profile
Dorothy Chau

BBA(MARK)

 

Founder and CEO

Pretti 5

profile
Dorothy Chau

BBA(MARK)

 

Founder and CEO

Pretti 5

Comfortable in her own skin

If you have a dream, don’t waste any time pursuing it. Dorothy Chau, CEO and Founder of Pretti5, has taken this mantra and applied it to her career. Originally in the banking and branding fields, Dorothy found her passion to help millennials feel confident about their appearance. The result was Pretti5, her skincare solution fusing traditional Chinese medicinal herbs with advanced science, and a non-toxic, vegan and sustainable approach.

Yet it almost didn’t happen. Dorothy was first at Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management division and then joined Landor, a global brand consulting agency. Having then been headhunted by Michael Ying, the former chairman and chief executive officer Esprit Holdings Limited, it seemed Dorothy was on the corporate path. "Michael came into the office one day, and he asked me why I hadn’t started my own business yet. I thought I was being fired," she says with a laugh.

Starting from scratch (literally!)

While she didn’t have an entrepreneurial background or network, Dorothy’s experience in advising global clients on design, sourcing, manufacturing and quality control came to the fore. She started by founding her own lifestyle brand and distributing products to China, Taiwan and Japan. But a major turning point came in 2018 after Dorothy suffered from a skin allergy, that ultimately resulted in her starting from 'scratch'. "I saw a Chinese herbalist and this started the idea to create a skincare brand, combining ancient Chinese prescriptions and Western skin care technology to curate natural and effective products," she says. 

With a strong herbal medicine tradition and robust quality control, Japan naturally became her base. Fast forward to five years later and Pretti5 has gained a place on the Sephora shelves, despite the challenges of strong competition, having little experience, and needing huge investment in marketing and advertising. "I did not have much capital, but why did I still insist on doing it? A product design exhibition in Paris in 2017 inspired me. I saw there were big brands, but also many small and medium-sized ones with unique identities and market positioning.  Instead of chasing for traditional big brands, someone out there must be looking for genuine and niche brands that can cater to the needs." says Dorothy.

The power of belief 

For Dorothy, her philosophy is in many ways about keeping things simple. Her advice to entrepreneurs: don’t underestimate your own power. "If you want to start a business, you must first believe in yourself, because your ability is often bigger than you imagine, and you must trust that you will succeed. When I say 'success', this is not just about making money. Each small win on every single day counts. It offers a kind of momentum that keeps you moving forward," Dorothy says.

For many entrepreneurs, failure can be cruel. But it is important to also flip the bad moments on their head. "Don’t take your success or failure too seriously, and have faith in your vision. When your vision is wide enough, you will see each moment as a stage to develop your future."