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In collaboration with Picksum, we spoke to the inspiring Malaysians behind 12 local brands that are making waves in the beauty and fashion industry, to find out more about their business and why they started it all.
Here are their stories:
1. Nigel Sparks - the founder of Negative, an edgy streetwear brand
For Nigel, a t-shirt is a t-shirt, and a cap is a cap. The only way to truly differentiate yourself from the pack is to offer a brand that represents more than just cool designs. He created Negative, a streetwear brand, in a bid to inspire people who have ever been put down by others for being different. His goal is to form a community within the youth, encouraging them to share their trials and help each other build their dreams from scratch.
Nigel's underlying message is to "prove 'em wrong!" and never be afraid to chase your dreams.
His advice to budding entrepreneurs is to first ask yourself, "why do I want to start a brand?" He adds that you should strive to either solve a problem or add value into people's lives.
Nigel says it's important to never expect handouts, and when in doubt, do your own research online. There's no excuse to say "I don't know."
View the Negative collection here.
2. Yantie Basharudin - the founder of Dyan Women's Beauty, a beauty line that caters to women with sensitive skin
Yantie started her brand when she experienced difficulties in finding lipsticks that ensured no side effects. Against all odds, she began experimenting samples of lipstick mixed with her self-made ingredients that are proven tolerant to sensitive skin.
In order to help other women with sensitive skin, Yantie decided to share her findings through Dyan Women's Beauty.
Yantie's advice to people thinking of starting their own brand is to know that everything is possible, when you start exploring the impossible.
View the Dyan Women's Beauty collection here.
3. Kelvin Tan - founder of Lip & Co, a cruelty-free beauty line
Kelvin spent 2 years developing the concept and formulation of his beauty line before launching it online in September 2017. He worked with a world-class chemist to ensure only the best ingredients are used to provide benefits for your skin in every product.
If you're thinking of starting a brand, Kelvin's advice is to develop and create something you are passionate about and good at. Understand your market so you can clearly identify your target audience. This will allow you to validate your ideas and enhance them before you even launch.
View the Lip & Co. collection here.
4. Yufariza Hani - the founder of Fille, a quality hijab brand
Yufariza Hani started wearing hijab in 2012, back when the local modest fashion scene was relatively small. She felt limited to low quality scarves that don't last and high-end scarves that cost 10-15 times more with designs "only your mother would wear!" She saw a gap for modern scarves that cater to young, fashionable women who want high quality pieces without paying upscale prices.
She started off by reselling wholesale scarves on Instagram to gain experience and study the market, and eventually produced and launched her own shawls in March 2016.
Yufariza's advice to starting your own brand is to always think long term. Don't quit your day job on a whim. Instead, use it to save money, network, and gain knowledge. Try not to get into debt, instead start your business with what you already have in hand. And finally, to stay true to yourself and only sell what you believe in. Don't do what everyone else is doing just because it looks easy. Remember that everyone has their own pace to reach success, and that's perfectly okay.
View the Fille collection here.
5. Muhamad Iyzie Jamaludin - the founder of TUATU, a smart casual menswear brand
Muhamad Iyzie created his line of menswear in order to provide clothing options that are not too formal, and not too casual. TUATU's first piece was the Baju Handsome, a shirt that can be worn to a wedding and make you look sharp, and also worn to a mamak without looking overdressed.
His advice to fashion entrepreneurs is to always do your research. Every decision you make must be based on your own thorough R&D. He adds that you may not always get it right the first time, but sabr (patience) is key, and learning from failures will only make you improve.
View the TUATU collection here.
6. Zsazsa Othman & Evelina Soraya Hashim - the founders of La Soie, an indie label that celebrates the versatility and beauty of silk
Zsazsa and Evelina Soraya were inspired by their love for travel, art, and natural fabrics like silk. Together they created La Soie to showcase the versatility and beauty of silk into daily function and wear. La Soie shawls are crafted from 100% pure fine silk sourced from their travels throughout Southeast Asia.
Their advice to starting a new venture is to do what brings you joy and fulfillment. As long as you create based on your passion, everything else will follow.
View the La Soie collection here.
