Earlier this month at Malaysia International Halal Showcase in Kuala Lumpur, The Halal Times team had a candid discussion with CEO, Ms. Mawarni Hassan of Cosmoderm, a famous Malaysian halal cosmetics brand. In her wide-ranging remarks, she talked to Maqsood Ahmed, our Editor-in-Chief, on how the global halal cosmetics industry had evolved over the years and the ways her beauty brand, Cosmoderm, has been making waves in the halal cosmetics industry globally. By talking to her, we got the impression that she has been working hard and fast to cope with the exponential demand for their products in Malaysia and beyond.
Mawarni`s remarks were an eloquent reminder that halal cosmetics industry players need to go beyond halal and evolve into brands that can compete with the giants of this lucrative industry.
Could you please let me know a bit about yourself, your company and the services it has been providing to customers in Malaysia and other countries?
I started out as a public servant – I taught English and English literature then went into the Ministry of Education for 14 years, took optional retirement then went into the corporate world – HR and organizational learning at a leading Malaysian bank for three and a half years.
At 49, I received an offer that I could not refuse – In order to accept the offer, I had to decide whether I wanted to continue being in a corporate environment that was financially very rewarding as an employee, or take up a new challenge as an entrepreneur and be an employer – I decided that it was about time that I be in charge of my own fate so I took up the challenge to market Cosmoderm – a homegrown Malaysian skincare brand that was built on the best of nature and science, good quality and halal certified. It already had a solid reputation as a pharmacy skincare brand with 10 years in the market, with a loyal following, stable supply chain, and a good distributor. It just needed a new brand owner to market and grow the brand.
My objective was modest –
build up its market share and establish Cosmoderm as a credible choice to other foreign and local brands as skincare solutions. Since then, Cosmoderm has grown with 2 mil products sold annually in almost 3000 pharmacies and retail outlets in five countries and can be found in major pharmacy chains like Guardian, Watsons, Caring and Aeon Wellness. We have conducted free skin-analysis services in pharmacies and roadshows all over the country.
It is my understanding that you have introduced amazing halal cosmetics products to customers in Malaysia. What are your plans for global expansion and how you plan to reach out to other markets?
We have four skincare ranges that are built around the synergy of tried and tested natural active ingredients – Tea Tree Oil with Vitamin E for Oily skin, Vitamin E and Rosehip Oil for Scar healing, Co-enzyme Q10 and Vitamin A for Sensitive Skin and Anti-aging in our Gentle range and Glutathione and Active G, our trademarked secret formula for brightening skin tone and dark spots.
We are already in Singapore, Brunei, Lebanon, and the Maldives. We plan to enter the Indonesian and the Kazakhstan market by 2020. To enter a new market, we have to find the right partner who believes in the potential of Cosmoderm to grow in their market as they register the product, distribute and market Cosmoderm.
We market Cosmoderm through participation in Halal and Beauty Trade Shows like MIHAS, Cosmoprof Asia and Halal Lifestyle UK as well as visit expos like Beauty Eurasia and Beautyworld Dubai. Investing in maintaining a prominent corporate profile is also one of our export strategies – I speak at international and national forums and we maintain corporate profiles on online beauty and halal portals. We also go on trade missions with MATRADE to meet potential customers.
At the same time, we are aiming first for organic growth in the export market to ensure there is no interruption in supply for both the domestic and international markets.
Why should people use your halal cosmetics instead of regular skincare products? What benefits will they get by using your products?
With halal-certified skincare products, ethically conscious consumers looking for natural and vegan skincare products have more choice as Cosmoderm has all the attributes they are looking for – plant-based ingredients, certified by an internationally recognized government body like JAKIM and its agencies in GMP accredited manufacturing facilities. Cosmoderm products carry the Halal Promise of providing Pure, Safe and Effective products that are made to help alleviate common skin problems while providing consumers with peace of mind. Cosmoderm is also paraben-free, sulfate-free and cruelty-free. Halal certification is an added value.
Would you like to give any message to your potential business partners or customers in foreign countries? If yes, what would that be?
We are serious and committed to building halal cosmetics as an industry that needs more than just interest. It needs continuous commitment. Halal cosmetics is moving out of its niche position and into the mainstream especially in the emerging markets. Halal certification can become the de facto standard that can be accepted globally by all consumers as a standard of quality and safety.
We welcome potential distributors who have the same passion to grow the market for Cosmoderm specifically and halal cosmetics in general as we do. If you are interested in getting our halal-certified products available in your country, you can always reach out to us via our website.