Anyone who’s had to grow up with curly hair understands the constant struggles that come with it. From finding a salon that actually knows how to properly treat natural curls to the never-ending social pressures of conforming to hair beauty standards in the workplace, Karishma Menon, founder of Curlrinting Enterprise, has been through it all as a fellow member of the curly hair community.
The successful lass shares with Top 10 of Malaysia on how she was inspired to establish her company after realising that there are not many products in the market that are suitable for customers with curly hair.
Karishma Menon started a social media page in 2019 after experiencing frustration in managing her curly hair. “I believed that my hair had the potential to be styled beautifully but I never had the appropriate products or knew the best way to care for my hair.”
Many people with curly hair might not appreciate their crowning glory as they might not have sufficient knowledge on how to care for their hair. “I researched people with curly hair who are living overseas and also checked out social media. I found out that in countries such as India, United States and Brazil, people with curly hair knew how to take good care of their hair with suitable products,” says Karishma.
“I decided to establish CURLrinting as a registered business to sell popular & effective curly hair products in Malaysia. The company sells products that provide moisture & definition for textured hair and even hair tools to complete the routine. These products do not contain alcohol, sulphates, parabens, heavy minerals and even waxes. Some of the products are even suitable for children of all ages,” says Karishma. “These products are safe to be used and there are different products for all curl types.”
CURLrinting’s products have benefited many customers with textured hair. “I received messages from people saying that they almost gave up in caring for their hair but the products greatly assisted in their hair care routine,” says Karishma with a smile. “This is the biggest encouragement for me to carry on with the business as many people with curly hair would be able to purchase suitable products for their hair without having to worry if they will experience damage.”
As there are many hair products “for curly hair” in the market, not all of them are actually suitable for curly hair. “It’s vital to always read the ingredients on products as there are ingredients that will be harsh or build-up easily on curly hair. The undesirable build-up from these products might be difficult to remove and even damage their hair,” advises Karishma.
“My advice to youngsters who are interested in business is to not be afraid but persevere to pursue their passion. Business is all about experiencing failure and success,” shares Karishma.
Karl Kelana and Dr Diyana, founders of established cosmetic brand, DOCTOx share with Top 10 of Asia about the products under this well-known brand and their plans to expand to the rest of Asia.
DOCTOx is a cosmetic brand consisting of a wide range of skin care and make-up products that are well known for its quality ingredients used. Founded by Karl Kelana and his wife Dr Diyana, the DOCTOx brand is well known by many people in Malaysia, especially after its initial opening of a few premises and kiosks in AEON.
“Let DOCTOx be known as a Malaysian pride and we want our community to be the one to confirm the quality of our products and be most satisfied with them.”
“The collaboration with AEON is a stepping stone for us to go further in the industry. Having said that, we are committed to our online platform where the business model is much simpler, easy and fast. It is not difficult to stay with old and new customers as technology is just at your fingertips,” says Dr Karl, a graduate of RMIT University and The One Academy.
DOCTOx’s presence in the local and global market is expanding rapidly. This is reflected in the growing number of customers from various backgrounds within four years of its inception. In 2019, there are about 150,000 customers, hailing from as many as 30 countries, who have frequented their website.
While other cosmetic manufacturers prefer ‘beauty at an affordable price’ factor to attract their customers, DOCTOx leans toward ‘beauty, health and affordability’ with a 2-in-1 feature, which is ‘wear and care’. In fact, Dya is not one to shy away from offering beauty consultation to her customers.
The main ingredient of their products is imported overseas before they are specially designed and formulated. All DOCTOx products are safe to use as they are approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH), certified safe by the Health Science Authority (HSA) besides being halal.
Dya has high hopes for DOCTOx. “By God’s grace, we look forward to our brand being on par with Estee Lauder and other international cosmetic brands in 5 year’s time. Let DOCTOx be known as a Malaysian pride and we want our community to be the one to confirm the quality of our products and be most satisfied with them.”
“In order to target niche markets and the growing domestic as well as the regional demand for our products, we do have plans to set up branches in other Asian countries. As for now we have authorised resellers in Brunei, Indonesia and Singapore. We are also aiming to penetrate the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market as there is also demand for our products there,” says Karl.
Albeit many would assume a 23-year-old entrepreneur to be a greenhorn in the business industry, Celine Ng, however, defies the odds and soars to great heights in the business world. In a recent interview with Top 10 of Asia, Ng shares her journey on how she started embarking on the path to establish her company and her success in expanding outlets to 10 countries globally.
For Celine Ng, age has never been a hindrance to achieving success. At just 23 years of age, she is already a successful beauty entrepreneur making her mark in the nation while also expanding her wings overseas. “It wasn’t an overnight idea and it took us many months of reflection, research and finding the right production house before we manage to pull it off,” reminisces Ng.
