Learn how Ee Ting turned her personal struggle with her skin into a bespoke brand.
Hop & Cotton is an Australian brand that offers completely customisable skin care products. They don’t sell any pre-made products, they formulate each product based on a questionnaire the customer completes. Their range is free from ingredients such as alcohol, artificial colours, paragons and sulphates, and uses a range of ingredients designed to benefit all skin types.
Ee Ting originally created the brand after struggling with her own problematic skin and used her background in science to create personalised skin care products for her family and friends.
The brand has a cult beauty following and has been featured on popular beauty websites like Mamamia, Popsugar, Cosmopolitan and Beauty Crew.
MetaFuro spoke to Ee about her company’s customisable skin care products and their belief that everybody is unique and deserves an individual experience.
Tell me a little bit about your company and how it was created?
I first got into formulation to manage my really difficult skin. For years, my skin just could not agree with anything off-the-shelf, so this was my last resort.
In doing the same for family and friends, the great results we saw from the products I created specifically for each of them inspired me to start hop & cotton, so I can offer this to everyone else.
How did you come up with the name Hop & Cotton?
My partner and I founded Hop & Cotton. We each picked something we liked and they made up the company name!
Tell me a little about yourself?
I moved to Australia 18 years ago. I started my career as a molecular biologist before going into cosmetic chemistry and formulation.
What products are core in the Hop & Cotton range? How does the customisation process for each customer work?
The complete regime, which consists of your Foam Party (cleanser+toner), Smooth Operator (non-abrasive exfoliant) and advanced face moisturiser (treatment+eye cream + moisturiser in one) are our core products. They will give the best results no matter your age, skin type or condition as every single product is a bespoke formula, making your routine streamlined yet comprehensive and highly targeted.
What is the process of creating your products?
We are about delivering skin solutions. Before any product is even created, we have to know who the product is for. Thus, we ask our customers to complete a Skin Test on our website, enabling us to understand their skin prior to formulation.
Formulating for anyone is about choosing the right type and balance of ingredients specifically for them. For example, extremely oily skin with a lot of natural sebum will not need much emollients, while severely dry skin lacking in oil (and usually also water) will require a significant amount of both oils and humectants.
The above is a simplification of the process. Realistically, things are more complicated when we factor in different conditions like acne, sensitivity/allergies, hyper-pigmentation, signs of ageing as well as client’s product texture preferences. On top of this, it is also paramount to get the concentrations right for the final product for the best results.
How do you find the process of creating your products and getting samples of your designs?
Creating our products involves our expertise in cosmetic chemistry, understanding skin and the knowledge plus experience in working with a multitude of ingredients.
We do not have samples as every single one of our products are uniquely formulated and manufactured for every client. Samples are impossible as we do not use any pre-made bases or stocks – every product is custom formulated and created from scratch.
How important was feedback and collaboration to you during the creation of your products?
Client’s skin history, condition and product preferences are all needed to create every product. We would already have all this information from their Skin Test before creating anything for them.
What does your average day look like working at Hop & Cotton?
I start work before 7am, and usually finish by 6pm. What I do each day is different, comprising of a mix of formulation, ingredients research, skin consultation and planning for upcoming campaigns or events.
I am also conscious of my productivity levels. If I find myself inefficient, I would drop my to-do list for a coffee, sauna or walk!
What have been your biggest pinch me moments so far?
Whenever I hear from someone that our products changed their skin and made them feel like a new person, I light up knowing I am making a difference doing what I love.
What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was to switch from a precise, detail-centric perception to a much broader one encompassing strategy, outreach and marketing etc. It was a steep learning curve for me, especially for an industry that is so saturated and fast-paced.
I am fortunate to have my team who are more experienced in those areas than myself, but the only way I overcame them was to learn by doing, and I’m still learning every day!
What have been the biggest benefits since creating Hop & Cotton?
Hop & Cotton is now a global leader in bespoke skincare. We’ve built not only a business but a trusted platform to educate people on skin and give honest advice/recommendation.
Any tips or advice you have for someone looking to start their own business?
Better to be a flawed original than a perfect copy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from someone?
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Unless we shift our fundamental belief, our solutions will lead us back to the same problem with a different name.
Who inspires you?
Cats. They are at complete ease with themselves without the need to have or do anything. They always remind me to be fully content in myself before I achieve anything.
When did you know you were onto something special?
I knew when my own skin turned around after over 10 years of struggling with it. I realised it was never about any particular (miracle) ingredients, but having the right balance of the right ingredients.
What are your vision and goals for the company? Where do you want Hop and Cotton to go?
My vision has always been to provide genuine solutions designed with purpose, driven by results not trends. I am so grateful for where hop & cotton is now, and will be elated for it to continue transforming skins and lives.
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