“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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looking back on a brand she built

A photo of Hui in her apparel plus her running bibs

“The last weeks of tying up Ash Be Nimble’s loose ends were an intense, incredibly emotional rollercoaster ride. I was planning for a bazaar for our clearance sale while thinking of how to break the news to our customers, partners, friends and family, brainstorming a new direction for the brand, and revamping our website.

While all of this was happening, I had a race to do, a mission to trial a few playschools for my daughter, Asha, before the end of 2017, all while I forgot my passport had ran out of pages and had to get it sorted. But it was when I started being less sentimental and emotional, and dared to think about closing the business as a real option, that I got more clarity, ideas and input for the new direction of the brand.”

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