More than just making you want to add to cart and race to check out, The Collective is turning the online shopping experience as thoughtful as skincare is supposed to be.
In a time equivalent to that of being forced into a corner in a manifestation of old-school disciplinary action, much of the world was accorded the opportunity to look inward more than ever before. With consciousness being central to the development of many, intuition and introspection were cornerstones in the decisions, as well as of the changes made over the course of the past year and more. Stripped of many things we grew accustomed to in access and convenience, it was all about survival and simplicity. A revelation more than anything, it became apparent that we really don’t need a whole lot, just the essentials. This manifested in many things, but a clear shift was seen in the focus on the skin. What was for a time a growing extension to the beauty empires, skincare sped right through the lanes of concern.
Similar to a rebellion of archaic ideas, the attention to skincare was the mindful reaction to the times, a rejection of the standards of what once was if you will. This is precisely the premise of The Collective, an e-commerce website with an immersive experience that intends to re-imagine beauty and challenge its notion of being just a certain, “perfect” way. “Inspired by real people, we aim to demystify skincare and beauty to make them easily accessible to you,” writes The Collective co-founders, Dominique Cojuangco and Michael Hearn. “Approaching self-care holistically, naturally, and honestly, we are here for you and your journey towards embracing and discovering your skin’s best, healthiest state.”
All About You
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Does the world need another skincare hub? The answer is yes. Sure, the market is inundated with a lot of choices that promise the best, the most innovative, and the different, but the point of these digital points of convergence is to help you in your journey of discovery, which is what skincare is really about. Just as each has their own concerns to deal with, the virtual spaces such as The Collective make the experience a lot less mechanical. Here, it’s a lot less racing to check things out (although there is nothing wrong with that), but more of indulging in the process and the moment—again, just as skincare is supposed to be in terms of self-love.
In The Collective, you aren’t just flashed with deals. Instead, it functions like an online magazine in the vein of Mr. Porter where the carefully curated products of tried-and-tested (Aivee Skin, Embryolisse, Laneige, Innisfree) and cult favorites (Alder New York, Dermtropics, Faace, Mount Lai, Skin Need) are housed under one easy-to-navigate roof with lots of rooms to click and explore. There is the shop tab with divisions according to self-care concerns and skin type. You can also hop on to the Curator tab and get to experience the brands in a more thoughtful way.
“We want to guide you to feeling your best, not push you towards beauty standards,” the site says. “We’re not The Collective—you are.” Barely a day old and holding so much promise already—and a lofty one at that? We’re definitely intrigued.
Curious to learn more about The Collective? We sat down with co-founder, Dominique Cojuangco, for an exclusive look at how things came to be, in the pandemic no less.
After months of planning and pursuing, how are you feeling now that you are actually launching?
We’re thrilled to be sharing The Collective with everyone. The team has been working hard to pull everything together. We just hope that we present you with an experience that’s enjoyable.
Why did you want to enter the competitive and populated market of skincare? How are you separating yourself from the rest of the skincare destinations online?
I truly believe we’ve found space in the market, where we’re able to create a community that values skin health over trends or perfection. The Collective hopes to be able to reprioritize what caring for your skin means. Beauty shouldn’t be something that is gender-specific, shade-specific, or size-specific. We are a platform that aims to be the friend you can go to for advice.
All this happened amid the onslaught of a pandemic, did that reality scare you or set back? How did you persist and what was it like working through it? Any significant lessons learned?
It was a privilege to have been able to have been able to really sit and work during a such a difficult period for everyone. However, it gave me the opportunity to put my horse blinders on and take our vision and run.
You have an impressive selection of products from the tried and tested to the cult faves. What goes into the selection of what makes the collective? Will we see more local products in the future?
We are staying true to our roots and launching with most of our brands being from the Philippines, with other brands and products that will sprinkled on in the near future. The brands we carry reflect our website, our values, and brand identity. It is vital that the companies we work with meet their claims and their products are made up of non-fuss ingredients that are good for you. Naming our website, The Collective is a testament we want to withhold. Ensuring our partner companies’ values align with ours, is the foundation of who we are and how we run.
In your brief, it says you will be bringing in partners from your pool of brands to come here and talk about skincare and trends. Why is this important to the model of The Collective?
I want The Collective to really reflect what self-care looks like within a community. It’s important to be able to create conversations between founders and really focus on how different brands can be.
What was it like working on this together with Michael?
It was important to have work-life balance. Although difficult at times, it was great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other, and really bring in a different dynamic to what we were used to.
And finally, what is the one skincare gospel that you absolutely swear by?
There are so many factors that change our skin, whether it be environment, the active ingredients in your products, if you use products at all, your stresses…There are skin types, just skin states.