The more transparency there is in the food we eat and the products we put on our skin the faster will be the demand for higher quality and the better off we all will be. Fortunately we have entrepreneurs like Nadya who is creating her own beautiful dynasty out of Indonesia.
What’s your story?
There was a debate among two friends and I about “natural personal care products,” you know, products which are labeled natural, but once you read the ingredients, you’ll be like, “natural? Really?!” Later we found out that there is actually no pharmaceutical regulation in using the word natural, which inspired us to run the business with the true concept of natural. We choose very carefully what should be put into the formulation—based on its benefit to skin, plus the extra rule—100% no harmful chemicals! We call the business Wangsa Jelita, literally means the Beautiful Dynasty.
What excites you most about your industry?
I’m a firm believer that business is an act of service, and apparently Wangsa Jelita’s main beneficiaries are women—whom I very much can relate to. To me personally, it is very exciting (or fulfilling rather) because the more I learn about them (in order to serve them better), the more I learn about myself. I think one of Aristotle’s principles fits this well, that “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” There are so many other things which I’m grateful for but I feel blessed enough just with that one particular advantage.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Bred, born, and raised. Both of my parents come from west Sumatra, I was born in East Borneo, and raised in Java. So far, I’ve spent my whole life in Asia—Indonesia to be precise (except when my family moved to France for a few years when I was a little kid, but I can’t remember a thing so I don’t think that counts). Not to mention, my palates always have deep love for Asian food.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I’ve often heard that Singapore is good, but let me answer from experience: Bandung! Especially for startups, because bootstrappers will find Bandung very convenient (testified!) And also because the sharing environment allows entrepreneurs to learn from each other. The people are just so nice, most Bandung entrepreneurs I know don’t see others as competitions. And it’s a bonus that you can get the balance of a dynamic big city (it is the second largest metropolitan cities in Indonesia) and a beauty of nature surrounding the area (so that you can relax and recharge your mind).
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Being an entrepreneur, I found this one golden, “one of the goals for entrepreneurs should be they want to find a balance between the thing they love doing and all the other things that are important in life” – Nouman Ali Khan. That leads me to the question which I think every one of us should ponder over, “what ARE the important THINGS in life?” I picked this because too often we were told (at least I was told) that one can be a successful entrepreneur ONLY if they have no other life than their work. And I’ve learned that that’s not true.
Who inspires you?
Well, I look up to my mom because of her compassion, and she has instilled in me the ethic that I must do things wholeheartedly. And that balances the lesson I learned from my dad— to stay reasonable in life. Even my nephews have inspired me to stay curious. The list goes on and on and not just limited to people whom I’ve known or met personally. Just like recently I’ve been obsessed in knowing about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He’s inspired me greatly, especially in terms of dealing with people. So simply put, many!
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It seems easy to answer “what is your priority in life?” But when we ask ourselves—where do we spend most of our time, what do we think when we get up, what do we stay up at night worrying about, what makes us cry most—and find that the reality reflects otherwise, then it means we don’t know what our priorities are. And I think that’s problematic, because I believe life balance starts with getting our priorities straight.
The fact that many people actually don’t know (nor really question)—what the real priorities are—just blew me away.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m not sure if I want to change my past like doing things differently, but surely I wish I could have done things faster. Same mistakes, same lessons, just faster pace.
How do you unwind?
Playing with my nephews. Playing a game (I just found a new love for Plant vs. Zombies 2, thanks to my twin nephews). Listening to the podcasts I have in my smartphone. Reading books. And playing with my cat.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I like Bandung, because I lived there for about 9 years and I think it’s good to relax and reminisce. And also Sumatra, mostly because of the food.
This may sound odd to some, but I really like Singapore simply because it’s pedestrian-friendly (regardless its well-known busy lifestyle). I find walking relaxes my mind. Plus, I love Singapore “carrot cake.”
Everyone in business should read this book:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Despite his rather horrible attitude, there are so many things an entrepreneur can learn and take from Steve Jobs’ way in making a dent in the universe. (Just don’t take his tantrum).
Shameless plug for your business:
Ever questioned why there are so many chemically laden personal care products in the market? You feel like you want to give the best to your skin, so then you look for the natural-labeled products, but only to be disappointed when you read the ingredients? Same old same old? Wangsa Jelita exists to solve that exact problem.
How can people connect with you?
Feel free to drop me a note at [email protected]! 🙂
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
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