Seizing Opportunity in Uncharted Local Market

Learn  how Noorain breaks the barrier of stigma and build a multi million empire from her side hustle.

“For as long as there is hair, Norah will be there” echoed a 25-year-old entrepreneur, Noorain Mohd Said.

Noorain, the founder of Norah, a home waxing line of products which took the world of online business by storm was no run-of-the-mill personality.

Confident and focused is easily used to describe her and her goals in achieving RM5.6 million in revenue this year.

In an exclusive interview with GEMMAG, Noorain shared her struggles in starting up the business and challenges she faced penetrating the online business especially with many limitations in place.

Noorain, who broke through the barriers of the stigma on waxing, lent much of her success to her housemate back when she was a student in University Malaya.

Having chosen science with education major in university, she used her chemical knowledge to develop a line of wax from scratch and Norah Hot Wax was formed.

“I was living with foreign students back then and my housemate, Crystal, was the one who led me to formulate the product,” she said.

Noorain said she then realised the potential of the product taking off in the market.

With an investment of RM124 from her then boyfriend, now husband — Nor Hisham Sofian, Noorain launched her business into an empire.

It was not a walk in the park for her with the changing landscape of online marketing and while she had no problems selling her line of hot wax to her foreign friends in university, she faced challenges with the local market.

“It was not easy because there was a perception that waxing could only be done in a spa and that the pain associated with it was unbearable.”

“I had to do repetitive demonstrations to show that the pain is, in fact, bearable and that waxing could be done in the comforts of your own home,” she added.

On top of all that, ultimately she had to juggle between staying ahead in university and a growing business.

“None of my family members has their own business and all of them are civil servants so that makes me the first in the family who is an entrepreneur,” Noorain said.

The youngest of six siblings, Noorain said when her business was launched in 2013, there were days where she did not sleep for two days due to the high number of orders coming in.

She said her family only knew of her business in the second year of operations.

“I did not want my family to worry about my studies while I had to operate my business,” Noorain said.

To-date, Noorain is projecting RM5.6 million in revenue this year while hitting RM1.2 million in revenue for 2015 and RM3.4 million in 2016 respectively.

Having spent RM300,000 for her product research and development, she said it has helped boost her business further by expanding her range of products.

“Based on feedbacks, customers echoed that they want a waxing product that can be used on the go and thus, Norah Cold Wax was formulated in a different consistency and sold into the market.”

She said a product line expansion is underway by introducing an after wax soothing spray and a venture into personal care products.

“All our products are organic and natural based and is certified from Australia,” she said.

With all the success in the Malaysian market, Norah penetrated various markets included the United States, United Kingdom and the Philippines.

Noorain said 90% of her agents are her customers from the start of her business.

“We are looking at penetrating the Indonesian market but my strategy is unique because I am not looking to ship it there but instead set up a factory there and distribute locally.”

She said the company is looking out for a strategic business partner in Indonesia to partner up and expand the operations further.

“A Southeast Asian business partner would allow us to distribute further around the region and we are also eyeing the Middle East market as we believe that our product offering would be suitable for the market there.”

Noorain also leveraged on the growing social media marketing boom circa 2014 and pushed her hot wax product online for maximum visibility.

“I realised that online businesses can reach an unlimited amount of people because of today, everyone is online,” she said.

She added that it was not easy keeping up with the trends because online marketing strategies change every three months.

“I had to be observant of the trends around and marketed differently.”

Noorain, who leads the product development team in the company is assisted by her husband on day-to-day operations.

Her business mogul which was run single-handedly by her is now an 18-staff operation with the capacity to produce 4000 to 6000 jars of wax daily while raking in daily sales of 1400 units daily.

Having met each other when Noorain was 15, her husband is the brain in her marketing strategy team.

“My life partner turned into my business partner and it is great because he is always supportive of me and pushes me to learn more,” Noorain said.

“I fell in love with the world of business because it has helped me become more mature and develop skills that I did not have before like public speaking,” she said.

With a multi-million business in hand, Noorain stays grounded to reality with a regular day-to-day life.

Having own 72 cats, Noorain said she had to provide a separate house for her cats.

“I love my cats because they take my stress away and they are so loving,” she said with a grin on her face.

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