Rina Salleh Clothing is now a household name when it comes to modest fashion, particularly for being a pioneer in the local modest fashion e-commerce scene and being steadfast regardless of the industry’s rapid evolution. Norazrina Mohd Salleh, CEO of RSC Resources Sdn Bhd and Founder of the Rina Salleh Clothing label believes that the essence of success is due to strong customer focus and a systematic approach to business. In this issue, Norazrina speaks on her progressive and inspiring entrepreneurial journey.
If there is one word to describe Norazrina Mohd Salleh’s business approach, it would be simplicity. An endearing entrepreneur and mother of two, Norazrina dislikes complexity and always finds ways to simplify things to make it work more efficiently. “Having a functioning procedure helps make things more efficient. Every activity and inventory is tracked and recorded properly and it also helps the team understand the business direction,” she shares.
Norazrina’s interest in business is heavily influenced by her father, as she spent many years helping him run his business, watching his successes and struggles and learning from his decisions. As she got older, she helped him devise a systematic approach to manage inventory records, a move he initially resisted but as it turns out, pays off well. “My business decisions are made based on what I learned during my days with my father. I did not know how useful it would be but now I am thankful,” says Norazrina.
In fact, her business endeavours started as she pursued her bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying in University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) at Skudai, Johor. “I started small by selling simple hijab and accessories. When there was a demand, I took the opportunity to sell,” shares Norazrina as her face lit up to reveal her enthusiasm in the mechanics of business.
After graduating in 2008, Norazrina continued selling hijabs while working full time as an executive quantity surveyor. Her desire for starting up her own company burned brighter but her idea faced concerns and reluctance by her own father. “He was sceptical but I worked hard to prove to him that I can do it,” she says.
In 2010, Norazrina started Rina Salleh Clothing and added ready-made apparels to her online collection. Back then, investing on an e-commerce website is a huge leap for a start-up due to expensive resources. Norazrina cleverly collaborates with student web developers and photographers to help build her website and showcase her products. In exchange, she offers them free advertising and networking to enable them to build their own businesses.
Two years later, Rina Salleh Clothing opens its first physical boutique in Shah Alam, Selangor to cater to the increasing demand. Norazrina then assembled a team of designers to come up with high quality, elegant and practical modest apparels befitting her customer’s needs and ideas. “We have decided to focus on one segment, which is the 30 years and above demography,” states Norazrina. She believes these customers have higher purchasing power bringing higher margins besides having the highest potential of brand loyalty.
Being focused on this segment relieves the label from trends and industrial pressure thus allowing her team to stay unique and original. “Our customers are very happy as long as we keep our concept. Many of them keep coming back, knowing their ideas are heard and considered,” she adds. Norazrina looks at the long road ahead with positivity and courage.
“Our next move is to venture into international markets. We have seen encouraging responses from the consumers overseas and I think we can do it,” she said, referring to the runway shows in London and Tokyo they participated in 2016. As for her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Norazrina has this to share. “What you are to the industry does not matter but who you are to the customers is most important.”