How A Malaysian Skincare Brand Cracked The International Market
Dynamic Malaysian entrepreneur Kaii Lim shares secrets of how his local skincare brand made it on the international beauty stage by putting customers first.
But even before this, entrepreneurship was in my DNA. I’ve been an entrepreneur since my college days, starting with a clothing brand called 97Bros, and eventually a jewelry brand called 18Celebration.
Tapping a new type of marketing
Looking for ways to make advertising budgets stretch further, I began to dabble in a new form of marketing – online influencers. Unlike today when the influencer marketing industry is worth billions, influencer marketing was still in its infancy. However, it quickly proved to be the right platform for my brands, which quickly gained traction and exposure as a result.
From ideation to implementation, CLEF grew rapidly, fueled by innovative marketing, product innovation and strategic partnerships. One of the key partnerships was with the department store SASA, who provided us with the platform to stock our products in 72 of their stores. Our sales reached 50,000 sold products in just over a period of 20 months!
With the swift success of CLEF in Malaysia, I wanted to expand the brand further. Yes, Malaysia is my home turf and has a sizeable population, but ultimately the market is limited. The only way for CLEF to expand was to go international.
Within a brief period of one year, our overseas sales had penetrated 17 countries, and to this day, our four biggest markets for CLEF products remain the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. We also serve other markets in Europe, such as Germany and Spain, and in Asia, such as Singapore and China.
Solving CLEF’s logistical challenge
Any online retail business knows that logistics issues create unwanted delays, disrupt the customer experience and cause dissatisfaction that could rebound on them. During the early days of our international expansion, we faced multiple logistics challenges - long shipping times, delivery issues at the last mile, lack of verified receipt of the shipment, mis-delivery and more.
Once we started using FedEx, we had immediate access to a host of e-commerce solutions. We discovered an ideal balance between speed and cost, and I was able to pass the convenience of a hassle-free shipping experience on to my customers – a big win all-round.
This is complemented by the FedEx Delivery Manager International™ solution where CLEF’s customers can customize their deliveries to fit their busy lives. Our customers can set notifications and receive a tracking number showing where the products are currently in the delivery journey. This has benefitted the business, as our customers have peace of mind and encounter a good customer experience. As business owners, we’re hyper-aware that a positive customer experience is vital to a company’s long-term business sustainability.
The importance of logistics for SMEs
One of the most crucial propositions is also in keeping the transit period as short as possible. Our alliance with FedEx has been a strategic one, in that it has improved our shipping times and reliability to US, Asia and Europe.
Working with a seamless and reliable logistics provider has placed CLEF on a stronger footing. We continue to focus on broadening our reach in international markets – onwards and upwards!
For more stories on how other SMEs are working with FedEx in APAC, head here.
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