The e-commerce domain has brought about manifold opportunities within the business field. Mohamad Rafi Abdullah Sani, the director of DMR Marketing Academy and co-founder of beauty cosmetics JeRa Beauty, represents the new community of entrepreneurs who have successfully entered the online market and are currently on the next wave of market and brand establishment. In a conversation with Top 10 of Malaysia, Rafi spoke at length on his involvement within the various segments of the e-commerce ecosystem, successes to date and future plans.
Digital technology is here to stay and have become the foundation of new business models for young and aspiring risk takers. The huge potentials existing within the two-decades-old domain continues to attract the younger demographics in applications and exponential growth potentials sans the excess baggage of brick-and-mortar setups. Those possessing the vision and perseverance in capitalising on digital technologies have catapulted towards high exponential wealth stakes. The Malaysian business scene has been equally involved with the emergence of digital businesses supported by internet savvy demographics.
Grasping an idea and making it a success reflects the innovative personality of Mohmad Rafi Abdullah Sani, who has always been interested in the many opportunities existing within the business and marketing field. “I come from a family of nine siblings, my father is a volunteer worker and mother a housewife. Life has been challenging but we have survived,” reminisces Rafi who moved to Kuala Lumpur on completion of his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia in 2011. An apparent unassuming personality balanced by an inner drive for hard work and a talent for seeking opportunities has worked out favourably for Rafi, a Terengganu-born native.
Having gained the required online and offline experience and knowledge while working in sales, Rafi decided to take the independent route by starting his own business. The first online venture was in the drop shipping of health products. “It was my first venture to test the online market and I was surprised by the success we achieved,” laughs Rafi, “We sold out and it dawned on me the potentials of online marketing.”
The revenue gained from the venture provided the confidence to enter the e- commerce field. “I was ready to take on bigger higher risk projects,” says Rafi. “Undoubtedly there are challenges in capital acquisition and sustaining marketing initiatives which I have overcome with persistence.”
A joint venture in 2015 in the production of cosmetics products and the establishment of a one-stop training academy with the sole purpose of educating potential online marketers are key business initiatives. Both initiatives have been strategically positioned to tap into the burgeoning online local cosmetics market supported by in-house-trained online marketing agents.
“The manufacturing and online distribution of halal herbal-based cosmetics, under the brand name of JeRa Beauty is doing well, evident from our million-dollar sales achievement this year,” says Rafi, “Similarly, the DMR Marketing Academy in Kota Damansara that complements the business side by training our 200-odd agents and outsiders has been equally promising.”
“I feel satisfied as my vision is to improve lives which I am doing through my training programmes,” says Rafi on the success of his e-commerce entrepreneurship and management of the training academy.
“The training I provide equips potential marketers with the requisite e-commerce knowledge for trading,” says Rafi. “This is a highly valuable asset as the retail trend of the future is projected to be based on the e-commerce platform.”
The future plans of the company include regional expansion to Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore complemented by further development of the training academy. “These are established consumer markets requiring strategic product quality and pricing plans based on local demand,” explains Rafi.
“I currently have a sales team of ten employees with plans for further expansion to 30. My management style is relationship-oriented as I value my employees’ contribution and respect them as employees,” says Rafi. Work-life balance is practically non-existent as Rafi admits, “I work overnight on weekdays and whole weekends at the office.”
The advice for potential e-commerce marketers is to be persistent and to continuously learn.