Nicolas Travis' new brand PSA is targeted at the younger market, championing “clean beauty” and affordably priced products

The Ready For Launch series asks questions of entrepreneurs to get the inside story behind a new startup or product launch.

More than four years after the launch of his first skincare brand Allies of Skin, which is now in 23 markets worldwide, Nicolas Travis has unveiled his second product line. 

Following in the footsteps of its popular older sister, PSA (short for Purposeful Skincare by Allies) champions the Singapore-based Gen.T honouree’s belief that skincare products should be “clean effective”. Its products are formulated with clinically proven actives, but without additives that can potentially trigger skin irritations such as silicones, sulfates, mineral oils or synthetic fragrances. 

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While Allies of Skin and PSA both have minimalist branding, the latter targets a younger demographic, with more youthful product design and names. Think Goals, a night serum packed with useful acids and probiotics to refine pores and reduce blackheads, and Heroine, a daily toner comprising liquorice root and kombucha. 

Here, we talk to Travis to learn the story behind the new brand.

Can you introduce PSA in one sentence?
PSA is a cruelty-free skincare line powered by clean, efficacious formulas.

Who is the target consumer?
Anyone looking to have fun with their skincare regimen, particularly the millennial and Gen Z crowd who are just starting on their skincare journey.

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Above Nicolas Travis

What is your value proposition?
PSA is designed to deliver results without breaking the bank. It is a purpose-driven skincare line powered by our "Clean Effective" ethos, so our products are full of clinically proven actives at optimal percentages without any fillers or potential irritants such as drying alcohol, sulfates, essential oils, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. 

We have the steps listed down for every product, so if you are just starting out on your skincare journey, you won't be confused about how to use the product. Our pro-transparency stance also means we talk about what’s in our formulas and at what percentage. So you know exactly what you’re paying for.

What is the size of the potential market?
If we look at the global skincare products market, it is projected to exceed US$183 billion by 2025.

Who are your investors, and how closely did you work with them through the product development stage?
We have a great group of investors who have invested in Allies Group, the holding company for Allies of Skin and PSA. They range from high-net-worth individuals and family funds to industry experts with a foothold in the supply chain. We recently closed a funding round in which the family behind FJ Benjamin participated.

Our investors have been very supportive of our vision and are always around whenever we need advice or help connecting the dots.

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Above Part of PSA's brand messaging is representation, as its products are designed to be suitable for all skin types, colour and conditions

We want to make skincare easy and fun

- Nicolas Travis -

How long did it take you to get from idea to launch?
It took two years to bring PSA to life.

Did the products go through many iterations before arriving at the final concept, or is the final product fairly similar to the original idea?
There were many reiterations to the formulas as we have a stringent research and development process. However, the original idea stayed the same—and that's to create a range of best-in-class problem-solvers that will play well with any skincare regimen.

What is the biggest obstacle you faced in getting PSA to market, and how did you overcome it?
Keeping to a specific price-point for the formulas was the biggest challenge. With PSA, we really wanted to create a range that was effective and accessible, so we were very cognisant of keeping the retail prices below US$40.

It took us a few tries but eventually, we learned what to focus on and discovered new effective yet affordable actives that we could use.

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Above PSA launches with four products, which includes Heroine, a toner packed with AHAs and botanical extracts to brighten, calm and moisturise skin
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Above Goals is a hydrating night serum that comprises clinically proven acids and probiotics to pamper your skin when you sleep

The goal was to create a range that stands out on the shelves as well as on your Instagram feed

- Nicolas Travis -

How did you arrive at the final branding for PSA?
It was a pretty smooth process. I had the vision from the very beginning and we just ran with it. The goal was to create a range that feels fresh, and that stands out on the shelves as well as on your Instagram feed.

What is the story behind PSA’s name and logo?
PSA is a play on the phrase "public service announcement" but for us, it means "Purposeful Skincare by Allies". The goal of PSA is to democratise skincare by making it all about the customer and delivering visible results. There’s far too much noise in the beauty space, especially in the lower price point category, where the focus is more on packaging and branding, instead of what’s actually in the formulas. We felt that it was time for products to serve a purpose.

What are your goals for the brand for the next 12 months?
Expansion. We are currently sold online and in every Sephora store in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines. South Korea is next on our list, and so are the EU and US. We also have a lot of launches planned, so expect to see the growth of the line and a lot of innovative formulas being released.

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