Cover Story
Kindred Spirits
Grace Lim | 27 Oct 2017 14:51
Khoo and Kok have found a way to make their dreams come true

Finding someone who shares your passion is something rare and valuable. And Joanne Khoo and Phebe Kok, both 32, know this well. They are not only longtime friends but business partners who share the same love for a healthy lifestyle.

They have known each other since they were 11 and even attended the same university in Melbourne where Khoo studied law while Kok took up medicine. The former practised law for a few years before becoming a full-time mother while the latter is currently working part-time in the medical-legal department of a law firm.

They are also the founders of Daya Botanica, a natural plant-based skincare brand. As self-professed private individuals, there is a lot of nervous laughter during the photo shoot, but the mood immediately changes to a more open-hearted one the moment we sit down to talk about their brand.

Kok kicks things off. “We were talking about doing something like this two years ago. We wanted to work on something that we know we would enjoy doing, regardless of the seasons of our lives. And that one thing was good quality botanical skincare.”

While they admit that the market already had similar products, “the ones we like are quite pricey,” says Khoo. “The more affordable ones are mostly synthetic and not plant-based. There’s a market gap for affordable all-natural botanical skincare.”

In December last year, Daya Botanica rolled out its first products, hand and body moisturisers as well as hand and body scrubs. “We had to think really hard about what products we wanted as our customers’ first experience of our brand, and we introduced the moisturisers and the scrubs together because we wanted them to have a spa experience at home,” says Kok.