“My Business Failed” — Founder Hui Mathews On Shutting Down The Brand She Built

Hui Mathews, as shot for CLEO Malaysia for the August 2016 CLEO Hot Shots issue

Story compiled by Joceline Yan Text Hui Mathews Additional text Lina Esa Photography Courtesy of Hui Mathews

Hui Mathews was a Malaysian fitness fashion force to be reckoned with. She and her husband-partner created their own active wear brand from scratch, and Ash Be Nimble was fast becoming the go-to  of local fitness enthusiasts. What wasn't there to love? It was local, the brainchild of a brilliant young start-up, and the product fused functionality with fashion. The brand stood for a healthier, more active Malaysia.

CLEO's Hot Shot of 2016 then suddenly revealed that she could no longer sustain the very business she built. What happened?

RELATED: CLEO Hot Shots 2016: Meet Hui Mathews

Hui had sent an open-letter to fans, customers and followers and penned the story of how she had to say goodbye to her brand. Here, Hui herself writes firsthand what happened and what it was like to shut down the company she herself built. Her main message is key -- that everyone needs to fail to get up again. Read more on her inspiring journey:

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Who’ll be there for you?

Hui’s active in running trails, and poses here with a friend

“During my darkest moments, my girls stepped up. They inspired and motivated me with little messages, even shouldering some of the financial challenges of the company by shifting to part-time work arrangements. I don’t know what I did to deserve them. Every month, I made it a point to sit with my team members to ask them what they could add to their LinkedIn profile as a skill they have learnt, to make sure we were focused on learning new things and developing professionally.

Even when they told me they had outside opportunities and I had to resist every urge to tear up, I realised that we had succeeded in building a great environment for them to learn as their new employer recognised their unique blend of skills and appreciated our outcome-driven environment. In that instant, I realised that was more valuable than just building a great product or brand. Despite the ups and downs, I was able to build amazing working relationships and friendships with my team.

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