5 things I learn from the suffering of my Start-up

L'adorn circa 2014

I love being in Malaysia. It feels home although my home currently is in the UK, Malaysia still have that home feeling to me especially when we arrived at the immigration officer desk and we're waiting for our passport to be stamped.

My last trip was more of a business trip. My partner and I have closed down L'adorn Malaysia and we were very sad to see something that we truly passionate about have to find its end. I really hope this is a temporary closing because honestly I have big vision for Ladorn and I hate to see it ends just there. So I definitely am brewing something for my baby in the future.

L'adorn officially started in 2011 but I started selling scarves online in 2009 when I was studying in London. Back when only a small number of girls selling hijab on blogspot. We were one of the pioneers selling hijab on e-commerce so we had a lot of advantage those days. Our targeted market and prices was the upper middle classes. This was set based on the logistics and the materials cost. Because I was staying in London, I have to have a partner in Malaysia to do the deliveries and customers service.

Fast forward to today, L'adorn suffered an enormous amount of problems and challenges. Hence the life changing decision. Here are 5 things L'adorn got suffered from and a few things that I learn throughout the journey of running my own business.

1. Long distance = The founder is not there to set up the business properly and is trying hard to make it long distance in the 1st few years. The 1st few years of a start up is super demanding of your time and energy if you are the founder. Without a huge amount of capitals, you need to do everything yourself. Lesson : So be there for your business when you are starting out.

2. Market shifted = We lost of our market half way into the business. This was our biggest disappointments. 2 years after the business launched, competitors and imitators were mushrooming. And I had my visa problem so I weren't able to come back to Malaysia for 2 years. The business was left to the rest of the team. to make things worst, my partner was working full time so she weren't able to focus 101%. The team was afraid if we sell things at a higher price we were not able to compete so we were trying to compete in the region of not our market. So we lost our loyals who are able to pay a higher price and we couldn't grasp the lower end because there were so much imitators who sells below the market price. Lesson : Don't try to compete in other market but get to know your loyals and improve your service.

3. Time difference = Between UK and Msia. I used to work night time when my kids was sleeping, editing bad pictures, uploading and creating banners and doing promotions. But after months of working at night and taking care 2 babies in the daylight, my health started to take a toll on me. I was constantly sick and my mind was not focused. It had a huge effect on my mood which does not help when you are trying to raise kids. Until finally I decided to left everything on the hand of the team. Go easy on myself and I'll just come in when there are problems. The arrangement didn't work. Lesson : Refer no 1.

4. Cash flow and drastic expansion. = I knew this was going to be one of our problems but at that time i couldn't think of other solutions. We were making gold on sales and just when capitals starting to build, we rent a big warehouse and hired people with high pays. It was the easiest thing to do without me being there. We didn't anticipated the mushrooming of imitators and our business plans weren't solid enough. So we had cash flow problem after our 3rd year. Lesson : Don't try to expand to fast without having a solid financial plan.

5. Inventory = Our inventory was in-organised. All orders that were unpaid and canceled were left doing nothing for months. The stocks didn't went on the web as soon as it was supposed to. Lesson : Never leave your inventories in the hands of unreliable people.

Business is challenging and starting it alone was be a little demotivated. But most entrepreneur will say that it is worthwhile. It takes solid plan and perseverance (Istiqomah is what my mom always said) to surely make it successful. I wish you all the luck for those starting out.

Is it nice living in the UK?

Whenever my family and I are back in Malaysia and we had to deal with people behind the desk like the JPJ or Banks, they always asked me the same question. Is it nice living in the UK? Do you watch football (from the men)?... No dude, we don't live in a stadium like you would imagine. Haha.

Living overseas have its ups and downs. For a start, your family is far far away. For us Malaysian, we are known for our community living. Most of us stayed with our parents until we got married. For some, they even live with their parents and family members throughout their marriage life.

I have lived here for 9 years and 12 years for Fairuz. We just realised that's quite a long time. When I first came here for my studies, never in a million years I imagine I could be settling in another country other than my home country. I mean... I really love living in Malaysia. It's my comfort zone and somehow I strived in my comfort zone. But clearly Allah s.w.t have a better plan for us.



A few months before I started my PhD, I got married to Fairuz. Our plans was for him to follows me and stayed with me throughout my studies and we will returned back home to serve our bonds. Fairuz at that time was bonded with a big GLC company in Malaysia because he was on scholarship from that company.  But fate took a little turn that after much unsuccessful appeals to the company, Fairuz decided to just follow his heart and let go. This was of course after much Solat Istikharah from us. Because seriously it was a huge commitment to have a huge debt at our belt.

