A Note from

Philippe Terrien & Giselle Go


Photographed by June Kim

DAMDAM (noun)
a feeling; sense; conscious awareness.

When Giselle and I first met in Singapore a few years ago, we quickly learned that we shared the same values and centers of interest. We both worked in fashion and in the course of discussing the things we thought were no longer working in our industry, we slowly toyed with the crazy idea of creating a skincare line focusing on easy, everyday products with clean formulations – just the ones you really need to have on your shelf.

Giselle had spent a good part of her life as a chief-editor of fashion magazines in Singapore and received tons of samples to test and write about from all the luxury brands you can imagine. Tired she was and not satisfied with the products, which often were overpriced and contained toxic chemicals or fillers, she started to think about creating a brand that addressed the real needs of people today. From her readers to her circle of friends, she knew modern preferences have changed. People want to use natural and sustainably produced products in simple yet chic packaging, but either the market has not kept up or has met these needs at an unreasonably high cost.

While I myself never received anything from the brands, I was raised in a family with a mother who taught us the virtues of plants and natural remedies for health and beauty. From an early age, I had an “allergy” to diktats from big companies and was instead obsessed with DIY home remedies.

Last days of summer/ A favorite piece from Iranian artist, Fereydoun Ave/ Getting that exact shade of green right

Indulging on a slow morning

In late 2015, Giselle and I started to look into natural plant ingredients local to Asia. We turned our kitchen into a makeshift lab, a skincare version of “Breaking Bad” with flasks, funnels, scents, waxes, and oils. While we did not break the law as Heisenberg did, we had the time of our lives testing scents, textures, and efficacy. We formed a precise idea of what we wanted to do: a skincare line with key products (which can be used on their own or added to an existing routine) made from locally sourced ingredients, free of toxins, and with great potency perfected by clean technology. We started to develop the products together with a lab in Japan under the guidance of a respected Parisian chemist. More than a year and a half later, DAMDAM was born.

Working to bring our products to life

Weekends by the sea, a two-hour drive from Tokyo

Our brand may start with skincare, but DAMDAM is also about our point of view. We are largely inspired by our travels, the people we meet, and the values we uphold – integrity, mindfulness, and a more conscious way of consuming products.

These values also hold sway in our passion for art, design, food, and travel. We have an extended mission to collaborate with artisans from different parts of the world and use DAMDAM as a platform to share their work. Our idea is to build a collective of creative people who inspire us, people we discover and meet in our travels, and to share them with you. In the near future, we will propose, little by little, products made by independent artists and artisans that you can discover through DAMDAM.

A little art therapy via painting, pottery, and wildcrafting

Colors borrowed from nature’s palette/ Making preserves from fruits grown in the garden

In the meantime, we’re happy to start sharing their stories here. These are stories of friends, of people we meet, and of people who inspire us – the tribe that forms DAMDAM. We also plan to share snapshots from our travels, recipes and tips on food and entertaining, and our favorite artisanal discoveries.

We’re excited to welcome you into our little Internet home – stay for a bit and have a chat with us in the comments section below. Enjoy!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 Comment

  1. Tetta Ortiz-Matera says:

    Hi Giselle & Philippe,

    It was wonderful to meet both of you, glad Rajo connected us. I was wondering why you called your skincare line DAMDAM & when I read your “note”, I realised it was actually a Filipino word; How ingenious! I cannot wait to try your products, I certainly love the story behind it.