It is widely known that success comes with a price. One young and enterprising entrepreneur in Malaysia has not only paid the price for his success but has, through sheer determination, taken hold of that which many seasoned entrepreneurs have yet to achieve. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia speaks to Dato’ Calvin Khiu Fu Siang, Founder and CEO of MK Curtain Group of Companies, and one who knows exactly what trials and tribulations are all about.
Born into poverty in the small town of Bukit Gambir located in the southern state of Johor of Peninsular Malaysia, Dato’ Calvin Khiu is no stranger to hardships and challenges in life. At the age of 12, Calvin learned to be independent and responsible – taking several part time jobs and running various errands. He got his first full time job at the age of 18 after graduating from school as a curtain sales person in a local textile store. In due time, he learned the ropes of the trade and then took a confident leap to start his own business in 2005, thus establishing the MK Curtain Group (MK) with the help and support of his wife, Datin Moon Sze Fui.
Since its establishment, MK Curtain Group, consisting of M.Kaye Premium, MK Curtain and MK Textile,has opened 25 branches across the country. After having made its mark as the leader in fashion curtains, MK is now venturing into other products such as bed sheets, wallpapers, cushions, carpets and home decorations. On top of that, MK is strengthening itself in the manufacturing sector. It is establishing a new 99,000 square-foot ‘Home Décor Retail’ based on the ‘Door-to-Door Service’ concept and is envisaged to be the largest curtain showroom in Southeast Asia.
“As long as you’re going to be thinking, why not think big? I always challenge myself to strive and improve myself and the company. What will you choose – to put your nose to the grind now or to do it later in your life? I choose the former now as I would rather enjoy the sweet taste of success later on,” says Calvin who is not one to rest on his laurels. He will soon be launching the company’s first handbag product under the brand, Chairlarry, which is made out of pure cotton canvas with nanotechnology. Well, being the dynamic and ambitious entrepreneur that he is, Calvin certainly lacks no creativity in coming up with innovative ideas to establish new frontiers.
MK has three missions that it upholds – to nurture young wealth creators; to introduce NILAI 3 (one of the largest wholesale centres in Malaysia located in the state of Negeri Sembilan) to the world; and, to provide support and assistance for interested employees to begin a career in business. As peculiar as it is, Calvin believes that it is literally true that one can only succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
“I treat everyone here at MK as family members. When I introduced the profit-sharing concept to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in the MK team, it ultimately helped the company’s performance and increased the growth significantly. When you are willing to give your heart to your employees, your employees will do the same for you too,” says Calvin with an unmistakable sense of gratitude.