Website Najjah.com caters to the Muslimah fashionitas out there. It sells tudungs, hijabs and shawls, as well as blouses and other tops designed by Malaysians Farah Adeeba and Nurul Azwin who is affectionally known as Awin.
Founded late last year, the site lists their products which are colourful, vibrant and contemporary, according to Farah, a former TV host who has an 11-month-old boy.
Awin is a makeup artist who has been offering her service online since 2005. Previously, she worked as an engineer before quitting after four years in the job and did a “100% u-turn” to pursue her passion in makeup.
“That’s how I met Farah,” says the mother of an eight-year-old girl and two boys, aged two and four.
Through her blog, Awin offers wedding makeup and photography services. She said one thing which annoys her is that after applying makeup to ensure the brides look their best, some would spoil things by choosing a wrong coloured or patterned tudung.
She now designs her own range of tudungs that will complement the types of makeup she applies, so the bride can really look her best.
This dedication to her craft has helped make Najjah.com successful. “If you search online now for makeup artist services in Malaysia, our website is at the top of the list,” she says proudly.
Partner Farah says she had to do a fair amount of research and networking before jumping into the business. “I was always into fashion, even when young, so naturally I was drawn to the venture, but I wanted to be sure it would succeed.”
Once they were convinced, they invested a lot of money and time into their online business. They did not look for a loan and instead used their savings.
Initially, they thought that putting up RM20,000 each would be enough to get the online business off the ground. “To us that was a large amount of money for an online business,” Farah says. “Boy were we wrong!”
By the time the business was running properly, they had invested close to RM200,000 in total.
Not only did they have to come up with various designs for their product lines, they had to have prototypes made, and get the designs into production. Local and overseas manufacturers were hired to make the products.
The tudungs and other clothing accessories they sell are based on their own likes and dislikes, as well as their individual fashion sense.
“These products represent what we like. We have been wearing tudungs for almost 16 years now and we like them to be fashionable,” Farah says.
Najjah.com is also a good example on how a partnership business venture ought to be — where each partner brings a different set of skills to complement the other’s.
Awin manages the website because she has the experience while Farah is the model for their many products. “Additionally, Awin also does the makeup and is the wedding photographer,” Farah adds.
They used to meet clients and showcase their designs in their home, but felt that it would be more appropriate to have a brick-and-mortar outlet after their online business struck gold.
Last month, Najjah Boutique opened its doors at Kota Damansara in Petaling Jaya. Now, customers can walk in and try the items that they are interested in after browsing Najjah.com.
“We also provide makeup service at the boutique,” Awin says.
The secret of their success? You must be passionate about what you do, they say.
Also, the Internet allowed them to explore opportunities that eventually led to a healthy online business, which has resulted in an even more successful brick-and-mortar enterprise.
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