Three friends set-up a cosmetics brand and it is now a cult favourite
WHEN three women bonded over their passion for beauty, the result was Fame Cosmetics, a local cosmetics brand that has become one of the most sought-after brands and a cult favourite, particularly among make-up artists.
Although there is no official poll, Fame Cosmetics is among the top three local cosmetics brands with the highest number of Instagram followers at 89.9k and counting.
It is also in the list of 14 Malaysian brands that produces high quality locally-made beauty products by lifestyle blog XXX.
Using their experiences as beauty and lifestyle bloggers, Raja Elly Yusnita Raja Kamaruddin, Nur Hafiza Burhanuddin and Fadilla Ibrahim set up the brand in 2015.
Raja Elly Yusnita says Fame Cosmetics was born out of their shared interests in make-up and beauty. At that time, blogs about skincare and beauty products had the highest number of followers.
The three got together when Raja Elly Yusnita reached out to Fadilla with the idea to set up a business.
Fadilla, in turn, asked Nur Hafiza to join them. Of the three, only Nur Hafiza had an online business selling local beauty products, while Raja Elly Yusnita and Fadilla were working full-time.
“I wanted to have a business as an additional income. Nur Hafiza and Fadilla had a large number of followers and we wanted to use the blogs as marketing tools. We started with skincare products such as cleanser and toner.
“When we launched the products, they were sold out in three days. Sales were good for the next few months so I resigned from my job to focus on the business,” says Raja Elly Yusnita.
Unfortunately, the response to their skincare products dwindled soon after. As sales dropped, they had to find another venture — one that is more sustainable than skincare. As there were only a few local cosmetics brand at that time, the trio decided to make it their new venture.
Nur Hafiza says they also realised that it is easier to market cosmetics products because women always need them.
“There is a difference in buying pattern between skincare and cosmetics products. Women always need a new lipstick or foundation. They will buy a lipstick if they like the colour or texture, even though they already own several colours.
“But they will only buy skincare products once a month because they can use them for longer. And most are loyal to certain brands and will not switch to others. This is one of the reasons our sales went down.”
WHAT WOMEN WANT
Fame Cosmetics introduced its first product — matte lip cream — in five colours in 2016.
Using blogs and Facebook, they sold 17,000 sticks within a month. With the overwhelming response, they came out with another product — BB cushion compact — soon after.
Raja Elly Yusnita says one of their advantages is that they know what women are looking for in cosmetics because they are the same things they want.
They know Malaysian women prefer natural and soft colours and easy to wash make-up. For Muslim women, they want cosmetics products that are wudhu’ compliant.
“We emphasise on colours that we know women like which are usually nude and skin tones. We did come out with vibrant colours such as red for the matte lip cream, but customers did not like them. So we stuck to the formula.”
“Some women don’t want to spend too much time to put on their make-up. To make it easy for them, we change a few things with our products. For example, the eye shadow has a small sponge instead of a brush which makes it easier to apply.
“And you don’t need foundation before using our BB cushion because it is a combination of powder and foundation. It also contains SPF to protect your skin from the sun and is compact so it is easy to carry around.”
Although these products were well received, the friends realised they need to do more to expand their customer base. One of the moves is the collaboration with make-up artists.
Nur Hafiza says Fame Cosmetics became popular in a short time because make-up artists love their products and use them on their clients, some of whom include Sherry Ibrahim, Juliana Evans, Nora Ariffin, Catriona Ross and Wawa Zainal.
“We have been working with make-up artists since we launched the matte lip cream. Not only that, we have collaborated with celebrity make-up artist Nuex Rosli for limited edition soft matte lip creams. We are grateful for their help in promoting our brand.”
The brand has now expanded its products to include mascara, eye liner, stick eye shadow, and eye and lip make-up remover.
It offers more than 15 colours for the matte lip cream which include their best sellers — violet, rusty, gossip, diva and coral.
There are three colours for the BB cushion — fair, ivory and natural — and for the stick eye shadow, the colours include brown, light gold and medium gold.
They have also come out with pocket mirrors, make-up bags as well as travel kits and Hari Raya editions.
Raja Elly Yusnita says another advantage of Fame Cosmetics is its affordability. It is important for the brand to maintain the price of between RM29 and RM85 for the time being as requested by customers.
“We had increased the price previously, but it was not well received by customers. We do not have bank borrowings, and we use the sales as rolling capital. It is tough to maintain the prices at the current manufacturing cost but we need to think of our customers.
“That is why we keep the manufacturing process here. If we turn to other countries, the cost will be much higher. But we are hoping that we can come up with a new price structure next year. It has to benefit everyone because we don’t want to lose our loyal customers.”
Raja Elly Yusnita says although Fame Cosmetics has a strong customer base now, it does not mean they can be complacent in their efforts to further expand their market share.
Among the steps they have taken include non-stop marketing through their website, Facebook and Instagram as well as road shows nationwide.
It has also worked together with Tune Talk to sponsor matte lip creams during the company’s fashion show at the KL Fashion Week 2017.
Fame Cosmetics is not only available online but also through agents and stockists. Currently it has 300 agents and 33 stockists in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
It also has kiosks in several malls including Fahrenheit 88, Paradigm Mall Johor Baru, Sogo and Times Square.
“It has been our dream to have a presence in shopping malls and we could not believe that we managed to do it. We were told that it is due to our strong branding and customers.
“Now that there are many local cosmetics brands, we need to increase our marketing efforts. Anyone can come out with cosmetics products but they may not be able to engage people through marketing like we do.
“We are not saying we are good at it but we continue to learn and work hard to ensure our products continue to be in demand,” says Raja Elly Yusnita.