7. Nabilah Mohd Isa - the founder of Muka&Co, an all-in-one make-up and skincare line
Nabilah struggled through a difficult pregnancy that left her sick and demotivated at work. She ended up having to take leave nearly every week, yet continued to work from home. Ultimately, she realised that the long working hours of her day job wouldn't be sustainable for her family once the little one arrived, so she took a leap of faith and created her dream business.
Her idea behind Muka&Co was inspired by her new life as a first-time mum. Between juggling her responsibilities as a wife and mother, she only had less than 10 minutes to look after her beauty regime every day. So she created an all-in-one mineral-based serum and primer foundation to allow busy women the ability to do their make-up and care for their skin at the same time.
Nabilah has 3 pieces of advice for starting a business: to have faith, be passionate, and have self-motivation; to do a lot of research and create a proper business roadmap; and finally to prepare yourself mentally for the challenges you will face.
View the Muka&Co collection here.
8. Shen & Kamil - the founders of Vamph Grooming Essentials, handmade hair grooming products
Shen and Kamil were inspired by "home brewers" in the hair grooming scene in the US, so decided to try their luck in Malaysia. They incorporated high quality ingredients into their formula to ensure your hair gets nourished while being styled.
Their advice to entrepreneurs is to have a strong interest and passion in what you're pursuing. From there, be an expert at what you do and continue to learn. Finally, Shen and Kamil say it's important to always be grateful for negative feedback and comments, because that's the only way to grow.
View the Vamph Grooming Essentials collection here.
9. Shuz M. - the founder of Null & Subtle, a clothing brand for men and women
Shuz created Null & Subtle as a means to express and experiment specific looks that represent her beliefs and philosophy.
Her advice to starting a successful business is to do extensive research in what you intend to produce. Then, know yourself and others, so you can set your own voice and be comfortable with it. Shuz adds that it's important to seek advice from many different people, but to never ignore your own heart.
View the Null & Subtle collection here.
10. Aishah Sinclair & Suraya Sharifuddin - founders of Lash.etc, eco-friendly magnetic false lashes
Aishah and Suraya started their business because they both love the look of full lashes, but struggled with using normal false lashes that require glue. They also felt that one-time usage of lashes were not sustainable, as they aren't recyclable.
Lash.etc provides magnetic lashes that can be used up to 30 times, are easier to apply, and much more eco-friendly.
Their advice to starting a brand is to find a good partner. They add that entrepreneurship can be a lonely battle if you're on your own, so it's very important to find someone who shares your vision, who you can trust and laugh with over the next twenty years or more! Remember that you are who you associate with so your partner must be as hungry for success as you are. Finally, they advise to stay hungry, because this forces you to push yourself to continue to survive, grow, and evolve!
View the Lash.etc collection here.
11. Syahir Zakaria - founder of Stickybox, a streetwear brand that focuses on simplicity and minimalism
Syahir created Stickybox in an effort to uplift and embrace the local street subculture in Malaysia. He believes that it's crucial to support the scene in order to maintain and improve the local economy and local entrepreneurs.
His advice is to try and monetise your passion into a career, regardless of what interests you. Branding is important, but producing high quality products and services are more important.
View the Stickybox collection here.
12. Kamila Ridzam - founder of KyLa ZaYn, stylish, affordable, and comfortable womenswear
Kamila started her clothing line for three reasons. The first was for her children and their future (the brand is named after them!). Secondly, she's always been passionate about fashion. As a child, she looked up to her mother's sense of style as a source of inspiration. And now she views fashion as an outlet to be creative and innovative.
Finally, she loves to shop but finds it hard to find quality clothes with immaculate cutting at affordable pricing. So she started KyLa ZaYn to create current yet timeless looks, that are comfortable to be worn for any occasion.
If you're planning on starting a business, Kamila urges you to "do it now!" The best time to start is when you're full of energy and fresh ideas to explore, create, make mistakes, and learn from them. She adds that you should always take calculated risks and make decisions wisely, rationally, and responsibly. Finally, celebrate all the little successes that come your way to stay motivated.
View the KyLa ZaYn collection here.
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