According to Ng, she started her business because she wanted her brand to be a shining star in the industry and her company certainly adopts a brand-conscious approach. “We wanted to help more customers to get better income, experience our product quality and also to cure skin-related problems.”
“If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.”
“Our product uses the latest technology in the industry, which is the Microneedle Treatment Technology. The traditional micro-needling treatment uses fine needles to create hundreds of tiny, invisible puncture wounds on the top layer of the skin, whilst our microneedle invisible mask delivers the same result as a normal micro-needling treatment,” says Ng.
The Bare Skin brand has managed to bring in millions in sales and the company has expanded its services to nearly 10 countries within a year since inception and has definitely made its mark at an international level. “We have expanded our team in countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, United Kingdom, Macau, Australia and Brunei,” says Ng. “Our third product will be launching soon and it’s something to look forward to,” says Ng enthusiastically.
“I want our brand to be the best in Asia and simultaneously, to be able to help customers solve their skin problems. My vision for the next 10 years is for our brand to be the go-to brand for skin problem solutions, and it will be associated with quality and luxury.” Ng also hopes that in 3 years, their team will increase to some 1,000 people, consisting of people who want to achieve financial freedom. “If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.”
Wilson Low is the founder of Wilstech IT Smart Solution and the company was established to provide IT-related services to customers. In an interview with Top 10 of Asia, Low shares on the importance of IT in this current generation, the services his company provides and outlets set up in Johor Bahru, a city in southern Peninsular Malaysia, and Singapore.
12 years ago, Wilson Low could not have imagined himself starting his own IT company as he has no experience in IT. However, it proved to be not a hindrance for Low when he established his own company in 2016. “After I graduated, I worked in customer service and slowly got involved in operations. In 2016, I set up Wilstech IT Smart Solution enterprise, while still working with my earlier company,” says Low. Initially, the company dealt with supplying hardware, workstations, and laptops for only government sectors and corporations. “We moved our focus to websites, applications and systems after receiving numerous requests from customers.”
“IT is very important and we are also looking into AI technology as it should be the next big thing in Malaysia. That’s my 5 to 10 years’ plan.”
The company now builds customised websites, mobile apps, operating systems and more, depending on customers’ requirements. “We don’t have our in-house products, because we are a software house. So, we cater to requests that are software-based. Besides, we also provide office measurement solution for all the SMEs and also help clients install firewall for offices or schools.”
Wilstech has come a long way from being a 1-man team to their current 12-people team. Last year, a branch was set up in Johor Bahru as most of its clients hail from Johor, a southern state in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. “We were trying to set up another branch in Penang but had to put the brakes on it due to the pandemic.” Low adds that they are moving forward to penetrate into the Indonesian and Taiwanese markets. They also look forward to set up offices in the northern and eastern part of Malaysia. “IT is very important and we are also looking into AI technology as it should be the next big thing in Malaysia. That’s my 5 to 10 years’ plan. My final goal is to get my company listed,” says the visionary Low.
Sunny Tan has built a formidable business as a leading manufacturer of industrial adhesive, sealant and coating products which grew from strength to strength for nearly four decades. The enterprising and dynamic R&D Director and CEO of Chemibond Enterprise Sdn Bhd has no qualms about empowering young people to start businesses without the usual downsides. In this issue of Top 10 of Asia, Tan talks about his business and how young entrepreneurs can benefit from his experience and what he is doing.
Talking to Sunny Tan, the founder, R&D Director and CEO of Chemibond Enterprise Sdn Bhd (Chemibond), you will gain new respect for the humble glue. “It is a remarkably versatile product that bonds crucial parts together to make products that solve problems,” he says. Chemibond’s adhesive and coating products are used across all industries by both local and globally-renowned brands, such as Rentokil in their highly-effective non-toxic pest control glue board, Ekowood in their laminated wood flooring and Proton in their Wira and Preve dashboards. Their agriculture adhesive spray is a hit with the Malaysia Palm Oil Board, helping to control pests in many oil palm plantations. “We have more than 400 products, some exported by container loads to over 2,000 customers in countries like India, the U.S., China, Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and more,” says Tan, who oversees over 70 workers in both his Petaling Jaya head office and Puchong plant in the state of Selangor.
An inventor and formulator at heart, Tan is happiest when being tasked to solve complex problems and bringing in innovative products to our shores. Many hours are spent in his oasis of a roof top garden, improving on his eco-friendly agriculture insect repellent cum natural fertiliser, NR4. The unique formula helped his dying plants get a new lease of life and today, his garden boasts of some of the most luscious kangkung leaves, pumpkins and beans you’ve ever seen. At the same time, he is passionate about helping young entrepreneurs kick-start their own businesses even if they are strapped for cash.
