They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And anyone can tell you that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
But to Yap Yann Fang, it’s more than that. “Beauty to me means being your beautiful authentic self and showing the world your best self.”
The CEO and Founder of Beauty & Co, Yann Fang is a seasoned expert in the field, having seen the industry evolve over the course of her career, and after more than 20 years in the beauty and wellness industry, she’s sure of one thing: “I want to make a positive impact on the industry. That is why I started Beauty & Co.”
A beauty co-working space, Beauty & Co acts to build a sustainable beauty business by providing a space where freelance beauticians and small beauty salon owners can get hands-on training and create a greater and credible beauty community while providing a beauty experience that people can trust.
The first-of-its-kind in Malaysia, the idea came to her years ago when she was in the U.S. attending a culture camp held by online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos. Back then, the concept of a co-working space was booming, prompting Yann Fang to ask herself how she could modernize a traditional beauty company and build a community that shares the same values and vision.
“I truly understand what the challenges and struggles beauticians are facing, and I believe there are many beauticians out there who share the same passion and values as I do as well. This is what motivated me to want to build a platform where beauticians feel safe to come to work, comfortable and confident enough to serve their clients,” she says with pride.
Passionate for the future of the beauty in Malaysia, Yann Fang was first exposed to the industry as a child, helping around in her mother’s hair salon business. This gave Yann Fang her very first taste of what it takes to own a business, and it's where she learned some of the most important life lessons that she still carries with her today.
Having started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 25, Yann Fang is set on raising the industry standards through her business ventures. As part of her efforts to cultivate a community of professionals, she was also the leading lady behind “Selling with Love”, an initiative bent on raising awareness on ethical selling business practices and inspiring change for the better within the industry.
But despite all her achievements, the female entrepreneur admits the biggest barrier that continues to hinder her is self-doubt. “As a woman, we are generally much more empathetic, kind, humble and great listeners which are great characteristics as a leader. But we will also often doubt ourselves when people start commenting.”
“Women, tend to have lots of guilt when we don’t do well in our role, whether it is a mother’s guilt, work related guilt or even spouse’s guilt. That is why it is extremely important for us women to build and have a strong support system,” she advises.
She goes on to say that throughout her life, she has been grateful to have met a few mentors at various stages of life, but her biggest influence would always be her late mum. “She was such a great role model to me and because I have spent so much time with her in her salon and witnessed how she practiced all these great values every day, until today these values still instill deeply in me.”
“When I was younger, I didn’t fathom how all these values would play such a significant role in my life, but today, I am incredibly grateful to my mom for instilling so many of these great values that I will live it without regrets!”
As a female leader, Yann Fang believes the importance of giving a space for women to shine, and this starts with being insistent that women all over have every opportunity to hold positions of power in business. “All my life I have worked with lots of females, my clients and employees are 90% female. I honestly think females are better leaders, and in our company, we emphasize values which I think are extremely important in the beauty and wellness industry.”
She says that the most important qualities a leader should have entrepreneurship and the pursuit of continuous learning, qualities she has built Beauty & Co on as a platform that opens up new opportunities of growth, enables our people to be their own boss and earn a living in a way that better supports their life choices and aspirations; “This is not just about making better income, this is about women empowerment and economic empowerment.”
Looking towards the future, Yann Fang is already setting in motion big plans for Beauty & Co. The company is gearing up to uplevel the beauty industry in Malaysia by expanding further into the wellness industry with a 30,000-sf holistic Health, Beauty and Wellness ecosystem set to launch at the end of this year.
“Let’s just say there is always something new and exciting in this industry! I look forward to and have higher expectations of what it can offer.”
Penny For Your Thoughts
If you could be anyone—fictional or non-fictional—, who would it be and why?
Fairy godmother; I've always loved transforming and inspiring people to be their better self.
Advice you would give your younger self.
Play more as work is endless. Be kind to yourself as much as you are kind to others, and aim for excellence, not perfection.