Starting out knowing nothing about her industry, her business is now the #1 online beauty directory! Agnes Chanrai is going from strength to strength with zalonku.com
What’s your story?
I knew nothing about building a website, beauty or running a business and took the plunge to start zalonku.com, an online platform to connect beauty services in Jakarta. Now, Zalonku.com is the #1 beauty directory for women to discover salons, nail shops and other amazing beauty services.
What excites you most about your industry?
The beauty industry is a huge market that is constantly evolving. There will always be a softer hair perm, cooler nail art, fancier eyelash extensions or more natural techniques for eyebrow embroidery and I get to try them all!
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born in Hong Kong with living experiences in Singapore, Texas and San Francisco. I now reside in Jakarta with my husband. I love connecting with different parts of Asia through my proficiency in Cantonese, Mandarin and Bahasa (Indonesian).
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Singapore. I had to help set up both my husband’s and my business in Singapore and Jakarta, and Singapore’s processes to establish a company were so seamless and transparent. Everything was done online and we were able to constantly check on the approval status with just a few clicks. For Indonesia, the process took much longer (2 to 3 months more) and it’s probably best if you get someone else to do it for you.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If the plan doesn’t work, adjust the plan, not the goal.
Who inspires you?
Other successful entrepreneurs. They help me think smarter.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Head & Shoulders is the most sold shampoo brand in the world. This shampoo sells around 110 bottles per minute or 29 million bottles per year.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Starting a company on your own requires making decisions with limited information and often it’s difficult to predict the potential outcome. I made a mistake partnering up with a web developer without doing my homework. Looking back, I wished I didn’t rush into it because choosing the right partner can make or break you. I could have used those 7 wasted months to really grow my brand.
How do you unwind?
Foot massages. Modern Family. Wine. All at the same time!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. I grew up visiting Bali for holidays with friends and family. Going back always brings back great memories, especially when I hear the Gamelan.
Everyone in business should read this book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s old school but it’s about understanding human behavior that I personally think will never be outdated.
Shameless plug for your business:
Zalonku.com is the #1 go-to-guide to discover great hair stylists, manicurists and beauticians for our beauty needs in Jakarta. We are ranked first page on Google search for all beauty categories. We also bring the best and latest beauty deals in Jakarta every month.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>