Beautiful from Head to Toe

Beautiful from Head to Toe

EMAX Beauté International Sdn Bhd, a prominent beauty and skincare brand in Malaysia, has established itself as a one-stop destination for head-to-toe beauty services. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Asia, Wilson Lee, the CEO of EMAX Beauté shares valuable insights into the company’s journey, its success factors and the vision for the future. Wilson has led the company to become a prominent beauty and skincare brand in Malaysia through his vision and commitment to innovation. With a comprehensive range of services and a focus on addressing industry demands, EMAX Beauté has set itself apart as a one-stop destination for all beauty needs, propelling the company’s success and paving the way for future expansion.

Wilson Lee embarked on his professional journey after completing his education at First City University College. He started his career as a Marketing Executive at Pets World, where he gained valuable expertise and experience. However, he found his true passion at EMAX Beauté International, where he has devoted the last eight and a half years of his career with unwavering commitment. Through his hard work and dedication, Wilson has recently attained the esteemed role of CEO, leading the company to achieve greater success.

Emax Beauté was established on the back of an unfulfilled niche in the market. “We identified a need for comprehensive beauty retail services and essential skincare products that perfectly complemented the treatments. Our aim was to address existing demands by providing innovative solutions and solving existing problems in the industry,” says Wilson. 

Wilson attributes the success of EMAX Beauté to several important factors. Firstly, effective leadership plays a crucial role, as I carefully choose and place individuals in positions that align with their skills and potential.  Secondly, the company’s focus on organisation and strategy has been instrumental in achievements,” says Wilson. “We have also developed a systematic approach that ensures a smooth flow of operations from customers to brands.”

“We take pride in our four distinct brands. Our first two brands, Beauté Library and Venusde, specialise in beauty services such as facials and non-invasive laser treatments. Venusde goes a step further by also providing scalp care therapy and hair growth treatments. Curvena, on the other hand, is dedicated to slimming and wellness, focusing on achieving healthy curves, effective weight loss management and treatments tailored specifically for women. Lastly, B+ Clinic represents our recent expansion into the aesthetics industry, where we offer cutting-edge treatments including fillers, botox, platelet rich plasma and thread lifts,” Wilson continues.

Wilson’s management and leadership styles can be characterised as visionary, democratic and transformational. “I present a compelling company vision that inspires and aligns with the personal and career aspirations of my staff,” says Wilson who approaches his responsibilities with objectivity and a strong focus on achieving results. “One of my notable strengths is strategic risk-taking, where I carefully evaluate the potential advantages and disadvantages of a decision while having contingency plans in place. This approach enables me to take calculated risks that have a higher likelihood of leading to success.”

When asked how Wilson balances his professional and personal life, he says,  “I conduct monthly resets, re-evaluate my way of life and adapt to evolving priorities. Effective time management is crucial, and I dedicate time each Sunday to plan my week meticulously. During the holiday season, I prioritise spending quality time with my children, while the remaining time is dedicated to driving the business forward. Weekends are sacred for me and I make a conscious effort to devote them to my family.”  

For young people embarking on their business journey, he says, “Do not fear the possibility of burnout. It is important to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to understand your limits. Hence, you will gain valuable insights that will help you strike a balance between work and play effectively. Embrace the process, have faith in yourself and trust that even when things don’t go as planned, it is part of your journey towards success.”

Making Your Big Day Perfect

Making Your Big Day Perfect

The wedding day is probably one of the most cherished moments when one ties the knot and preparations for it are all geared towards making it a memorable one. Heidi Burarak of Ketvondee Wedding Studio helps turn the bride and groom’s dream for a fairy tale wedding into reality. From ethereal gowns and dashing tuxedos to dreamy photographs and gorgeous makeovers, Heidi shares with Top 10 of Asia how she runs her business to become one of the most trusted wedding studios in Kuala Lumpur.

It all began in Australia, where Heidi kick-started her career in retail while finishing her diploma in electrical engineering at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. It was then that she discovered that the kind of fulfillment she gets from being able to understand and help the customers was unmatched by what she was doing in her previous careers in other fields of endeavour. 

