Building A Brand

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By June Ramli

Happy Valentine’s Day to the readers of this website. A fun fact about Valentine’s Day is that it is haram or forbidden to observe this day in my home country – Malaysia.
As a former reporter for the New Straits Times (NST), every time Valentine’s Day swings by, I look forward to a good laugh from reading statements derived from these ulamaks (pronounced: ooo-la-mucks) or religious folks warning Muslims in Malaysia to refrain from celebrating the day because of its association to Saint Valentine.

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Malaysia as you know is home to a large number of Muslim residents so that is why these statements always make it into the mainstream newspapers like the NST – leaving some folks especially those loved-up Muslim couples angry, perplexed with some simply ignoring the statements altogether and still going ahead and celebrating the day with flowers, cake, or a nice dinner spread at a fancy restaurant.
On a business standpoint, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest and profitable times of the year for florists, restaurants and bakers and everything in heart-shape sells like hot cakes.
However, enough about V-Day and how it is perceived in Malaysia. Let’s talk about the issue at hand, my brand LazyBumSkincare and Blitz Hair Oil Spray.

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Last week, I made some progress in terms of searching for suppliers. I signed up with this one portal called Range Me after Googling on how to onboard my products into Coles supermarkets. In case you are wondering here is my profile for my products. After a few clicks, and some photos uploaded, I got a tiny message on the sideline saying that my products is now visible to the good folks at Coles Supermarkets and after 25 days if my products are not picked up by them, then it would be available for other retailers to have a look and see.

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Why Coles you might ask, well that has always been the goal, to onboard my products onto a giant supermarket such as theirs. Since onboarding my products on the website, I have had eight views so far. That could perhaps be because of the sheer fact that I am on the free subscription. I am still weighing the pros and cons of becoming a paid member somewhere down the road but for now I am still mulling this decision. The paid plan is US$299 per year.
Next what is Range Me you might ask? Well, it is a portal where suppliers such as myself go and list our products for the big boys to find us.
In the meantime, while I wait for Coles to get back to me, I might start the ball rolling by selling my skincare and hair care products on my own through eBay. I was originally thinking of putting my products on Amazon’s FBA program but there is a monthly fee attached with that program which is not cheap either. What I am trying to do here is to emulate what I did in Malaysia, whereby I took the liberty to onboard my Batik Lingerie products onto a large retailer like Zalora to get more traction going for the brand. That strategy did wonders for the brand. That is why my friends, entrepreneurship is not a cheap thing to venture into, as it requires a lot of money to begin with. Selling is the hardest part in this game we call entrepreneurship. That is why I am trying very hard to supply my products with the big guns from the get go, because they already have a set of clientele and my products would be easier to sell rather than me looking for buyers as a solopreneur.
Till my next update. Stay safe.

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