A young Malaysian has been turning heads ever since he introduced his own line of pomade products in the local men's grooming market
Amir Syakireen Ramli studied geology and graduated from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. After his graduation, he worked as a geologist at a giant oil and gas company.
However, after five years, he decided to quit his comfortable job to establish Hipster Pomade, which sells men's grooming products. The 29-year-old's decision to start his own business also came about after he realised that his work has taken away his time from his family, as the nature of his job required him to be overseas for long periods of time.
Amir once told Harian Metro that he founded Hipster Pomade so that local consumers, particularly men, would be able to style their hair as they desire without spending too much money on grooming products.
It all started in 2015 during the Hari Raya celebrations when his cousin brought a pomade back to their kampung in Gombak
Amir was introduced to this product and he was fascinated by it. He realised that there is a great potential for the product to be a hit among locals.
"From there, I have this desire to find the best formula to create a water-based product that is easy to carry during prayers and is cheaper than other pomade brands in the market," he said.
It was learned that Amir has always displayed such entrepreneurial spirit, even when he was still a young boy. When he was still in primary school, he would buy snacks in bulk just to get each of them cheaper by 10 to 20 cents. Then, he would sell them to his friends at school just to earn RM1 to RM2 extra pocket money.
Determined to venture into something new, the Negeri Sembilan-born launched Hipster Pomade with only RM15,000. Just less than a year into the business, he managed to make RM1 million!
He forked out a total of RM15,000 from his personal savings, which he accumulated from the time that he was working, to use as his capital.
Using the funds, he started making products and registering them with the Ministry of Health (MOH).
During the initial stages of the startup, there were only two variations of pomade available, but Hipster Pomade quickly gained popularity among locals.
Through hard work and perseverance, Amir successfully propelled Hipster Pomade to be a well-known brand in the industry in a short period of time
During the early days of the business venture, Amir had to do everything by himself - from personally taking orders online to getting the stocks whether rain or shine.
Of course, there were naysayers who doubted him, and he even had to convince his wife and family that his idea would work. At times, he wanted to give up, but he pushed through and persevered despite the many challenges.
It has been two years since Hipster Pomade was incepted and the business has been growing by leaps and bounds. More than 30,000 units of pomade are being sold every month.
Today, there are more than 15 stockists and 1,200 agents who handle the sales of Hipster Pomade products across Malaysia.
Hipster Pomade is no longer just an online venture as Amir has made his products available at offline retail stores such pharmacies and toko jamu (traditional medicine shops) .
There is even a dedicated Hipster Pomade kiosk at IOI City Mall in Putrajaya.
Besides Malaysia, Hipster Pomade products are also available in other countries such as Singapore, Brunei, and Egypt, among others.
Amir has attributed the success of Hipster Pomade to his efforts in building the brand image
Known for his advertising techniques that have helped grow his business rapidly, Amir revealed in an interview with Utusan that he bought billboard placements at 27 different spots along major highways across the country to promote Hipster Pomade.
It was also noted that he has strategically used celebrity endorsements for Hipster Pomade products. Most recently, a new product by Hipster Pomade called 'Extreme' was featured together with popular local actor Hairul Azreen, who is also the winner of 'Fear Factor Selebriti Malaysia'.
The young entrepreneur is also not afraid to explore creative ways to continue building the product's brand image, such as creating a 'Hipster Pomade Show' on YouTube and even developing a mobile game.
Hipster Pomade also managed obtained the halal certification from JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) recently, which is particularly important to Muslim consumers.
The founder of Hipster Pomade has also continuously put in resources to improve its products, which saw the brand offer more than just its own line of pomade but also accessories and even special merchandises
The success of Hipster Pomade reached new heights when Amir received an award at the 'Anugerah Personaliti Industri & Usahawan Malaysia 2017' in April.
Moving forward, Amir has plans to collaborate and work with various entities to develop his business and provide a better service to consumers. He has also expressed his desire to take his company public within the next five years.
Great job, Amir! All the best in your future undertakings!