Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beauty With A Homemade Twist

[As published on HERE]

She’s tall and modelesque, with an alabaster, almost-milky complexion. With her waist-length, flowing hair, one could easily mistake Marjorie Yu for a model. Good looks (and great genes too, we presume!) aside, Marjorie’s soft-spoken disposition belies her fiercely independent streak, and we’re guessing it’s this combination that allows her to become a successful entrepreneur.
Marjorie is a woman of many talents. She owns a gift shop at Plaza Mont’ Kiara, which carries plush toys, bags and cards imported from the UK. She’s also the founder and creator of her own natural bodycare range, Pom Poms. Emmagem catches up with Marjorie for a quick chat to find out how to make a small business sustainable.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and what made you move to Malaysia.
“I’m originally from Hong Kong. When I was working in there, my previous company sent me over to Malaysia for a project. I fell in love with the country – I love the greenery, and I loved the space. I knew I’d always liked to have a business to call my own, so I decided to move to Malaysia. The startup cost of being an entrepreneur is much lower here, and less hectic, too.”
What’s Pom Poms all about?
“Pom Poms is going on its 5th year this year. Actually, it was an accidental adventure when I shared my work with my friends – they were the ones who pushed me into making this a full-time business! I’ve been concocting my own skincare products, even since my school days. I always carry this belief that natural ingredients work best for the human body. All my Pom Poms products are made from 100% natural or organic ingredients, which are gentle on skin and fuss-free.”
How do you find inspiration for your product creations?
“Sometimes, ideas simply pop into my mind. I go over the ingredients in my head, and if necessary, I do some research on what goes into a particular product. Flowers, fruits, herbs and kitchen essentials like olive or grape seed oils are all my pals!”
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
“I love the freedom that comes with being my own boss – I can make decisions on my own. It also helps immensely that I’ve got a strong passion for what I do, so working becomes less of a chore or obligation, and more like a holiday!”
Biggest challenges faced when starting up your own business?
“You have to deal with skeptical people who doubt your ability. There are bound to be a lot of these people. Most importantly, I believe in myself because I know what I want, and I’m sure of what I’m doing.”
Which must-try Pom Poms product would you recommend for Malaysians?
“My personal favourite is the Lavender Organic sugar scrub (RM88) – it’s my staple bodycare routine! You can use it as the last step of your bath routine – the French Lavender essential oil relaxes your mind while the organic cane sugar leaves your skin feeling baby-smooth! It’s pretty moisturising, so you can skip body lotion after that. The idea is to fall in love with yourself when you smell nice, so you go to bed happier.” 
What can we find in your handbag?
A small Catseye pouch for my essentials like lipgloss and makeup, Pom Poms Sensuous Body Oil to combat dryness caused by air-conditioning, and an eco-friendly water bottle from Ecuo Cup.
How do you spend your weekends?
“I’m a huge movie buff – I love everything from black and white movies, to box office hits, to indie or foreign films! Some days when I don’t feel like going out, I just put on a DVD and spend the day with my cat, Lulu. He’s 16 this year (I’ve had him since he was 2 months old), but still roams around and meows like a kitten!”
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Love what you do. Equip yourself with more knowledge and skills in the field that you’re venturing into.
Be practical. Apart from chasing your dream and fulfilling your passion, you also have to evaluate your costings, cash flow and have a fallback plan in case anything goes horribly wrong.
Saving is earning! Don’t splurge on things that aren’t really necessary – the more you save, means the more you earn.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If things don’t go the way you expect them to, don’t hate yourself. Luck is also part and parcel of the business world.

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