KAMELIA NISHA KHAIRUL ANNUAR is a law graduate-turned-beauty brand founder. The 27 year-old decided not to pursue a career in law after her side business, built during her university days, grew tremendously.
“When I first started at the end of 2016, it was just me. The office was in my house. This was ongoing for two years. This was a part-time venture for me while I was furthering my studies. Now, we have a team of five including myself, and we have our own office and it [has been] a full-time job since last year.
“The people around me encouraged me to pursue the business full-time because the brand was expanding. In business, timing is everything. If I were to put it off, I will never know the true potential of the business. Life is short, and I want to do things that I enjoy.”
Kamelia Cosmetics was established based on Nisha’s longstanding love for makeup, and her adoration towards mermaids, as all its products have a recurring mermaid theme packaging. She claims: “I am obsessed with makeup. When I was eight years old, I had a collection of 50 to 60 lip glosses!”
Nisha realised that forming good relationships with customers is pivotal to the growth of her brand.
“We started to notice that our customers are mostly from Generation Z, around 18 to 24 years old, who are active on social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok. Hence, we tailor our content to reach our targeted customers.
“We enjoy including our customers in each step of our product development process. Before we create our yearly product plan, we create surveys where we ask our customers the types of products, colour, texture, and packaging they would like to see.
“I’d like to think that we are very engaged with our customers, compared to other brands. We try to make it a priority to respond to every single [feedback] we receive on our social media platforms, especially Twitter. In turn, we create a good rapport with them.
“We are doing everything we can to provide the best customer service. So, every month, we would reward our top ten customers with surprise gifts. For the customers’ birthdays, we provide them with a discount code and a gift that they can redeem.”
Promoting reliability as a means to gain the trust of customers is something that Nisha strives to do as well.
“Based on my knowledge, a few years back, a lot of customers did not seem to trust local brands as there were companies that gave a really bad impression to their customers, through their poor customer service, and the sales of untested products that were unsafe for application.”
On the other hand, the formulation of the beauty products can be quite a challenge and time-consuming.
“It takes around four to six months to release one product, as we want to maintain the quality of our cosmetics. It also requires a lot of research, and there is a choice between local or international manufacturers. We went to so many manufacturers and we went with the one that was capable of delivering the end results we desire.
“Each of our products contain active ingredients, such as Jojoba oil or Vitamin C, as it was our intention to infuse skincare ingredients into our products.
“Moreover, our products are also FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approved, so it is safe for application.”
Kamelia Cosmetics has a range of lip and face products, and Nisha shared several of her favourites with us.
“My favourite product is our lip gloss, because it has a lightweight texture and it smells really good! We actually took high-end products as samples for our product development process. It took countless samples until we managed to discover the formulation we wanted, and we decided to sell it at an affordable price.”
As we know, the nature of business comes with its own set of challenges.
“One struggle is the marketing aspect. I had no prior experience in entrepreneurship. At the beginning, we invested too much into Facebook ads, and that was a mistake. We were not sure where the base of our customers was,” Nisha shared.
“It took a while before we recognised that the ads were not working. We started creating surveys in an effort to identify our customer base. So, we then moved to Instagram and then Twitter, and we could see a huge improvement.”