Lily Wahab, 35, founder of Mirath SW Sdn Bhd that produces MMG, broke into the traditional medicines industry by using her biggest competitive advantage – actually being a consumer. Growing up, she worked as a government servant, taking up her job role as a legal office assistant at Attorney General Chambers Of Malaysia for 9 years. But, in 2018, she quit her job to focus on building her side-business to create a product that would work for women like her.
MMG, made for professional women
During the interview, she revealed her biggest problem. She took a long pause and said: “I had a severe menstrual cramp.” She has been putting on this show since she was young and the condition requires her to constantly depending on ointment to relax the muscle. “Previously, I used a traditional ointment but I don’t like the smell. It has a weird and pungent smell and makes me uncomfortable.”
She then began finding the right solution but sadly, none product in the market fit all the criteria. “There must be other women out there that feel this way, and I kind of became obsessed with that idea of creating something that truly works for women who has the same problem.”
An unexpected surprise
A dear friend of his brother, who is a doctor gave a special formula to him. So, he created an ointment with a modern twist called Marvelous Massage Gel (MMG) according to the formula given. It has a lavendar smell and the water-based property making it convenient to apply without leaving any residue. Later in 2016, she encountered a small accident where it caused bruises on her legs and surprisingly, MMG worked wonder and the bruises subsided instantly. Since the incident, she knew the product has the potential to grow further.
MMG: On the fast lane
Initially, MMG was a family business with a small production house in Kedah handled by her brother. Much to her surprise, the first 500 units sold within a short period. “When women find something that works, they tell somebody. That’s really how we grew,” Lily Wahab says. When she started Mirath SW, she was still a full-time government servant but after the demand increased day by day, she had to make a tough decision – letting go of her stable job to purely focus on the business.
MMG is in a different league – in just a year operation, they managed to hit their first RM1mil sale. From a small cubicle office located in Taman Melawati with just 3 manpower, the company grew instantly and currently owning two factories in Alor Setar and Jitra, Kedah.
Providing job opportunities for the youths
At Mirath SW, most of the employees are fresh graduates. Even though it’s risky to hire youngster due to their skill and knowledge inadequacy, she believes someone needs to do something to tackle the bigger issue in society.
“Apart from hiring fresh graduates, we also give priority to single mother coming from B40 group to work in our factories. They are one of the reasons why I’m very determined to start a business to help them to crawl out of poverty,” emphasising that most of the stockist and agents are housewives.
The road to success
Early 2018 was deemed to be a hectic time for them. “We received a lot of orders which we couldn’t cater to as our factory can only manufacture 1,000 unit maximum daily. With only 10 manpower during that time, how could I pushed them to tripled the operation?”
“I refer to a friend of mine who is an entrepreneur when I had a problem. Her answer is simple yet leaving such a big impact on my life. She said if no one could help you, return to your Creator, ask for His guidance.”
“It taught me a lot and eventually, we expanded the factory, doubled the manpower and production too. I learned that in any situation given, communication is really important,” adding that Mirath SW currently has a total of 3,500 stockists and agents nationwide and the product has expanded to Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and even Abu Dhabi.
The future of Mirath SW
When asked about her plans for the company, Lily Wahab replied, “I have many plans in my head and some are in progress. For instance, we received a lot of demand from Hajj and umrah pilgrims to create a medicinal cream that suits them and we are looking forward to work on it. Besides, we also have a plan to collaborate with confinement centres in supplying the products. Hopefully everything will go smoothly.” she said.
“I constantly tell myself to get up no matter how hard I try to embrace the problem because there’s no time for me to feel down. These employees and their families depend on me”
MMG also has sketched some plans to penetrate in the local retail pharmacy and already registered with the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) to give the green light to sell or market to consumers. “We want to prove that Bumiputera product could beat giant brand too, but we still need time to strengthen our brand,” she ended the interview by explaining that the company’s name has a sentimental value where SW is the initial of her parents’ names, Sariah and Wahab.