“I was born in Thailand and migrated to Australia when I was 16. After I got married and relocated to Malaysia in 2015, I knew I wanted to get back into retail. That was how I decided to start my own business, Ketvondee. It started off as an evening and bridesmaid dress rental shop in response to the growing trend of sustainable fashion that encourages consumers to buy less and opt for rentals instead. It was a fairly new concept in Malaysia back then. We are one of the pioneers,” explains Heidi.

Derived from her Thai birth name, Ketvondee began to grow, expanding to cover other necessities in wedding preparations such as wedding dresses, suits and shoes, make-up and hair-do services as well as photography. Heidi waited until after the COVID-19 ‘storm’ began to subside in December 2020 to officially launch Ketvondee Wedding Studio as a one-stop wedding and events centre. 

Heidi sees herself as a mentor who coaches her employees to become good assets for the company. In doing so, she involves herself in every level of the business operation on daily basis to make sure that her employees get immediate support when they need. Heidi also believes in democracy. She makes sure each campaign proposed for Ketvondee Wedding Studio is tabled to her team first. 

Each feedback is taken into consideration and every aspect of the campaign is thoroughly explained to ensure that it reaches the target. “Instead of asking my employees to simply follow orders, I always listen to their thoughts and suggestions. Some of them are working on commissions. It is important for them to understand and agree to every campaign so that they are able to communicate and deliver information to customers accurately and efficiently,” says Heidi.

Being a wife and a mother, Heidi is always grateful for the flexibility that her business allows her in balancing her professional and personal life. She is supported by a good team that always delivers every task given at their highest standard. 

“The ability to be part in helping customers to plan and create beautiful products for their wedding gives me the greatest satisfaction. I have been very fortunate to be able to manage and shape my business based on my vision with the strong support from my husband and my employees. They are one of the reasons that motivate me to keep going, even after the rough patch that we had during the pandemic. I can never let them down.,” says Heidi.

There is nowhere to go but up for Heidi. Ketvondee Wedding Studio currently has 22 employees and two branches (Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru) with the third one to be launched in Penang soon. “I am looking into the possibility of opening more branches abroad in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia. That would be something that I would like to achieve with Ketvondee five to ten years down the road,” shares Heidi.

Healthy Both Inside and Out

Healthy Both Inside and Out

Dr Anna Hoo Jen Shi, founder and CEO of Anna Hoo Group, is an aesthetic doctor who believes in the importance of holistic health. Although she is a world-renowned medical aesthetic doctor, the needle or laser probe is not the first to go to when a patient comes to her with a beauty concern. In an interview with Top 10 of Asia, Dr Hoo talks about her passion for helping others feel confident and happy by providing treatments for holistic healthcare.   

Dr Anna Hoo Jen Shi is a doctor of medicine who specialises in anti-ageing and medical aesthetic treatment e.g. non-invasive face rejuvenation treatment and laser treatment. However, she is an aesthetic specialist with a difference – she believes that people should not only look good on the outside but must feel good inside and be in good health too. Beauty, as she puts it, should shine from within.  

“Years ago, I asked myself what beauty meant to me. It then occurred to me that beauty is when someone wakes up in the morning and looks at himself or herself in the mirror and finds him/her looking youthful, confident and joyful. Beauty is the appearance that allows him/her to connect with people socially with ease and enables him/her to function optimally in life. 

“This ‘Functional Beauty Concept’ forms the basis of my belief in beauty creation and is the central pillar for my consultation, assessment and treatment planning in my quest to help my patients to achieve a youthful, confident, and happy appearance,” says Dr Hoo. That’s why she feels that medical aesthetics is not merely about giving Botox injections or laser therapy. More importantly, it should be not a one-size-fits-all treatment where patients come in droves asking for wrinkle removal. 

Instead, she seeks to understand the root cause of the accelerated ageing process in each of her patients. She then explores the wants and needs of the patient before designing a treatment programme which is tailor-made to the patient. 

Above all, she realises that different patients respond differently to her treatment and this is largely due to the difference in health status. The consultation may be longer but it is deeply rewarding. By understanding the problem and restoring the patient’s health to the optimal level, the patient gets the most out of the aesthetic treatment. It is her aim to improve her patient’s health physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is no wonder that she achieves outstanding results with her medical aesthetic treatment.

