By Adlina Nadirah
“Back in 2016, there weren’t many local beauty brands that were fresh, young, affordable and unique in the market. It sparked the idea for me to create a homegrown beauty brand, which I named Velvet Vanity Cosmetics. When Velvet Vanity first launched, it was definitely a struggle to convince our audience and potential customers to believe in our products and our brand.
It took time for us to build a strong relationship with our customers. However, as time passed by, the perception of being one of the first local beauty brands in the market with great, quality products and excellent customer service made a huge difference. The thing I’ve noticed? How much millennials and young people on the internet love local beauty brands, and how this love has flourished. In just a span of a year, so many local beauty brands were created to compete with others. Where we are right now? The Malaysian beauty industry is extremely saturated.
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As a brand owner, I feel brand identity must be consistent, and it is very important. The cosmetics market in Asia has expanded exponentially, and if you’ve noticed, the amount of local cosmetic brands in Malaysia have also been rising, and it includes everything — skincare and make-up to luxe and those with mass appeal. I believe unique brand positioning played (and currently plays) a major role for Velvet Vanity. Building a strong brand identity is still a must when we wanted to set us apart from other brands. Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is the special ‘sauce’ of your business that makes you stand out, and sets you apart.
As I was setting up a business in this country, I realised many consumers are in the middle- to lower-income brackets, as most local consumers look for mass produced, easily reachable and affordable products. What I’ve also noticed is that Malaysian beauty brands tend to use a “personal resellers program”— but this isn’t the case for us. Here’s the reason: For the brands who do opt for these types of programs, I know it’s done for the sake of making a quick sale, rather than fulfill the needs of the local consumer. I felt that for Velvet Vanity, it was more important to create an excellent buying experience and produce high quality products instead.
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By going down the “personal resellers” route, I find that exclusivity of the brand is at risk. I personally believe that a brand wants to go into into retail should be focusing more on creating an experience, which will be your ultimate legacy. At the end of the day, while using techniques like having personal resellers might increase sales in the short term, it runs counter to the notion of having a strong brand. And I strongly believe that consumers choose brands that they love.”
Adlina Nadirah is the founder of Velvet Vanity Cosmetics, a young, fresh local brand that millennials love.