With over 30 years of experience in treating over thousands of people with common skin concerns, Melissa created a successful legacy that has changed the face of the skin care industry. Long before the success that she is today, Melissa’s life was never always this way. It was the year 1968 in a small Malaysian town named Mantin, a young Melissa was struggling between her final year exams and working odd jobs.
“I remember when I was eight years old, my father’s furniture business was going through a rough patch and I felt it was my duty as the eldest child in the family to help supplement income.” – Melissa
She came from a poor family and had to live from hand-to-mouth trying to find enough money to feed her mother and three siblings.
“I worked at a neighbor’s vegetable farm, harvesting greens to be sold at the market, and also wove cane baskets, which was extremely painful. I remember I used to go home with bruised and numb hands.” – Melissa
Despite her struggles, Melissa was determined to fight for a better life and future to give her family.
After completing her Higher School Certificate at the age of 19, Melissa had decided to enter the working world as an administration clerk in a financial institution. During her spare time, she earned additional income from the direct selling of skincare products by selling door-to-door. It was there that she discovered her passion for skincare. She was a natural at it and immediately saw many ways to help other women who are struggling with their beauty.
“I used to think that women, especially those in small towns, stopped trying to look their best after they got married. Some were aging faster than their husbands after a few rounds of pregnancies. I thought that I could help them look better and hence boost their confidence.” – Melissa
Melissa was eager to learn skincare. She worked hard on the job for 3 long years before barely saving just enough money to afford for her long-awaited beauty diploma course. Over the course of her study, Melissa has excelled in learning the basics of skincare.
“Understanding beauty concepts comes naturally to me, be it theory and practical, so I was able to complete my basic beauty courses in record time.” – Melissa
Upon discovering her talent in skincare, Melissa decided to leave her stable job to pursue business in beauty. However, she was quickly discouraged by her family and friends who were sceptical of the very idea of beauty at the time. With great courage and willpower, Melissa took a leap of faith and persisted to move forward with her plans, resiliently following her dreams of beauty.
In 1984, Melissa was only 24 years old when she opened her very first beauty salon at Imbi Plaze in Kuala Lumpur, it was called “Head To Toe” Beauty Centre.
The salon was a small shop lot with a space of 168 square feet comprised of a single washbasin with no functional water supply. Water is essential for facial treatments.
As this salon was her pride and joy, Melissa was determined to provide the best for her customers regardless of the circumstances. A water tank had to be installed and attached to a tap over the basin. A pipe was then used to drain water out of the basin into a pail for disposal.
“I used to carry water from the toilet everyday. It was hard work and life was not in the least bit glamorous.” – Melissa
Despite the poor working conditions, she delivered excellence. Melissa’s priority was set on solving her clients’ skin problems with great persistence to achieve results of healthy beautiful skin.
“I know what is required of a person to achieve quality service. Always be courteous and sensitive to client needs. I owe the way I approach my work from my strict family upbringing.” – Melissa
“During difficult times, my enthusiasm to achieve business success spurred me on. I was also inspired by my clients who asked a lot of questions and wanted me to learn new techniques to help them.” – Melissa
Over time, Melissa’s skin care business began to boom. Her reputation grew as word of mouth travel faster than sound. Soon she began receiving visits from the top VIPs and dignitaries of the nation.
“I always had a never-say-die attitude. In my persistence, no hurdle was too difficult to overcome.” – Melissa
As customer demand for better service grew, Melissa needed to find ways to exceed her customer expectations. Like many young aspiring beauticians at the time, Melissa was always finding ways to improve her craft. She soon enrolled into CIDESCO, a globally recognized beauty course. It was there where she received her first diploma in beauty.
In 1984 Melissa began using products from a German skincare brand. Unfortunately, the products were not compatible with the weather and began to show signs of ineffectiveness when clients started to complain.
“I was worried and felt that I should take the responsibility to do the right thing for my customers.” – Melissa
Melissa knew that she had to look for a new brand of products to expand her business options.
In 1989, Melissa became the first exclusive distributor in Malaysia for an American skincare brand.
In 1992, Melissa opened the very first Leonard Drake centre in Malaysia. Three years later she was the owner of the two “Head To Toe” and six Leonard Drake skincare centres. Melissa was even featured on “Woman At Work Magazine 1995”, Malaysia’s leading magazine for women entrepreneurs at the time.
Melissa remained humble and was eager to learn more to enhance her skills. As such, she enrolled in the post-graduate courses by the International Dermal Institute in Los Angeles, where she graduated as an internationally accredited beauty therapist. Furthermore, Melissa also completed numerous skincare extension certification courses at the proudly recognized University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Overwhelmed with her newfound knowledge, Melissa sat out on a personal mission to find a solution to various skin problems that plagued Malaysians, particularly acne and sensitised skin.
