A love letter to Malaysian entrepreneurs online

Featured sellers in the ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ documentary with their family and staff.

Documentary ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ premieres at Shopee Super Awards 2023

THE groundbreaking documentary ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ premiered on Dec 14 this year at the Shopee Super Awards 2023, held at Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The film follows the stories of three homegrown sellers who have shattered barriers and achieved success on e-commerce.

"This film is a love letter to Malaysian entrepreneurs," said Shopee marketing head Kenneth Soh.

"We want to remind Malaysians buying local that behind the online storefronts, there are many people and communities who our sellers support. This documentary is a testament to their intelligence, resilience and values.”

‘Shopee Rai Lokal’' is an inspiring and thought-provoking insight on the challenges and triumphs of sellers in their journey to finding their niche online. The film features interviews with Edward Wong of HomeDecoStore, Felicia Tan of Mamami Shoppe, and Mohd Zaid Othman of Lampu Cherita. In it, they share their personal stories of overcoming obstacles, starting small and achieving sustained growth in their respective fields.

The documentary — Shopee’s first in Malaysia — was produced in collaboration with Khairil M. Bahar, an award-winning indie filmmaker who is known for Ciplak (2006), Relationship Status (2012), Cuak (2014) and Kickflip (2020). His work has been featured at numerous film festivals, television and streaming networks.

“By sharing this documentary, we hope to inspire others to reach for their dreams online. We are also making it easy for Malaysians to shop locally by spotlighting superstar sellers and capturing their stories,” said Soh.

Celebrating hard work

Shopee Super Awards 2023 is a major e-commerce industry awards held annually in Kuala Lumpur proving the win-win relationship between online communities driving economic inclusion on e-commerce and Shopee’s role in enabling that.

The event — attended by Ainul Aishah, Ceddy Ang, Datuk Jovian, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Dolla, Neelofa, Nuex Rosli, Zoey Rahman, and others — celebrated the achievements of 100 beloved brands, homegrown sellers and outstanding talents that achieved exceptional growth in online sales.

The award winners excelled in e-commerce by consistently taking part in Shopee’s upskilling programmes including: attending free courses on Shopee University; networking at Shopee Seller Summit; leveraging Shopee Marketing Solutions; participating in free educational key opinion leaders (KOL) masterclasses; exchanging ideas at Shopee House; and growing their personal brand via Shopee Live.

Online entrepreneurs

HomeDecoStore founder Edward Wong (right) with his e-commerce assistant Asmanissa Kamaruzaman during their Shopee livestream.HomeDecoStore founder Edward Wong (right) with his e-commerce assistant Asmanissa Kamaruzaman during their Shopee livestream.

HomeDecoStore founder Edward Wong discovered his entrepreneurial calling on Shopee after being forced to give up his job as a flight instructor due to the pandemic.

Wong taught himself how to operate all aspects of his startup. He explored various ventures online before stumbling upon a unique opportunity when he collaborated with his e-commerce assistant, Asmanissa Kamaruzaman with the mini sejadah (prayer mat).

Wong's customer engagement on Shopee Live transcends cultural barriers, allowing him to integrate customer preferences into his prayer mat designs seamlessly while respecting religious sensitivities.

HDS Sejadah Muka has become HomeDecoStore's best-selling item, with bulk purchases of up to 10,000 pieces in two to three weeks, for special occasions like kenduri (banquets). To Edward, these prayer mats symbolise appreciation for Malaysia’s cultural diversity and traditions.

“I want to highlight the fact that young fresh grads go above and beyond to stake our long-term careers on the power of online marketing. Yet we are very much an unappreciated category of sellers compared to more well-known multinationals,” said Wong.

“I hope we spark a wider conversation on what it’s like to have local entrepreneurs represented on camera. Everyone's journey matters as much as the end goal; we need to enjoy the journey and adapt if anything comes up along the way.

“The support and recognition we receive on Shopee is truly valuable, as our average bulk orders range from 200 to 300 pieces, and we sell approximately 1,000 pieces in a week. This success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team,” added Wong.

Felicia Tan and Mamami Shoppe have humble beginnings in empowering communities.Felicia Tan and Mamami Shoppe have humble beginnings in empowering communities.

In 2008, Mamami Shoppe was formally established as a tribute to Felicia Tan's mother, affectionately known as "mama," who instilled a deep appreciation for healthy living within the family.

Inspired by her teachings, Tan — as founder-owner of Mamami Shoppe — embarked on a mission to share this wholesome lifestyle with the wider community.

Mamami Shoppe's foray into e-commerce in 2017 marked a significant milestone in its journey. By establishing a presence on Shopee, the company gained access to a wider audience, enabling it to connect with health-conscious consumers across Malaysia.

The company's growth trajectory was further propelled by the positive word-of-mouth recommendations of its loyal customer base.

Mamami Shoppe currently employs over 50% women and has positively impacted the livelihoods of approximately 30 locals, 20 local vendors and their dependents.

“In today’s society, it’s so rare to just have three neighbourhood sellers talk, isn't it? I feel so fortunate to have this emotionally intelligent team from Shopee come in and genuinely uncover our journey in transitioning from traditional to digital. We didn’t stage anything. We just walked the aisles and they found our gems,” said Tan.

“I am grateful to be supported by a loving family, who has allowed me to grow this business that started off from a home-office as I grappled with the delicate dance of balancing business demands and family ties.

“Today, we have grown to have over six warehouses, and it is our hope that we can continue to expand our nourishing touch to new horizons in Latin America and the Middle East in the future,” she added.

Lampu Cherita founder Mohd Zaid Othman (right) with his brother Mohamad Hakimi talking about their business journey in the ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ documentary.Lampu Cherita founder Mohd Zaid Othman (right) with his brother Mohamad Hakimi talking about their business journey in the ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ documentary.

After nine years of searching for his true calling, Mohd Zaid Othman of Lampu Cherita bravely picked himself up after several failed attempts at starting a business online when he discovered his passion for candle making.

He observed that Malaysians spent hundreds of ringgit on scents, and that there was no real affordable option in the market for people like him, so he founded Lampu Cherita.

With the support of his family and two part-time staff, he meticulously custom-created 50 to 100 candles daily by hand from his home-based operations in Kajang.

Despite financial constraints which forced him to operate from home and also losing valuable inventory to floods, Mohd Zaid remained undeterred, interacting with his customers on Shopee, gathering feedback and taking personalised orders on Shopee Live.

In addition to running his business, he actively engages and supports other sellers as a Shopee Bintang member.

“It’s the power of storytelling. I’ve spent the last few years figuring out how many different businesses failed while I was at Astro before I finally found my niche online with candles. I’ve had rainstorms flood my inventory and put out the lights on my savings,” he said.

“I know what it means to use livestream and storytelling online to get through some tough times. It is my dream that every home in Malaysia will be filled with the scent of Lampu Cherita candles,” he added.

‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ is part of a series of authentic stories told across channels to spotlight local sellers and raise awareness for buying local. It is part of Shopee’s commitment to drive greater inclusion in the marketplace and use technology to help build communities.

To read the ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ book, go to https://sites.google.com/shopee.com/prnewsroom/home. To watch the ‘Shopee Rai Lokal’ video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DD7zTehkvY.

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