“When I started my clinic, I was happy to do things I’m passionate about – I wanted to help my patients to look and feel good inside out. I understand this is a calling as I feel fulfilled to witness my patients’ health, confidence, and lives improve. Therefore, the vision of our clinic is ‘to enhance lives through optimal health’,” she says. 

Dr Hoo is an international trainer in Botox and filler injection. She is also an aesthetic medicine practitioner certified by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia. Together with her team of doctors, nutritionists and nurses, she offers a wide range of wellness and medical aesthetic treatments to their patients.  

“From the date of inception until this very day, we have never deviated from our enthusiasm towards our work and have always striven to deliver exceptional care to every patient. By combining our expertise and state-of-the-art equipment, we want our patients to receive care which is both efficacious and safe,” Dr Hoo explains.

In her daily work and life, Dr Hoo believes in being patient and treating others with love and compassion. She finds it essential to work from the root cause and improve from it to ensure that the problem that the patient comes to her for is resolved completely. She engages with employees and patients in the path of optimal health, as most people still think that it’s a dream which cannot be achieved. 

She hopes to reach out to more patients by training the new generation of medical doctors to ensure that the medical aesthetic and wellness health approach that she so passionately promotes can touch the lives of more patients.

The Home of Good Hair

The Home of Good Hair

The House of Ridz Okumura Sdn Bhd is a well-established Malaysian brand in the haircare scene. The company was started by the husband-and-wife team, Abdul Ridzuan bin Abdul Mutalib and Akiko Okumura in 2010, it has grown into a million-dollar business consisting of three salons and a florist. Through strategic networking and marketing, a loyal team and financial prudence, the company has built a steadfast loyal customer base that includes celebrities and royalty. In an interview with Top 10 of Asia, Ridz spoke on his entrepreneurial journey including his background, the challenges he faced, and what means most to him in life.

Ridz from Parit, Perak has travelled a long way, both logistically and career-wise, before embarking on his entrepreneurial efforts in hair care services. “I come from the school of hard knocks,” acknowledges Ridz. “Coming from a family of ten, we struggled for a living. My first job was planting oil palms and despite the odds, it was a success.”

“Subsequently I moved to Kuala Lumpur and gained experience from a multitude of careers whilst simultaneously picking up pointers about business strategies, people, and the environment. These jobs ranged from sanitation endeavours and sales to frontline hotel positions. Along the way, I met my Japanese wife, Akiko Okumura who has been a pillar of strength in building my career,” says Ridz with a smile.  

“In 2009, to realise our entrepreneurial dreams, my wife and I formed a business partnership called the House of Ridz Okumura,” recollects Ridz. “That was a turning point in our lives.” 

“My passion is to convert people’s hair into their crowning glory,” says Ridz, “The experience gained from training and hands-on work gave me the confidence to enter the field of hair care services. Further, our research indicated a good market potential for luxury hair care services at affordable prices.”

The first salon opened in Subang Jaya in 2010, followed by another salon in Johor Bahru in 2016 to cater to Singaporean customers and in 2021, the third salon opened at the Concorde Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. A florist business called Bunga by Ridz Okumura was also started in 2018.

“The early years were a big challenge,” admits Ridz. “Various marketing strategies including Groupon and distributing 5,000 flyers were not a success. Subsequently, through intensive networking and association with local celebrities, we gained publicity. From there, the business took off.

“When we started the business, it was more of trying our luck,” explains Ridz. “It was only after two years when things stabilised that we were able to have the vision of becoming a well-known brand in hair services.” 

“Notable challenges existed from the initial days of operations,” recollects Ridz. “We had to work from early morning until late night when we had to create awareness of our services. The lack of social media meant things were not as easy compared to nowadays. Starting from ground zero was a big challenge.

“As we are customer-focused, their feedback is the main benchmark used to manage staff performance,” says Ridz of his business philosophy. “A lot of empathy and flexibility is required. Problems are resolved through discussions. My staff are a key inspiration for me to bring the company forward.”  

With the wild success of The House of Ridz Okumura, one wonders how he manages to juggle it all. “Work-life balance is more tilted towards my home life as I enjoy spending time with my family,” he says. “I have a reliable, supportive, and experienced team who handles daily operations. I am in close contact with the office while working at home. For me, that is a balance.”

