By Debbie Too
Most businesses dream of expanding out of the country of origin into bigger markets with a bigger population.
On top of that it is hard to fathom that a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) can make it out of the country, even on a small scale.
Puan Seri Rohaya owner and founder of Seri Cosmetics from Pahang, Malaysia, is a regular visitor to Brunei and opens a booth at expos and fairs across the country to sell her products.
Puan Seri, as she likes to be called, said her products are growing in popularity among local Bruneian women since she began selling her goods here.
"My business started 11 years ago in Malaysia and about two years ago I decided to try to see if my products would be popular in Brunei," she said.
"I wanted to try selling my products in Brunei because I think it can do well here."
Puan Seri currently has a booth at the Malaysia Brunei Expo, held at the Indoor Stadium in Berakas, and will be in Brunei till the end of the expo on June 3.
One of her best selling products is the Gold Plus Collagen set, which is a skincare regime set valued at $156.90.
Puan Seri said that this was the product that gave her the confidence to start bringing in her other beauty products, which includes Masyar Cafe, a slimming and health coffee mix, and the Bio Beauty Plus, which is a weight loss drink.
"All my products use halal natural ingredients such as herbs and we do not use any chemicals so it is very gentle on the skin," she said. Initially when she first arrived, Puan Seri said that she didn't sell more than 20 boxes of the Gold Plus Collagen.
"I decided to try again and the second time I came, I think through word of mouth, we started selling much more," she said.
In the past two years, sales of her Gold Plus Collagen products have been averaging 300 boxes per expo, she said.
In the first year of venturing into Brunei, Puan Seri began distributing her products to local retailers and sellers, making it a point to visit the country once a month during the payday period.
"When I'm here, my customers get to buy Gold Plus Collagen at only $70, but that's only when I'm here, and this is the same price that I give to the stockists in Brunei," she said.
Each time she lands in Brunei, she is accompanied by one container of her products, and leaves the country without a single box, she said.
An arrangement was also made between her and her distributors where she brings additional stock for them to avoid having to come to the country more than once a month.
Asked what types of products she brought along for this trip, she said that she had about 4,000 boxes of Masyar Cafe, 500 boxes of Bio Beauty Plus and 1,000 boxes of Gold Plus Collagen.
Her business currently carries 20 products under its belt, and manufactures everything from facial soap bars, to skin lotions to food and beverages with cosmetic benefits.