Turns out it was one of the best decision we made. With the guide from Allah s.w.t, he became what he is today. His career development grew exponentially and his prospects are huge. Though I secretly wish sometimes we are living in Malaysia besides our loved ones, I couldn't be happier for our little family to be living overseas. It is truly a blessing to be living in this country or any other country for that matter. Because the truth is, rezq is everywhere and we are put here based on HIS plans. Especially for our kids in terms of their education. It's not that there isn't any great schools in Malaysia, but for them to be in our preferred school there is something that we really have to think about since it will cost us a lot. And a few little things that made us decided best to sacrifice something just for a better future of our little family.

For some family, their "rezeki" might be elsewhere back home but for us right now, It's here.


Here comes Sugarscarf London


It is official. Today I've just signed a 3 months probation contract with Sugarscarf London. They have massive plans for their future in the UK and Europe market and I am very well excited to be in the team. The owner of Sugarscarf eyqa is a very very good friend of mine and I just couldn't help myself but giving out a helping hand in making their dream a reality.Along the way making friends, leaning about the trade here in the UK and earning for myself. Plus it will also help in building my little career portfolio once I decided to really work full time.

Eyqa and I have known each other since the early days of girls selling hijabs online on blogs in Malaysia and we were the people who were among the pioneers to sell hijabs online. Nowadays it is just one massive ocean of girls or even guys selling them online and offline in Malaysia. It seems to me it has become a phenomenal trend. I'm not against anyone who wanted to have a piece of that market however I do feel that it has become a trend of re-selling rather than a piece of cloth to cover our modesty. But who am I to judge and I sincerely hope everyone have a sincere heart in wearing the hijab rather than just for the sake of fashion or to sell them and make profit. Insha'Allah.

Going back to the Sugarscarf news! It is an exciting new venture. I know this because I used to run a company called L'adorn and it was an exciting period. L'adorn was once at its height and I was over the moon but I decided to closed L'adorn for circumstances that I am now living and settling overseas. I have excepted the fact that having a fast paced business that is just starting up while the founder is living in another country is just not feasible. I barely return to Malaysia and during my 2 years of not returning, L'adorn suffered a lot. I will write more on that one day and I will tell you some of the trade secrets that I've learn along the way.

I can't wait to tell you the journey of Sugarscarf expanding overseas. They are a great company and they have big potential. The have grown exponentially slowly throughout the years and I think it is high time that they expand to other country. The UK and Europe market is still new for hijabs but it is definitely growing. Pray for Sugarscarf.

Alana and Peppa

Alana is at the stage where she believes that Peppa Pig is her BFF. For those who are not familiar with Peppa Pig, it is a famous children show in the UK and I think they have ventured into some other countries such as malaysia. Although the main character is a pig which to a certain part of Malaysia can be a taboo, it is actually a very good kids show. Their english are superb and their episodes are mostly about learning and exploring their day to day life. Wil and Alana learn quite a lot watching peppa pig. Sometimes I find myself watching the shows without Wil or Alana by my side.

Alana loves Peppa so much to a point she is obsessed. She wants every single Peppa merchandise that she saw in the shop. Peppa is genius I tell you and evil for us parents. Luckily their merchandise are not as expensive as Disney's and we still got Carboot Sale for last resort. haha cheapskate parents.

Tonight, Alana was crying her balls out because her favourite Peppa pyjamas was in the laundry. She was crying as if it was the end of Peppa and that she wouldn't see her again forever. So Fairuz and I was trying to console her by giving her other options but she continued crying saying  "Peppaaaaaa....Peppaaaaaa bajuuuu..." It was so funny guys. I really need to find more the same Peppa baju and have them in her wardrobe because she wouldn't accept other Peppa baju that she has.

kids and their favourite character. You seriously can't keep them apart.

Oh my Alana. I feel sorry for daddy when she turns 15 and wanted that particular Gucci bag and wouldn't accept any other cheaper option.

Haha!


When in winter 2015

I have been meaning to write consistently again in this blog but every time night time falls (these are usually the time I had it quiet with both kiddies are sleeping) all I want to do is just rest in front of the TV with Fairuz and just have a nice relaxation (usually it ended up Fairuz snoring earlier than I did). So I did just that and just forget about writing altogether.

But every now and them I do think about this space. In a long run it could be a space where I could reminisce and cherish my memories just incase I forget every little details that run through my journey of life. And I love looking back and remember them and this space is just perfect. It's not a diary that I have to bring everywhere. It is there despite it being public (because I love sharing) it is anywhere anytime when we have wifi. I love the internet to the point that I could not live without it.

