TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORNS

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Growing up in a poor family, Inthira started working part time since the age of 13 and travelled to Singapore to work at the age of 18. Despite not having the privilege to further her studies in university, Inthira’s determination and hard work led her to succeed. In an interview with Top 10 of Malaysia, Inthira shares about her journey in establishing Lafre and also her past experience that inspired her in setting up the company.

 

After finishing her studies in secondary school, Inthira worked as an air stewardess in Singapore. “As an air stewardess, my job required me to travel on an airplane for long hours. There was a period when I started falling sick frequently due to a weakened immune system,” reminisces Inthira who also experienced menstrual bleeding for 4 months continuously. “My body also encountered bacterial infection so I was hospitalised for a week.” Simultaneously, Inthira’s mother was diagnosed with womb cancer.

A friend from Japan heard about Inthira’s plight and suggested that she use a water absorption sanitary napkin instead of the regular pads from Malaysia. “After using those, I fell in love with them,” says Inthira with a smile. 

“They should stand firm and set a target for their dreams, be down to earth and never let negative comments falter them.”

“Jeff, my husband, and I started our company Lafre Global in December 2018 with Edward, another co-founder,” says the bubbly Inthira. “At Lafre, Jeff and I are in charge of marketing, packaging and public relations while Edward handles the stock production,” says Inthira who planned to make Lafre’s products of the highest quality to be outstanding among its customers. “My goal is to ensure that the products are treated as something essential to users.” 

“My experience inspired me to add sanitary napkins as a product of Lafre’s. Lafre’s water absorption factor sanitary napkin has seven layers and every layer is composed of ingredients from countries such as Malaysia and Japan. We have received good feedback from customers who used our sanitary napkins with a thickness of only 0.1 cm. It helps in preventing bacterial infection while many sanitary napkins in the market are not very comfortable to users.”

Lafre also produces slimming products for both men and women. “Hello Sugar isn’t a regular slimming product, it helps in detoxification,” says Inthira who worked with nutritionists in the R&D process of all products. “Blood orange is a rare ingredient for detoxification in the market and it has a double content of vitamin C. Our newest product is Bloody Mary, a product made from brown sugar, black sugar and red dates that aids in relieving menstrual cramps.” All of Lafre’s products are tested and they undergo vigorous quality control before being distributed in the market. 

“The greatest challenge in running a company is dealing with different personalities. I am strict when it comes to work because I want my staff to be self-motivated to set a target, earn a good income and succeed in life. However, I am willing to work with every agent in the company and provide the help and advice required,” says Inthira who also believes that good attitude and mannerism will enable one to go far in life. 

“My agents are able to contact me whenever they have a problem. As I own three companies, good time management is also important to keep things going smoothly,” says Inthira. “I also train my staff to educate ladies on the importance of wearing a good sanitary napkin while they are selling the product.” 

Inthira and her team are considering to make Lafre an established company in the next five to ten years’ time. “My husband and I put in a lot of effort in Lafre and we seldom have time to go for a holiday. Besides, planning for the company, we also conduct CSR initiatives to help people and stray animals who are in need.” During festive seasons, Inthira will ensure that her house is decorated for the festival and friends and family will be invited over for the celebration.

“Youngsters who are interested in starting their own business shouldn’t fear criticism but constantly seek for self-improvement. They should stand firm and set a target for their dreams, be down to earth and never let negative comments falter them,” says the enterprising Inthira.

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