Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo the sentiments of In Real Life.
Many people think that opening your own business requires a lot of money just for the startup. And to start a business during the pandemic? It’s a big “NO”.
However, that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Here’s how sisters Fathima and Anis opened their online store HELLO DAISI with a capital of only RM300.
My sister and I started this business in July 2020,” Fathima said. “We identified a gap in the market for trendy and affordable face masks.”
Fathima was in college and her sister, Anis was a fresh graduate when they decided to open this store. Anis handles the marketing and media while Fathima is in charge of the production.
“I had so much time during the quarantine period and I just could not accept doing nothing. I wanted to learn something new, so I tried my hand at sewing,” said Fathima.
The sisters had a good teacher in their mother, who had a passion for creating and designing clothes.
“Learning from scratch from our mom and sharing our love for sewing was the best part. Although we fight over the sewing machine sometimes!” said Fathima.
Why did you pick face masks?
“It’s hard to find face masks that are both inexpensive and have a nice aesthetic in Malaysia,” said Fathima. “So we wanted to make them ourselves.”
We started the business in July 2020 with only RM300
“It was tough to work with a low capital since we were creating our own products,” Anis shared. “But it’s not impossible.”
They experimented with many samples and designs to create the perfect face mask. After much trial and error, they nailed the right combination of comfort and utility.
Finding business supplies was particularly difficult, since everything is restricted to being done online.
At the same time, Fathima notes, the pandemic has expanded the market and created a great demand for masks.
Fathima and Anis try to keep their social media as active as possible by engaging with as many customers as possible. They use popular hashtags to reach new followers’ accounts.
“We post daily and we’re very particular with our pictures,” Fathima responds.
“Our pictures are in our chosen colour scheme and have to have a good quality.”
Initially, Hello Daisi was only opened for local orders. But in July, their video went viral on TikTok with over 1.6 million views.
This increased their demand internationally.
“So far we have shipped face masks to over 10 countries,” Fathima claimed.
They have shipped to Norway, Malta, Luxembourg, UK, USA, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, Kuwait and Japan.
Since then, their business has grown by 500%.
Taking orders through Whatsapp became difficult. “We had to copy and paste every detail of the customer’s order before packing,” Anis shares.
So they created their own official website.
“Since our shipping and packing is documented on the site, it really boosted our productivity and attracted a lot more new customers,” Anis continued.
We started to scale Hello Daisi to balance our work and studies
Although their business is thriving, Anis and Fathima have become more occupied with their studies and other careers.
“We had to delegate our tasks. So we found suppliers to produce a higher volume of orders and hired employees to handle orders and shipments,” Fathima explained.
“We also constantly sanitise our workplace to maintain hygiene,” Anis added.
“The media and marketing is still managed by us,” Anis said, pointing at Fathima and herself.
They share how keeping a positive mindset has helped them throughout the business. And the supportive customers’ are always motivating.
Anis said, “Their words have really helped us during our hard times.”
The biggest challenge was conquering our self-doubt
It’s so hard to believe that Hello Daisi was almost not opened because of our self-doubt.” shared Fathima.
“We doubted ourselves before opening up this business, overthinking about things all the what ifs,” she continued.
“We pushed away our doubts and just said to ourselves ‘start now.’ I am so happy we pushed away self doubts since we would not be sitting here as a business owner if we didn’t.”
“It is really important for you to produce what will be a need for customers. Luckily, we could pair the need with something that was passionate to us. That really motivated us to open our store.”
What’s in the pipeline for Hello Daisi?
“Branching out into new platforms like Twitter and Shopee is in the plans. This will improve our brand image, which leads to more sales!” Fathima said enthusiastically.
“Our ultimate goal is to be one of the most renowned local brands out there,” declared Anis.
For more stories like this, read: The Newbie’s Guide to Starting an Online Business Platform – Tips from the Founders of IRL and How to Adapt Your Business to a Post-Pandemic World in 2020 — With Azran Osman-Rani.
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