In the 1990s when the number of pilgrims going to Mecca was increasing, there arose a new niche market for suitable quality attire that was comfortable yet stylish. The Sri Munawwarah Design brand which Tuan Hasnah established in 1992 continues to enthuse the market with innovative designs symbolising quality Muslim apparel not only within Malaysia but also within London and the e-commerce marketplace. During a recent interview session with Top 10 of Asia, the iconic entrepreneur talks about her background and the business that she nurtured into a success story.
Dato’ Tuan Hasnah Tuan Yusoff, epitomises the essence of the modern Malaysian business woman, synergising the cultural traditions of a past era with the motivations of the current market place. Having grown up in a family with strong business ties, as both parents were deeply involved in business for a living, Tuan Hasnah has inherited an astute business DNA and exposure that has shaped her involvement in business undertakings.
Her dreams for a better life started from young, those visionary dreams have been realised through an immutable sense of strength imbued with a creative flair. There exists a perpetual innate spirit in Tuan Hasnah to challenge herself to aim for the highest peaks with the persistent belief that nothing is impossible in life if the intention and passion is sufficiently strong.
Tuan Hasnah’s creative flair lies mainly in the creation of designs for children and women clothing. The dream of starting a business came to realisation with the setting up of Sri Munawwarah Design in 1992. The word ‘Munawwarah’ possesses a special personal significance that reflects the radiance and illumination the business creates by serving Muslim communities. Tuan Hasnah’s family has helped organically shaped and expanded the business, especially its value proposition designs.
The Munawwarah brand articulates a subtle style and quality that has connected well with a large loyal, repeat-customer base. “My designs have gained recognition even amongst Malaysian royalties,” reveals Tuan Hasnah with a sense of pride. The materials for her apparels are mainly sourced from natural fabrics with lycra being a brand speciality. “Munawwarah designs are classical with contrasting hues of primary colours and textures that blend together to give chic sophistication,” she explains.
Tuan Hasnah’s foray into the commercial market began with Tabung Haji (Malaysian Pilgrim Fund) in 1992 when she successfully clinched a project for 500 pieces of ready-wear for pilgrims. Her product portfolio ranges from women, children and men’s wear to Haj and Ummrah apparels and accessories.
Tuan Hasnah views the company’s business ventures into the London market as a good stepping stone to other foreign locations in the near future. Designs from Sri Munawwarah have already gained a distinctive reputation on the catwalks of London Fashion Week for Malaysian Muslim design capabilities.
Tuan Hasnah’s two children, daughter Haslinah Mohd Ali and son Hazmi Mohd Ali are both involved in the running of Sri Munawwarah Design. Haslinah and Hazmi, professionals in their respective fields of law and architecture, believe that their involvement in the business is a higher calling as compared to being in their respective fields of specialisation. Tuan Hasnah is the CEO and designer with Haslinah overseeing operations and marketing while the management of the brand name is undertaken by Hazmi. A nephew, Shamsul Rizal Ghazalli takes care of the logistics for the company. A closely-knitted familial collaborative and supportive relationship has shaped the organic growth of the company.
Dato’ Tuan Hasnah’s dreams for success have taken her through quite a number of paradigm shifts from her Kelantanese roots to the urban retail scene of the big city. Giving back to society and serving the community meaningfully while expanding the business has been a winning factor that continues to bringing the brand and the family of Sri Munawwarah Design to new frontiers of prosperity.