Halal cosmetic products are a rapidly growing market segment. Zieman speaks to a young entrepreneur who is making a mark in the business.
ELLIZ Ramskay is the founder of Moderninai, the first halal nail polish product in Malaysia. The peel-off nail polish created a buzz when it was first introduced two years ago. Today Moderninai is going places and has reached Japan, Australia, the UAE, Jordan, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia through its appointed stockists. Elliz, a UK accountancy graduate, will soon launch the first Halal mascara and eyeliner.
What’s unique about Moderninai?
This water permeable halal nail polish is the first of its kind in Malaysia. The structure of this nail polish allows water to penetrate its colour membrane and it is odourless. It can also be removed immediately by peeling it off when you need to and is made from natural ingredients.
In Islam, praying with nail polish is not permissible because of the waterproof barrier that normal nail polish creates. As such you can’t wear nail polish when doing the wudu (ablution) before performing your prayers. But with Moderninai nail polish, which is water permeable, you can wear this nail polish to perform your prayers.
What made you want to excel in business?
All the challenges that I’ve been through only makes me stronger and more determined. The biggest challenge that will stick in my mind forever, is when I saw my son Mika eating expired bread. We were so broke at that time we could not even afford a decent meal and had no place to call home.
That phase taught me a lot of things. My experiences during my lowest moment in life are what made me what I am today and gave me the determination to give my best shot in business. I pray I will never go through that phase again. I’m so thankful to all those people who have helped me through this challenging part of my life.
Why did you decide to focus on beauty products?
I love beauty and cosmetics. Whenever I see cosmetic products in cute, beautiful packages, I have this urge to buy and keep it. When I look around, I saw there was a market for halal cosmetics, so I decided to introduce halal nail polish from the ‘Tuesday In Love’ brand and market it under Moderninai in Malaysia.
As our business picked up, I decided to produce my own cosmetic brand because I know a lot of Muslim women have no qualms spending money to make themselves look beautiful as long as the cosmetic product is halal.
How did you go from accounting to beauty products?
Everything in business needs accounting. My husband always says that I’m the best accountant. His inspiring words give me a lot of confidence. So since my interest and passion is in beauty products and with an accountancy background, I know I can handle my own beauty products.
I tried my best to build a brand name. So, when we coined the name ‘Moderninai’, I can already imagine the whole range of beauty products under the label, from nail polish, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick to the whole works. With the support from my team and Moderninai fans, I hope I can realise that dream.
What’s the key to launching a successful brand?
We started off selling nasi lemak to fried ice cream before we set up Moderninai. I learnt a lot along the way. You must always be on your toes and learn new things. Never be disheartened by negative remarks and people. You have to focus on what you are doing and always give your best.
Take care of your team because they are your real supporters and backbone. I try to stay connected, give good service and maintain a good relationship with all our wholesalers in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Jordan, the United Kingdom and South Korea. This is the key to maintain a good rapport and a healthy business relationship.
Do you have advice for young entrepreneurs?
Patience will take you places and get things done. Be focused in what you do. Humility and gratitude will make you stay grounded even though you have achieved success.
How do you keep yourself motivated through challenging times?
I take in my stride whatever challenges come my way. I believe there is nothing that we can’t do as long as we are willing to work hard. Success did not come easy for me because when I started my business, I was not familiar with many things. But I was stubborn enough to follow my instinct and went ahead despite the obstacles.
What’s next in the pipeline for Moderninai?
We have 38 different colours of Moderninai water permeable nail polish. We have also given them interesting names like Dark Angel, Snowhite, Gorgeous, Marry Me, Hot Date, Lady In Red, PS I Love You, Naked Skin, Frozen, Happy Feet, and Neon Girls.
Moderninai has already reached Japan, Australia, UAE, Jordan, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. Our next project, which we can’t wait to launch, is our mascara that will give a visible “fake lashes” and eyeliner, which will come in various colours. We hope to come up with other cool invention next.