Women are making incredible strides in the field of entrepreneurship. We’re seeing more women-owned businesses and more brands waving their “women-owned and operated” flag. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, one in five companies in the country are now owned by women. Women are also taking off in the eCommerce Industry, challenging the norm and curating their very own label. Here are 10 Fashion and Beauty Moguls by Malaysian women entrepreneurs making a name for themselves.
Aina Syahirah and Julie Anne Kang
Co-founders of the homegrown shoe brand, Aina Syahirah and Julie Anne Kang established KULET in 2016. Kulet, a brand that focuses on providing versatile sandals and heels. Aina came up with the idea to start a footwear company that filled a gap in the market for wearable, muted tones sandals, heels or flats. KULET strongly supports the “compassion in fashion” movement which translates into animal-friendly products. The leather used for its designs are not animal derived. Kulet was named to reflect its signature nude colour palette that complements different skin tones.
Belle Al Yahya
Social media moguls and Muslimah fashion entrepreneurs Sharifah Nabilla Al-Yahya Syed Sheh also known as, Belle Al-Yahya has founded Sugarbelle Cosmetics in 2015 with Eyqa Sulaiman. Belle has a profound love for makeup and was inspired to start the business as she couldn’t find many cosmetic products that conformed to halal standards. Her team has ensured that all Sugarbelle Cosmetics complied with the standards set by the Ministry of Health Malaysia and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) from day one to cater to the majority of Muslim consumers locally and abroad.
Datin Vivy Yusof
Most people have known Vivy as the co-founder of Fashion Valet, a Modest Fashion site which she founded together with her husband Fadzarudin Anuar. To-date, the platform has more than 300 brands from across Southeast Asia. Later on Vivy founded another e-commerce site called dUCK and launched dUCk Cosmetics, a beauty line under luxury scarf brand dUCk Group. Her beauty brand was also the first Malaysian homegrown brand debuted in Sephora in 2017. dUCK Cosmetics is also a certified halal beauty brand in the world.
Malaysian influencer, Jane Lau, also known as Jane Chuck across social media platforms, a mother to Chucks, a brand that is synonymous to beauty, lifestyle and self-love. Chuck’s, which is known for its skin-loving facial masks, which are certified clean and contain only EWG certified ingredients, which means there are no paraben, minerals, alcohol and fragrances. Plus, they are formulated using cruelty-free methods. Its sister line, Motherchuckers, which is known for its selection of cute fashion and lifestyle limited-edition drops were launched by the influencer itself.
After starring in multiple Jinnyboy films and rising to fame on her own social media platforms, Josephine Yap launched Fondest in 2019 to share her love of fashion with others. Josephine has created her own label based on environmental sustainability by producing its pieces in small quantities of no more than 100 pieces for each design, and any deadstock fabrics will be used as lining for its dresses. Besides, Fondest shuns outsourcing its manufacturing abroad, in favor of keeping resources as close to home as possible to minimize carbon footprint and support local manufacturers, while being in ultimate control of the full production process.
Never afraid to face challenges, Fatin Nabila Khairul Anuar, prefers to be optimistic. Her dream is to change the perception of those who are skeptical towards local beauty brands. Her determination towards proving that local beauty products do not compromise on quality, has birth her own brand, Kayman Beauty in 2017. Its products have gone through extensive research and development catering to all skin types and tones, and it is their goal to not only help people achieve healthy, beautiful and radiant skin but also to instill self-love and confidence.
The creative director of MimpiKita, Nurul Zulkifli and her two sisters, Amirah and Syahira Zulkifli created this fashion brand together in 2009. The brand has also made its debut at Fashion Scout, London Fashion Week in 2015 and it was definitely a huge milestone for Malaysian fashion designers. MimpiKita has grown leaps and bounds considering the fact that the sisters do not have any background in fashion. The three sisters started from selling clothes via a blogshop and weekend bazaars in 2008, and now, they run the business via their website and social media platforms.
Ung Yiu Lin
Founder and designer of footwear and accessories brand, ShoesShoesShoes, Ung Yiu Lin left her corporate career at 26 and successfully established a multi-label store ShoesShoesShoes. A brand that offers the latest trends in footwear and accessories, made of quality materials, at a great price was Yiu Lin’s ultimate goal. ShoesShoesShoes naturally evolved from shoes and clutches to clothes. She has created a multi-label store supporting local and regional designers such as Ezurin Laboratories, Thavia, Alia Bastamam, Ezzati Amira and more. Yiu Lin believes that she is her own customer, thus she only chooses brands and collections that she feels strongly about and that she would buy and wear.
Veen Dee Tan
Local modest wear label HANYA curated by Veen Dee Tan, a mother, an aspiring entrepreneur and a strong advocate of women empowerment. HANYA means exclusive, ONLY in the Native Malay language. The label stands for exclusivity, individuality and oneness. HANYA offers options for everyone to dress modestly, but with clothing that you would not necessarily deem as modest. HANYA has always been green and conscious about its actions. HANYA believes in green and is conscious about its actions, they don’t use paper boxes, thank you cards, clothing tags, and other single uses.
TV host and actress, Yaya Zahir, also a fashion icon to many. She is very passionate when it comes to beauty and fashion. Somewhere along the way, she had successfully curated her own brands, Asly and Asly Beauty. Her fashion label was inspired by oversized Korean silhouettes when she visited Seoul, Korea in 2016. Her love for fashion was definitely inspired by her parents. They were really fashionable back in the ‘90s and they’ve always dressed her up since she was young. Here fashion brand is actually unisex but since she is the face of the brand, she gets more female customers.
“The only limitation is that which one sets up in one’s own mind.”
― Napoleon Hill
These 10 Malaysian power women who broke the glass ceiling are truly role models to many out there. Their entrepreneurial journeys have inspired many to pursue their passion and never conform to societal norms.