Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman, the brains behind Vida Beauty, may come across as all flamboyance and flash, but she knows what she wants and how to go about getting it. ZIEMAN talks to the eccentric but shrewd businesswoman.
NOBODY bats an eye anymore at businesswoman Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman, a.k.a Datuk Seri Vida, and her ostentatious habit of wearing diamond-studded tiaras, the flaunting of her wealth or her flamboyant lifestyle.
She is what she is, and she is one of a kind.
Hasmiza, owner of Vida Beauty, is so rich that she owns 17 bungalows and a fleet of 20 luxury cars that includes a Bentley, a Lamborghini and a customised Vellfire with a massage chair and a fridge to help ease her daily Ipoh-KL commute.
She has just bought a RM22mil mansion in Meru Heights Ipoh, and she’s the proud owner of a huge collection of tiaras that range in price between RM5,000 and RM300,000.
There’s more, much much more, but the list is too long to enumerate. And to think Hasmiza started out as a teacher at SJK (C) Poi Lam in Ipoh. She left her teaching job 12 years ago and, over time, has built her company, Vida Beauty, into a successful empire of health and beauty products.
“My mission in life is to create my brand, and make it so effective and memorable that no one can ignore me,” declares Hasmiza.
“I want to stamp my brand on everything I do, whether in entertainment, sports or anything,” adds the former teacher, who speaks fluent Mandarin.
Her latest marketing exploit certainly caught the eye.
Hasmiza, who hails from Kelantan, injected RM20mil into a high-profile, two-season sponsorship deal with the Kelantan football team, the Red Warriors — now renamed Pamoga Qu Puteh The Red Warriors, after her two biggest-selling products: the health drink Pamoga and the skin-whitening drink Qu Puteh.
And the Red Warriors’ stadium has been painted a sweet Barbie pink!
The Ipoh-based Vida Beauty, headquartered in Greentown Mall, may only have been in the market for five years, but it is a well-known and trusted brand among the Malay community — thanks to its extensive sponsorship of TV shows. The company’s tagline is always prominently recited: Qu Puteh, Qu Puteh… barulah puteh, with Hasmiza touching her cheek with two fingers, lips pouting and all!
It’s a trademark of hers.
Vida Beauty, with a factory operating in Balakong, Selangor, produces more than 120 products and has an army of more than 150 mobile stockists. Its Pamoga health drink (RM168 each) registers monthly sales of more than 100,000 bottles, while its Qu Puteh Whitening drink (RM268) sells 150,000 units every month.
Other popular items include the Millenia Vitamin Champ (RM68 a bottle) and the Mineral lipstick (RM28.90).
People think the Qu Puteh name sounds rather kampung (provincial or hick), but Hasmiza just shrugs and says: “It’s more like wishing for fairness — Aku Putih (‘I am fair’) when drinking the product.”
Hasmiza started her Vida Beauty business by investing about RM10,000 on Argan oil and pomegranate from Morocco. Together with her R&D team, she formulated her beauty cream, whitening drink and health drink. She claims the Pamoga health drink is made from pure pomegranate extract and can cure many diseases and heal animal bites.
“I started using the products first. But the rave feedback about how my face glowed after taking the health drink made me determined to sell them. There were many obstacles at first, especially since some deemed my brand kampung, especially the tagline.
“I felt I had to use a different marketing strategy to sell Qu Puteh and Pamoga. I am not bothered by negative remarks like I’m crazy, I gila glamour or I hog the limelight.
“My aim is to make as much profit as possible, and I want my products to keep selling so that all Malaysians can benefit from it,” says the 44-year-old businesswoman who is now hailed as a master of marketing.
The brand recognition for Qu Puteh products first came to the fore after Hasmiza splashed RM3mil to sponsor last year’s Anugerah Juara Lagu 29. The marketing ploy worked wonders as Hasmiza’s face and Qu Puteh products were flashed at such regular intervals that you just could not miss it.
Like it or not, Vida Beauty became so memorable that it was etched on consumers’ minds.
It’s telling that while Vida Beauty has a staff count of 150, not a single one of them does marketing.
“I follow my heart and my instincts when making business decisions,” Hasmiza states.
“I have gone through a lot in this business, and no one can understand what I am trying to do. Most people say what I do is illogical because I don’t need consultants, and I don’t believe in engaging any marketing person to do the job. No one knows how to do marketing better than me.
“After all, this is my product and I have positioned it to where it is now,” she asserts.
For Hasmiza, marketing and advertising is not about putting your brand and face on things but about creating a strong, shocking effect where it’s least expected.
“Branding exercises have to be unique. In the last five years, I have been paying for advertisements as a sponsor. Then I realised the advertisements were not helping me to move forward. It’s just riding on people’s programmes.
“I told myself, I have had enough of that. Besides, people are sick of advertisements, so I decided to revolutionise advertisement in entertainment, and now in sports,” says Hasmiza, who will be producing a unique Quran for every Muslim this year.
She is also exploiting the social networking sites for maximum publicity for her products. As a sponsor, Hasmiza’s aim is to maximise her investments.
That was why she again sponsored Astro’s Gegar Vaganza last year, pumping in RM2mil. One of her latest sponsorship was for TV3’s Mentor Millenia. Besides writing a RM2mil cheque, she also created a vitamin-like candy called Millenia just for the show and made sure she got her fair share of publicity in the weekly show.
The mother-of-four was recently featured in Astro’s Terlajak Putih Nampak, with two other millionaire beauty business owners. The video, featuring her RM22mil bungalow with its panic room, swimming pool and more, has since gone viral.
Despite her phenomenal success, Hasmiza tries to stay grounded. She says she always remembers the shock of losing her two sons in a fire one fateful day in August 2013.
“That was the worst phase of my life. After crying for months, I went all out into advertising and focused on my business. I knew I had to bounce back and move on. The incident will always haunt me, that’s why I decided to move out from the house and use the place as storage for my cars,” reveals Hasmiza.
She admits her lifestyle now is a far cry from her humble beginnings. And yet, Hasmiza is not in the least bit apologetic about her lavish habits.
“Image is important, so I have to make the right impression with my choice of designer outfits, expensive accessories and show of wealth. It’s not so much about looking glamorous but more about being remembered. I worked hard to get where I am now, and I am proud of everything I have,” she says.
The savvy businesswoman has a designer who takes care of her outfits for meetings, lunches, client dinners and charity functions. She also has a few maids at her beck and call.
“Wearing all that jewellery is like a confidence-booster. I feel all this glitz and glamour takes me an extra mile in business. Most people underestimate me and assume I don’t know what I’m talking about, but as soon as I start talking about business, they are shocked,” says Hasmiza, who used to work in a factory, as a salesperson selling bonsai trees and in fast-food restaurants.
“Getting what I want after what I have invested in is my right. Otherwise, as a sponsor, all my investment would be useless. I don’t take to heart the unkind remarks about me. Right now, I’m just overwhelmed to be where I am today.
“I’m so grateful to God, really grateful. There’s no other way to describe this feeling!” she remarks.