“I wanted to customize treatments for local customer’s lifestyle and I’m proud to say that I was able to solve, or at least control major acne problems of my clients.” – Melissa
Melissa was always working on her acne extraction technique. Over many years of treating difficult skin problems, her mastery over the art of extraction manifested itself through her persistence to never give up.
“My goal is to educate people on how to get the right type of skincare and the right type of treatment suitable for their skin” – Melissa
In 2000, Melissa started one of the first advanced beauty therapy post-education program in Malaysia with an affiliation to the International Dermal Institute of US. Her goal: to raise the standards of beauty therapists in the country.
By 2002, Melissa expanded her business into 20 operating salons in Klang Valley and was featured on New Straits Times as “Self-Made Chen.”
On 11th March 2004, Melissa took her business public by officially listing her company on Bursa Securities Malaysia. It was the first time a skincare company was ever listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange.
As one of the first few women in Malaysia to public list a business, Melissa was featured on the front cover of Dare Magazine, Malaysia’s inspiring new magazine for women.
At the centre of attention for every beauty media and press release, Melissa has achieved her dream and realised a passion that inspired a generation of young beauty entrepreneurs. She engaged Hong Kong and Hollywood actor Maggie Q to become the brand ambassador.
At that time the company Melissa founded was at the pinnacle of its success, it exclusively distributes for brands like Dermalogica, Clinelle, Eve Taylor, Averine Skincare Cosmetics and Bioxil in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and other ASEAN nations.
Salon numbers expanded regionally to over 50 outlets at the time. Leonard Drake was soon rebranded into what is known today as Astersprings.
Esthetics & Wellness International (EWI) Academy was established, where Melissa personally trained and educated thousands of young enthusiastic therapists throughout Malaysia. Up until today, many of these therapists would still look up to her as a figure of respect and as their ‘first beauty guru.’
Melissa’s passion for finding skin solutions naturally brought her to R&D, where she focused a lot of her time and attention on developing new skincare products she believed would meet the needs of her customers.
Despite all the fame, success and a big beauty empire that she has created, Melissa wasn’t satisfied. She wasn’t satisfied with the results that her customers were getting with the current products. Being a person of passion and integrity, she believed that there is much more that she can achieve in delivering results to her customer’s, especially those with problematic skin.
At the peak of her public listed company, her humble beliefs remained unchanged, she still wanted the best for her customers.
“What I do every day in this business, my goals, my purpose is always for my customers.” -Melissa
“I thought that with a big company I would be able to do whatever I believed in to get my customers the results they needed for their skin. But, I was wrong.” – Melissa
Feeling imprisoned in her own company and unable to express full control over the very business she created, Melissa resigned.
In the late 2010, Melissa created her new company Melissachens High Performance Skincare.
Beyond her past success and with over 30 years of experience, Melissa pursues her dream with a heart of passion. Unbound, she is finally able to give her customers a line of skincare products that she truly believed in.
The marketplace today is in an abundance of skincare products, Melissa wanted to create products that would make a difference. She learned that the market lacked products that would perfectly cater to the needs of the skin in the humid Southeast Asian climate. Melissa acknowledges the West for being highly advanced and reliable in R&D. She leveraged on Western R&D to specifically tailor-make new types of products that could accommodate skin in the Southeast Asian climate and exceed its expectations.
In doing so, she collaborated with top laboratories in Switzerland to develop the perfect formula in a symphony of East meets West. Melissa was very specific on the key ingredients she wanted in her products. She ensured each formula was potent and tested to repair, restore, protect and nourish the skin to deliver noticeable results that last. In addition, her formulas strictly exclude pore-blocking comedogenic ingredients that make the difference.
Melissa started developing the finest qualities of skincare products ever to cater to the needs of Asian skin in tropical regions.
“I particularly remembered one customer telling me that my products were high performance like a Ferrari, with regards to delivering instant results to her skin, and that was how my whole inspiration of ‘High Performance Skincare’ came about.” – Melissa
Many who tried her products reported seeing their skin becoming brighter, smoother and radiant looking within weeks.
Melissa now operates her flagship boutique salon, Melissachens Skin Beauty Spa in 1Utama Shopping Centre, offering the most exclusive of result-oriented treatments that are personalized to every of her client’s skin needs.
Melissachens Skin Beauty Spa is highly sought after for its excellence in treating clients with severe acne skin problems, based on the best-kept secret of Melissa’s signature acne extraction technique, her specialty from over the years.
“I don’t believe in investing heavily on advertising, I believe that if I manage to successfully treat my client’s skin, they will eventually tell their friends, that to me is a good enough form of advertising.” – Melissa
Today, Melissachens High Performance Skincare can be found on the shelves of premium pharmacies and professional beauty salons, as distribution has successfully expanded throughout countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
“It is my lifelong dream to help men and women of all ages and skin conditions to achieve amazing results through products that I truly believe in.” – Melissa