Speaking on what he treasures most, Ridz says with palpable pride, “My greatest achievement in life is my family, my wife Akiko Okumura and son, Sky Okumura, and also the businesses I have established.” Concluding with some advice for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, he says: “My advice to young people is to be astute in selecting opportunities and work hard with determination,” adds Ridz. “Gain experience in any field and grow from it.”

PIONEERING A CRAB-CENTRIC CULINARY REVOLUTION

PIONEERING A CRAB-CENTRIC CULINARY REVOLUTION

In the lively food scene of Malaysia, where flavours represent both tradition and new experiences, Scott Wong and Lynnneve Chew, budding entrepreneurs, have established TalkCrab as a successful venture. Their idea stemmed from a simple longing for high-quality crab dining during challenging times. In an interview with Top 10 of Asia, they recount overcoming obstacles imposed by the Movement Control Order (MCO) and establishing a unique position in the seafood cuisine domain. Their efforts have elevated TalkCrab into a revered culinary destination, renowned for its consistent dedication to excellence and innovation evident in every delectable crab dish it offers.

Scott Wong and Lynnneve Chew’s joint venture into the culinary world stemmed from a simple love for crab and a determination to fill a gap they identified during the challenging times of the MCO. “We spotted an opportunity waiting to be seized,” shares Scott. “Recognising the scarcity of good quality crabs and the hurdles in accessing it through delivery services during that period, we decided to be the go-to solution for anyone craving exceptional crab dining experiences at home.” “Our dedication goes beyond that of just offering a meal but extends to an elevated culinary affair —to be the first choice, the trusted name and the ultimate destination for those seeking nothing but the best when it comes to enjoying delicious crabs from the comfort of homes,” adds Lynnneve.

“We are committed to serving nothing short of the finest seafood and this led to our success. We deliver only the best crab dishes to our customers,” says Scott. This dedication not only distinguished them but also fostered an unshakable trust among their clientele. “We specialise in presenting the rare and esteemed female crabs – known as roe crabs, a delicacy that’s rarely featured in restaurants due to its elevated cost, thereby reshaping the culinary scene focused on predominantly serving the more affordable male crabs,” says Lynnneve proudly. “Our delivery service became a game-changer, granting countless customers the luxury of relishing these delicacies within the cozy confines of their homes. We simplify the entire process so customers merely had to place orders and complete payments through their phones, leaving the rest in our hands.”

Talk Crab began as a business focused solely on delivery. “When the MCO started to ease, our business faced a slowdown due to shifting customer preferences as many opted to dine out instead,” shares Scott. “This period was incredibly challenging for us. We had recently transitioned to a central kitchen and upgraded our equipment, and we found ourselves at a crossroad—whether to cease operations or persist. Continuing meant adapting to offer dine-in services, a daunting prospect considering our business had always been exclusively delivery-based. This change would fundamentally alter our business model, presenting us with unfamiliar challenges. Moreover, the shift would demand significant financial resources for renovating the shop and purchasing furniture, among other necessities.”

“Originating as humble home cooks, we poured our hearts into every aspect, from the groundwork to the grand vision. Witnessing our establishment blossom into a thriving culinary haven has been our greatest triumph. Evolving from obscurity, we’ve garnered the trust of our patrons, earning a reputable status as one of the finest destinations for exquisite crab dishes. The fulfillment derived from this transformation stands as our proudest accomplishment,” says Lynnneve. “We aspire to be the top crab restaurant chain in Malaysia by growing our presence across the country and expanding globally,” adds Scott. 

The accomplished founders believe that it is beneficial to welcome risks while maintaining steadfast consistency in one’s pursuits. “Today, it’s common for individuals to abandon their pursuits prematurely. Yet, fear of failure should not deter anyone from exploring uncharted territories,” advises Scott. “We firmly believe that playing it safe poses the most significant risk of all. Stepping into the unknown, pushing boundaries and persisting through challenges, albeit daunting, often yields the most rewarding outcomes. The courage to take risks and the resilience to persevere in the face of adversity are necessary elements in the recipe for success,” shares Lynnneve.