Dare To Be Different

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While doing her engineering studies, Yaya Muhammad saw a window of opportunity to pursue her true passion and did not hesitate to grab it, eventually establishing herself in the health and beauty industry. In this recent interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, the enterprising and vibrant founder and CEO of MOHA Group Sdn Bhd speaks about her venturing out as an entrepreneur, the management style she embraces as well as the secret to her success.

Having completed an electrical engineering degree at University of Technology Malaysia, Skudai to satisfy her parents, Yaya Muhammad soon secured a job in the field. She worked as a Network Systems Engineer but accepted the company’s Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) 6 years later and went on to start her very own company, Maya Beauty House (MBH) Medispa Sdn Bhd, in 2010. “My parents were not happy and I didn’t like engineering. But, eventually they came to terms with my decision,” Yaya shares.

MBH Medispa operates 11 spas locally and carries a complete range of health and beauty products for men and women under its own label, which are sold at the spas and online. “Our coffee is the bestseller as it is exported to Indonesia. My favourite is our skin care range though, as I’m very particular and was involved in the production,” she explains. In 2014, Yaya started MOHA Biotech Manufacturing Sdn Bhd to offer original equipment manufacturer (OEM) services to clients wanting to produce their own products. “I formed MOHA Biotech with my brother and sister-in-law, whose backgrounds are related to the industry. They are the backbone of the company,” Yaya says. Together, MBH Medispa and MOHA Biotech form the MOHA Group.

To understand clients’ needs, MOHA Biotech will hold a pre-consultation session first. Then, it does the necessary research and prepares a sample. Once the sample is approved, mass production begins. “We have various packages but our minimum package is priced at RM4,999,” reveals Yaya. Moreover, multiple tests are done before registering products with the Health Ministry of Malaysia.

On company growth, Yaya says that she is happy but not yet quite satisfied as she wants to reach greater heights. “There is a long way to go,” she says, adding that she would like to expand to Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East where industry potential is huge and markets are not 100% explored. “Our Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) license will be useful when exporting. If our products are popular overseas, I may open a spa overseas in future,” Yaya adds. Admittedly, she is also a risk taker. “Many people say 2017 is not a good time for business but I’ll be opening four new spas and a new hair care centre in Bangi soon. However, I will study the market beforehand,” she adds.

As a leader, she is approachable and not strict. “I treat people how I want to be treated and I’m constantly improving myself,” Yaya says, adding that teamwork is her secret to success. “I’m not always right so I often take everyone’s ideas into consideration when making decisions,” she adds. Although milestones for 2017 include owning a factory and an office building which she is close to accomplishing, she has yet to set targets for 2018.

The biggest challenge for Yaya is when employees have issues, as they are the assets of the company. “When someone leaves, I find out the reason and improve from there,” Yaya says. Believing in karma, she constantly strives to keep a positive mindset and practises a good work-life balance by leaving work at 6pm daily to spend time with her daughter. “She is my focus at home. I also make plans during school holidays as I want her to enjoy being a kid,” Yaya says.

The two things she would like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs are interesting indeed. “First, have a clear mindset. You cannot do business for money or you will be satisfied once it’s there. Second, your heart must be in the right place. If you set your mind to help others and you are honest in business, the money will come in,” Yaya advises.