Building an entrepreneurial community defines the vision of Shah Hafiz, the recipient of the Anugerah Personaliti Industri dan Usahawan Malaysia, 2018. An entrepreneur who gained experience and skills by learning the trade right after leaving school, Shah possesses firsthand knowledge from having experienced both stellar successes amidst the intermittent downs of businesses. The grit and determination required for entering new markets have not deterred the visionary Shah from experimenting with innovative strategies within the business field. The experience gained from the various businesses ranging from unit trusts to trading are invaluable lessons that have helped in the remarkable achievement of the current business, DYXY Cosmetics, run as a partnership with wife, Dyana Roslan. In a conversation with Top 10 of Malaysia, Shah spoke on his entrepreneurial journey and his vision in building an entrepreneurial community.
Entrepreneurship has been the sole career choice option of Shah Hafiz, as he got himself entrenched in the field right after leaving school. “I am from Kuala Lumpur, having been born and bred here although there was a short stint in Bentong,” reminisces Shah on his childhood. “I come from a middle-class family consisting of two brothers and my parents. I am the middle child. Unfortunately, my mother passed away when I was fifteen and all four of us guys had to take care of each other. Life was not exactly easy.”
After leaving school and a short stint in a financial course at Kolej Damansara, the first career choice was in the insurance field before moving into unit trusts and loan banking. “When my mother passed away due to kidney failure, she had no insurance and that took a toll on my father and the whole family. Out of that predicament, I realised the importance of having financial security,” says Shah. Despite the challenges of hardship, the determination in succeeding resulted in financial success. “I was earning a five-figure income by the time I was twenty-one. Can you imagine me buying my own car, a BMW, at twenty-one?” asks Shah with a grin. “I realised then the power of working for myself by using my own ingenuity. Maybe I got that from my father who was a businessman.” Marriage was on the cards around that time with Dyana Roslan. “I got married at the young age of 22, as I felt the responsibility of taking care of a family would bring me greater success in my businesses,” says the father of three boys aged six, four and four months.
From the banking field, the next shift for business expansion was in the field of import-export. “I became the youngest vendor involved in the supply of rubber which I imported from Thailand and Indonesia. My customers included Mardec and Felda,” says Shah, “Unfortunately, the declining rubber prices impacted my business and I diversified into other areas within the import-export field. One was the chicken industry, where I imported chicken from the Middle-East and Europe and supplied to China and Thailand,” says Shah. There were intermittent downs in the businesses due to uncontrollable factors such as
declining prices and demand. “But during these times, I was involved in small businesses that have allowed me to gain experience,” explains Shah. The beauty business became the next focus, inspired by Dyana’s entrepreneurships in selling cosmetics. “I observed my wife was doing well in her cosmetics business and I realised the potentials of the business. Women use cosmetics and the demand is always there,” says Shah.
“We decided to start a partnership in cosmetics with Korean formulations. The origins of the name, DYXY, refers to a combination of Dyana’s name and Roxy, her favourite brand. Dyana is also a graduate from Top to Toe Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology and she is now a qualified beautician, beauty therapist and aesthetician. She has also won awards such as the World Masters Professional Beauty Associates and International Federation of Aestheticians. She specialises in skin treatments and has used her knowledge and skills to create products for DYXY. Besides, she also ensures that the products are made from the finest ingredients and quality to assure customers’ satisfaction.”
“I started out in Kelantan as the norm for starting cosmetics business is to begin in the north. I went to Kelantan without knowing anyone,” recalls Shah. “In the beginning, it was a challenge as the brand DYXY was unheard of but through determination and weeks of persistence, it finally caught on with the Kelantanese young women. I found my own stockists, agents and distributors and the business has in five years expanded throughout the country.”
The Korean formulations are similar to that of established brands but the attractive pricing strategy is the main crowd-puller. Shah acknowledges the competition has lately turned intensive with more brands entering the local cosmetics market. However, there is still scope for growth because of the attractive prices and high consumer demand for cosmetics.
“The product quality has to be good and I ensure that DYXY’s standards are consistently high. DYXY’s value proposition is the formulation we use for our products which is similar to established brands. We target the mid-range market with reasonably priced products, similar to established brands,” explains Shah.
The products have been certified by the Health Ministry and are awaiting halal certification. The three marketing promotions channels consist of the online, offline and networking channels. The online channel is the fastest growing channel from a wider market exposure. The product promotion is targeted towards building the brand reputation of DYXY. Initially targeted towards Gen-Z, aged eighteen to twenty-four, the product range since then has expanded to other age groups.
The nurturing of new entrepreneurs through the establishment of a platform is another achievement of Shah based on his vision of establishing an entrepreneurial community. “I have nurtured a few hundred entrepreneurs as my distributors, who now enjoy five-figure salaries not to mention the few millionaires amongst them,” smiles Shah, “That is the source of my happiness, to see lives changed for the better through their own entrepreneurial skills.”
The success of the entrepreneurship programme has been recognised by the awards that DYXY has received, the latest being the Anugerah Personaliti Industri dan Usahawan Malaysia, 2018. The establishment of the DYXY Academy has enabled Shah to provide formal, structured training for distributors thereby improving their professional skills in sales. “Those who joined me initially were those who were determined to change their lives and they have turned out to be very successful. I personally select my distributors and train them so they possess the required sales knowledge for selling my products. It is a win-win solution for my distributors and DYXY.”
The future plans in the pipeline include the expansion of distributorships to Brunei, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Shah practises a guided style of leadership with his twenty employees based at the headquarters. There is a DYXY app which allows all employees including himself to communicate with each other. The role models who have shaped his entrepreneurial journey include his father and father-in-law, who are both
successful businessmen. Shah’s younger brother has taken on his entrepreneurial spirit by joining him in the business.
As for work-life balance, the close proximity of the office headquarters near home allows for close interaction with the children whenever possible. “I drop by for lunch and try to spend time with them. Bringing up three boys is, most assuredly, not a walk in the park for me and my wife,” admits Shah. Shah’s advice for those intending to start a business is that one must possess the persistence and determination in the face of difficulties and challenges.
“There are bound to be failures here and there, but the resilience in recovering and to keep going will determine success,” he says. Shah’s success in the entrepreneurial field is undoubtedly an inspiring paragon for entrepreneurialism in Malaysia.