“The best business is one that you can start right away, without having to worry about having a large capital outlay, importing the products, finding a place to store the inventory or even delivering the product to customers. We offer great products for young entrepreneurs to sell at high margins with no minimum purchase quantity required,” says Tan. “This is business at its purest and most simple.”
When customers come to you, looking for something no one else can offer, that’s truly the best place for any entrepreneur to be.
The first revolutionary product is the FDA-approved Arirang ION multi-ionizer. It transforms normal tap water into ionized water which is free from odour, chemicals and 99.99% of harmful bacteria. Arirang ION multi-ionizer, which comes in different models for the shower, sink head, wash basin and beauty salon, requires no maintenance and costs about 12 times less and is so much more smaller than the other water ionizers in the market.
There’s also the Arirang ION water toothpick, which is a godsend to those who hate dental flossing. Unlike other water flossers in the market that run on motors and have water tanks that require refilling, Arirang ION water toothpick is attached directly to the tap faucet and requires no power outlet, recharging or refilling. “It’s a simple solution and the cheapest in the market,” declares Tan. Other products include the bamboo cloth that cleans effectively and is easy to wash, and a portable laser therapy unit that cleans the blood and helps rid the body of toxins.
Tan personally vets through the products he discovers in trade exhibitions overseas and tries them out himself before deeming them suitable and needful in our local market. “You are basically benefiting from my industry knowledge and experience. Plus you are introducing healthful and affordable products that will improve the lives of your customers,” adds the sprightly yoga practitioner who also regularly lifts weights at the gym.
As the default go-to guy for people seeking for solutions throughout the years, Tan has this to say, “When customers come to you, looking for something no one else can offer, that’s truly the best place for any entrepreneur to be.”
You have been working in the hospitality sector for more than 15 years. What in your opinion makes you different and more successful than other hotel general managers?
I hold dual portfolios as the Vice President of Operations of Saujana Hotels & Resorts and the General Manager of The Club Saujana Resort.
With over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, I do the same thing as what other General Managers do – Strive for superior performance, set priorities, build better interrelationships, demand for consistent quality of service and so forth .
Besides setting strategies and overseeing operations that would build the organization, I am also focused and motivated on key tasks that constitute the foundations of shaping the work environment, allocating resources at the right places and situations, developing and mentoring senior managers, and consistently innovating new products.
It is all about the vision, leadership and people. I have my own style of coaching and stressing on fundamentals, skills and being flexible to keep the team going consistently as a winner and entrusting them to keep our guests and clients happy.
Why did you decide to work in the hospitality sector? Do the things you do now at work correspond with your initial notion of your career?
Well, after completing my Business Degree in Queensland, I had set my target to study Hotel & Tourism in Switzerland and fortunately for me the hotel industry was just about to become a significant sector of the Australian economy providing that much needed support in terms of hotel rooms/accommodation and services as a meeting place, entertainment hub for both local sporting community and tourists. My first career big break started when I joined the Hilton Group back in the 80s.
I am very much immersed with the growth and excitement of this ever changing hospitality business along with the advance changes. It is definitely a fun and rewarding opportunity to be where I am today.
You joined the Saujana Hotels & Resorts in 2012. How your company has changed since then thanks to your efforts? How it will further change thanks to you?
The company has progressed, changed and will continue growing due to my efforts in centralizing on our Saujana Hotels and Resorts brand vision and values from a more creative and innovation aspect enabling us to enhance our brand name and market presence.
What is the main secret of successful hotel or resort and why?
We have to continuously evolve, innovate, improve and be at the competitive edge to meet and if possible always exceed guest expectations and to also keep our own team happy as well as motivated.
Have you ever thought about creating your own resort? What region in your opinion is the most appealing for opening a new resort?
Yes, of course it would have been very nice to have your own resort and manage it yourself.
Tropical lush, distinctive and art inspired interiors and personalized service of locales to pamper you for comforts complemented modern conveniences and surrounded by two 18-hole championship golf courses does sum up to luxury.
The Asia region is the best choice for the luxury market.
Because of your international career you have been working in many cities. What city did you like most? Why? Have you ever thought of living and working there again?
So far I am enjoying my stay and working at The Club Saujana Resorts, it is located just about 30 minutes from the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. Just love it!
The Club Saujana Resort has joined the nominee list for our Golden Crown. Do you expect a big list of adequate competitors for the award this year?
Yes, I would expect an extensive list of submissions but I have complete faith that The Club Saujana Resort would be able to stamp its credibility within the top 5.