KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Looking beautiful with halal beauty products is just a click away with Prettysuci (www.prettysuci.com), a website launched on March 30 that is touted as ‘the world’s leading halal beauty portal’. The online portal hosts about 15 halal brands from all over the world with more than 200 products that includes Prettysuci’s own lip creams. “It is exactly like Sephora but we sell halal cosmetics and skincare,” said Natasha Mohammad Ozeir, one of the founders.
Prettysuci was originally set up as an Instagram account last Ramadan by Natasha and Tunku Dato’ Kaiyisah Kamil Ikram to introduce their halal lip creams. To date, they have sold an impressive 4,000 lip creams that are locally manufactured. This was purely from marketing via Instagram and through word-of-mouth recommendations.
The two partners have been best friends for a long time even before they became part of the family through marriage (Natasha’s father married Kaiyisah’s aunt). With that tight bond and a shared passion for beauty products, they decided in November 2015 to venture into the beauty market. From the beginning, their end game was always their own e-commerce platform for beauty products. They had selected lip creams to create awareness for their brand. “We thought what else better than lip creams since everybody uses it and at that time lip creams was the craze,” said Natasha. Moreover, as they were a start-up, the lip creams would also help create income for them to run the business. As Kaisiyah adds, “We started off with our lip creams to purely to get the word out and secondly, to go through the process ourselves of understanding how halal products are being made.”
The name Prettysuci, an amalgamation of two words, ‘pretty’ in English and ‘suci’ in Malay was selected from a long list of names since it stood out and best fitted what the two partners wanted to do. “It was very important to have a Malay word in it because we are planning to go global. For the international market, it sounds exotic as well,” said Natasha.
The lip creams took about six months of R&D. An important criteria was colours that they both like and can actually use. Other considerations include the smell and texture of the lip creams. They launched the lip creams last Ramadan using Raya hampers. With the success of the Raya hampers (they sold 300 hampers for the last two weeks of Raya), they plan to continue the tradition this coming Raya too. “We will stick to those basic three colours which will be in our stock for as long as we exist. We have the Cek Mek Molek which is sort of like a nudey pink then we have Minah Jambu which has a berry hue and the new colour that is going to be coming out is a gorgeous red,” said Kaiyisah. For the new lip cream colour that will be released mid-April, Prettysuci will be collaborating with a Malaysian celebrity who is a household name in the industry. It’s still under wraps so do keep an eye out for it!
For their beauty portal, Prettysuci carries halal brands from Taiwan, Indonesia, UK, Pakistan, Canada and more. Both ladies are incredibly particular about the products, requiring them to be tested first, hence they are only launching with 15 brands at the moment. “If not by now we would have 40 to 50 brands already under our brand but to us it’s better to go for quality rather than quantity.” In the future, they hope to have more halal beauty products and skincare from all over the globe sold in their online portal. Their criteria for choosing these beauty products include a proper halal certification that is recognised by JAKIM or the products’s country of origin’s Islamic authorities.
So, is there a market for halal beauty products? Kaisiyah believes that there is definitely a big market for these type of products for everyone. She also adds, “It is proven because our lip cream sales cover all sorts of nationalities and races. We are confident to say that halal beauty is for all and not just for Muslims.” With the website, they also hope to be able to compete equally with the other beauty websites. “We are not promoting ourselves as a specialist market. We want to be able to compete with other beauty sites on a playing level field and not just like this is only for halal beauty. It’s just another option for you. If you don’t want to go to Sephora, you can go to Prettysuci,” added Kaiyisah.
Aware that the halal certification translates to a higher cost compared to a normal beauty product, Prettysuci have also kept their prices competitive to attract first-time buyers to the online marketplace. “More and more halal products are becoming competitively priced because they are becoming mass produced already,” said Natasha. As these factories can also source for better pricing for their ingredients, they have also been able to maintain a more competitive price.
Building up the brand from scratch was not an easy feat for Kaiyisah and Natasha who are incredibly hands-on with the business. Just after they started Prettysuci, Kaiyisah gave birth to her second child. During Kaiyisah’s confinement, Natasha had to run the show for Prettysuci. Both of the founders have a background in public relations. In addition, they co-own a credit recovery firm while Natasha owns a construction company cum property developer that builds houses for PR1MA. “This is probably the first time we’re doing something that’s related to our degree. I did property development where people you work with are mostly engineers and government people. I deal with architects and engineers on a daily basis. After that we did a credit recovery firm which has nothing to do with public relations as well. Basically, we have to study from scratch to really understand the business,” said Natasha.
Taking up the beauty business was a challenge for the duo. “I really wanted to sink my teeth into something that I would go all out for and not just have a job just for the sake of transitioning. I think we wanted something different, something to give us an edge and something that will give us a challenge as well,” explained Kaiyisah. As Natasha adds, “As you can see, we’ve never done anything that was simple or common to everyone.”
The venture into the halal beauty market was triggered off by their market research that showed that halal products is a big trend. The duo also wanted to shake up people’s perceptions that halal products are boring or the owners must wear a tudung or hijab. “That’s an interesting factor for both of us as well. I said don’t do things that are normally done by other people. So it was a challenge to educate people in general that halal can be fun. Even though we are young, we understand it so we are just trying to share what we believe it is. It’s not about anything, it’s the sincerity of your heart and how you do it because both of us don’t wear tudungs,” said Natasha.
Apart from just doing the R&D of the products, the duo also worked very hard to figure out the concept of the brand and the messages they want to send out to people. “Basically the brand also describes us as well in general. It’s fun, it’s relaxed and it’s relatable. Our basics are intact, we know what we are doing. Halal beauty doesn’t have to be for boring people. Maybe for us it’s also our contribution as well to the world to show everybody like chill out, nothing has to be serious because we’re fun, we’re relaxed. Halal is not different from anything,” said Natasha.
“Prettysuci is just a tool to enhance your inner beauty. Everyone is born beautiful so the products that we have just helps you enhance your beauty and gives you the confidence to bring out your inner beauty,” said Natasha. She also believes it takes effort for people to look good all the time and a person has to be confident with their self for it to work. As Kaiyisah adds, “We give you the chance to let your light shine.”