The Malaysian cosmetics industry contains immense potential with the growing recognition of wanting to feel and look good. Dressing tables overcrowded with established brands are being replaced with local brand names. A brand that has entered the local beauty cosmetics scene is Cantik Dara, owned and managed by established film actress Nur Risteena Munim. Having carved a name in the local film industry, the decision to be involved in the entrepreneurial world as a manufacturer and distributor of organic beauty products is another challenge for this Penang-born winsome beauty. In an interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Risteena elaborates on her plans in building the brand Cantik Dara and marketing it within the country and regionally.
There is a new genre of entrepreneurs in town, young, ambitious and focused on creating waves within established domains. Nur Risteena Munim, represents a good example of those seeking success as a serial entrepreneur. Having established successful careers in the local film industry and the clothing line, Risteena is ready to take on another venture in the local cosmetics industry. Coming from a family of five siblings and parents, a banker and housewife respectively; Risteena emphasises the entrepreneurial streak she possesses, “I have always wanted to be involved in my own businesses and not work for others. I have my independence, make my own decisions and determine how much I want to earn.”
Subsequent to completing her Diploma in Mass Communications from UiTM, the first career choice was in films. “I wanted to go into acting to improve on my personality,” she says. “As by nature I am a reserved and shy person, acting was a drastic action to get me out of my comfort zone and socialise.” Acting was a correct career choice evident from the eight films completed and the awards received, one for the most popular female artiste in 2016 for the film, GirlFriend Kontrak at the Malaysian Film Festival.
There are a number of other business ventures Risteena is involved in, including a boutique. “My main interest has always been business despite having an acting career as a successful business means assurance of income. I have a three-story building in Jelutong which houses my other business interests and I own a clothing line popular among my fans,” says Risteena with unmistakable pride regarding her achievements and a steely determination showing from beneath the reservedness.
“Cantik Dara, my latest venture in the beauty line is complementary to my other business interests,” says Risteena. “I started Cantik Dara because of the lack of suitable safe organic beauty products that are reasonably priced for the new generation in our society. Most products contain ingredients that are harmful to health.”
“Cantik Dara is my way of providing guidance for young people to look good and be safe. From my experience in seeking good and safe beauty products, I can relate to the challenges young people are undergoing,” quips Risteena. Cantik Dara was launched in 2017 with the company taking a phased-growth expansion plan. “We have started with the online marketing channel as that is where the majority of our customers are positioned. Most of my customers from the younger generation are adept at online marketing and I foresee that is going to be the trend of the future. We have had positive testimonies from an estimated 2,000 customers. There are plans to open stores in the near future,” says Risteena, “We are going to have booths at Putrajaya, Singapore and Brunei for the Ramadhan period.”
Risteena also adds that Cantik Dara has expanded its business to Singapore and Brunei. “We are now an international brand and we are considering to further develop our business in these two markets. Besides, we might even explore the Indonesia market,” she remarks with an unmistakable tone of excitement. “Our marketing platforms also range from our Instagram page which is “cantikdara.official”, our Facebook page “cantik dara” and official website “www.cantikdara.biz”. Cantik Dara is also eager to welcome and recruit new agents, drop-ships, and stockists from each state as part of the team. We will also provide workshops and training in order to equip the new joiners with tips and marketing strategies to succeed. We also have a good incentive scheme planned for the new comers and they will constantly be updated with knowledge on new products in order to promote the brand.”
“There were challenges when starting the business which we are resolving gradually such as getting the right stockists. I have always believed in resolving challenges by being persistent and the same will apply with Cantik Dara,” continues Risteena. “I have faced challenges in my acting career and in my other business and I have learnt to overcome those challenges which I regard as experiences for improving my entrepreneurship skills.”
The current production line is based in Melaka under the Melaka Biotechnology Corporation with a total staff of 20 people. “I practise a flexible management style but I am firm on rules and regulations as mistakes can be very costly. My staffs know this and so far, I have had cooperation and teamwork values rooted in them,” says Risteena in elaborating on her management style.
As for work-life balance, due to a busy lifestyle filled with acting and business commitments, the equation tilts towards work with very little time for family. However, time spent with parents, siblings, a few cats and a monkey is very much treasured. “The monkey, a golden monkey is a family pet the whole family loves spending time with,” shares Risteena. Other than having pets, the main hobbies revolve around the home with interior decoration on the top of the list. “I love rearranging furniture and buying things for the house. My mother and I frequently shop for new items that will change the ambience of the home,” says Risteena.
Risteena’s advice for those interested in making a career out of entrepreneurship is persistence and determination despite the challenges. There is no doubt that these are wise words coming from a new generation entrepreneur.