This 22-Year-Old Made A Booming Business Selling Petai As Spider-Man In Perak

"I didn't want to be just another petai seller."

Cover image via Instagram @spiderman_petai & SJ Echo

Meet Selvakumar K Tharmalingam, Slim River's friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.

He doesn't bust crime. He sells everyone's favourite stink beans from the back of his car.

Selvakumar has been gaining a lot of attention for his creative marketing strategy of selling petai around Selangor and Perak, dressed up as the well-known superhero

The 22-year-old is a Bachelor in Business Administration of International Business student at a private university in Klang Valley.

Speaking to SAYS, Selvakumar said that he started the business about two months ago when his university moved all their classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he found that he had a lot of free time.

"My grandfather used to do this business and none of my family members took it up after him. So, I came up with this idea and started Spider-Man Petai," said the enterprising youth.

Image via SJ Echo

"Not just another petai seller"

According to Selvakumar, he didn't want to be just another petai seller.

Initially, he put on the Spider-Man suit just because he thought that people might be attracted to something different.

"And it actually worked. I really didn't expect this much of support from the public. I didn't expect this idea would get this much of attention from anyone," said the bewildered second-year university student.

Seeing a brightly-coloured Spider-Man selling petai in their neighbourhood intrigued and amused many passers-by. Selvakumar said many people have stopped at the roadside to take a picture with him before ending up buying some petai, which costs RM10 for a bunch.

"People are attracted to Spider-Man, and then they buy the petai from me. So, my marketing strategy actually works," he said.

"This proved that you not only need to work hard but work smart as well."

Selvakumar said that business has been booming and that customers can now place orders a week in advance to get fresh petai from him

He told Astro Ulugam that he sources petai from an Orang Asli community in Perak and, while he takes orders, he usually sells it at multiple locations to increase sales.

Also speaking to SJ Echo, he said that he has made several trips away from his hometown, sometimes about 50km to Kuala Kubu Bharu and occasionally as far as 100km to Ipoh to sell petai by the roadside.

However, from merely looking for customers to now selling petai in bulk, his income has definitely helped with monthly expenses for himself and his grandmother, who he lives with, as his parents are divorced.

Image via SJ Echo

Although business has picked up since he donned the superhero costume, Selvakumar said he does not intend to make a living out of it

"This is just a part time business for me. I want to be a police officer. That's my dream since childhood," he explained, adding that he will do anything and put in all effort possible to achieve his ambition.

If anything, Selvakumar's determination definitely rings clear as he puts on a full head-to-toe costume in the scorching Malaysian weather for the sake of business.

Support his petai business on his Instagram page here.

Every neighbourhood in Malaysia needs a friendly Spider-Man:

Here are other everyday Malaysians who pursued their own business and are doing well for themselves:

You may be interested in: