (or more on the weekends). These clients can choose from a variety of facial services, including Bojin facial, Diamond Peel facial, Stem Cellsmesotherapy and many more. Aleptav also offers many reliable facial products, which Joanne tries on herself before selling – her sensitive skin makes her a suitable test subject for ensuring all her products are safe and efficacious.

The Pursuit of Passion – Aleptav’s Beginnings

Joanne had a rough start to her working life. After graduating with a diploma in business, she decided to enter the corporate world, taking on the role of an HR personnel. It was what her parents always wanted – a stable, well-paying job – but Joanne quickly became disillusioned with it.

“I did not enjoy the corporate world at all. I was reluctant to go to work, and would occasionally break down into tears before leaving for the office. It was really difficult then,” Joanne said.

“When my boyfriend (now husband) saw me in that state, he suggested that I should pursue what I love instead. He told me that even if I were to fail, I could simply pick myself up and re-join the corporate world if needed. So I thought, why not give it a shot?”

Joanne’s passion was, of course, for all things beauty. During her HR days, she would purchase beauty packages from all over Singapore, not merely to enjoy them but to also get a feel for how these beauty salons ran their business. This gave her a rough idea of where to start and how to go about achieving her goals. “I learned a lot by observing how the big brands operated. Because, although the resources and quality of service can differ, many of the fundamentals are the same for most beauty salons,” Joanne noted.

After setting up Aleptev in her abode, Joanne turned to her colleagues as her first clients. And though she was far from confident in her skills at the time, she was pleasantly surprised to find that her colleagues trusted her to do a fine job. “I think they could really feel my passion for the job, and so they put their faith in me.” 

How the Business is Run – Placing the Customer Above All Else

While some clients discovered Aleptav through their website or social media pages, Joanne considers word of mouth to be the most effective marketing strategy. That is why Aleptav goes to such great lengths to satisfy their customers – even if it means spending more than usual.

“I’m always giving the customers more than what they pay. Frankly, I’m not too concerned about making temporary losses – I just want to give customers the best experience possible,” Joanne asserted.

That includes things like sending clients home after their facial, preparing gifts for them during festive seasons, and celebrating significant milestones with them if they passed an exam or landed a new job. The fact that customers are comfortable enough to share details of their lives with Joanne is testament to her warm, affable personality, which allows her to earn the trust of her customers. “Some of my clients are even afraid that I’ll stop doing facial,” she added with a giggle.

And since Joanne works alone and does not need to pay rent, she is able to price her products and services lower than her competitors. Still, hard selling is out of the question for her – there is no point in being pushy when the customer always comes first.

With these tenets of customer service, Joanne grew Aleptav into a successful beauty salon with many loyal customers. She never imagined that she would own a company that serves 80-100 customers a month which, if she does not plan her time carefully, could overwhelm her with a jam-packed schedule. The next step in Aleptav’s journey would be to set up a shop and hire more staff to share the workload with, while still maintaining the quality of their service.

“The important thing is to always be different with how we treat our customers,” Joanne said. “The authenticity, the care, the extra mile we go for our customers – that’s what makes us different, I think.”

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