These photos were taken on winter 2015 in our backyard. One of the fence went down due to the windy weather and we are still waiting for our builder to come and repair them. But the snow that came down were very lovely, peaceful, beautiful and it would be such a shame not to take a few pictures as "Momentos". We experience winter every year but this particular winter was very special because the kids are big enough to understand them to enjoy them and to love them like we do. My dad is here all the way from Malaysia just chilling with his grandkids and they were so happy that he is there to play and entertain. I just love watching them.

I wish moments like this are forever.















Our first Ski Lessons, Fort William Scotland



After done playing the waiting game we decided had to have some snow. When Fairuz's best friend Helmi whatsapp him telling him that he is coming to the UK and lets go skiing, we jumped to the opportunity. Wil had wanted to play with snow for the longest time. He keeps on saying he wanted snow. But sadly we weren't getting any despite the forecast telling us we will have a white christmas last year. Poor him.

We choose Fort William Scotland for our ski lessons. Reason being, it is close to home and it probably saved us slightly in the cost department. Although Scotland is closer to home, the journey to Fort William took us almost the whole day. 1st it was an hour and a half journey to Standstead. Then an hour or so in the flight to Glasgow. Then it takes us another 3 hours to drive from Glasgow to Fort William (If there is a place where we can go skiing without having to drive for 3 hours from the airport people then please this momma know). Thank god the kids where in their best behaviour on that day. They were sleeping throughout the 3 hours driving.

The ski lessons was supposed to be held on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather was windy and the gondola that goes up the mountain was closed. So we had to postponed to Monday. Thank god the place was opened on Monday because if it wasn't it will be such a disappointment especially for the kids.

I wasn't able to joined in the whole period of lessons (despite paying! T_T) because Alana was so clingy and there wasn't enough adult to look after the kids. My dad had to go home halfway through and Helmi's helper had to hold on to their baby sleeping most of the time. So I was left with 2 kids and a clingy toddler to watch and feed. What a day. But it turns out it was so much fun watching the 2 kids having their first lesson and Wil was amazing. This is one proud momma obviously.

A few tips & notes to parents (with kids, toddlers & babies) out there who want to go skiing with them to Fort William or someplace else.

1. Check the weather prior to booking.

2. Plan your journey. The shorter the better when you have kids, toddlers and babies

3. If you know nothing about skiing, you have to take lessons unless you wanna wing it. It cost us probably about £41 per adult for just the lessons. Equipment rental costs are separate.

4. We had to pay for the gondola. Prices are their website.

5. Make sure you bring helpers with you to look after the kids while you have your 2 hours lessons.

6. It can be quite cold up in the mountain when the wind hits so some toddler might not enjoy being there. Be prepare to stay indoor all the time.

7. Bring lots of snacks, kids can get hungry (A LOT) in the cold. They have cafes up there but the food are a bit blunt, limited and quite pricey

8. Wear proper waterproof clothes & thermals even if you're there to just enjoy the snow and not going skiing.

9. Forget strollers. Take carriers instead.

10. And don't forget to have fun and take lots of pictures.

Our 1st House


Although it is nothing extra-ordinary about owning a house, I feel like blogging about how my husband and I decided to buy a house in the United Kingdom. Despite us not having our permanent resident yet and how it depletes all of our savings buying this beautiful decent house in the suburb.

It has been almost 9 months since we moved to our first house. It is a double storey detached house that sits nicely between the city and the highway. We are no longer living in the city of London as I type this. We decided that it is best we stayed in the suburb raising our 2 kids. Moreover, Fairuz got a job here that pays the bill at the moment and they pay him quite well considering the recession that hits the O&G industry at the moment.

We waited for 6 months to finally finalise our purchase with this house. Although in theory we could get the keys as early as just a few days. This house was originally a show house. The garage was their office. It’s a new development area and we love the design so much that it was an instant chemistry when we viewed it. But the developer decided that they didn’t want to sell it at that time due to some plan they had with the buying and selling deals.

We didn’t thought we could buy them because with only a single stable income, we don’t quite have the depo really. With our conditions and the strict rules that the UK policies have with giving away loans, we are not even as close to half of the depo. But much to my surprise, Fairuz got hook on searching a financial advisor that could help with the purchase. And soon we found the right mortgage provider. To top it all, it was really meant to be because we got this UK gov scheme where they help with first time homebuyer. It ended up we pay a small amount of depo and the government paid the rest huge chunk of it.


Lo and behold. We could finally say the house is ours. Until today we still have to pinch ourselves (apart from the monthly mortgage repayment..sheesh!) to remind us that. We could not be more grateful for the rezq that was given by Allah s.a.w. Truly if it meant to be it is meant to be. No matter what are your conditions. Who knows, maybe we'll buy another one in London someday. Now that would truly be our dream.