BASED IN: NEW YORK | FROM: INDONESIA
Melati Bath & Body is the outcome of Leah Adhihusada's quest for a vegan alternative to commercial soap and skincare products. Unhappy to learn the unpleasant truth that many of these products are made with animal fat, Leah embarked on a journey of discovery that led her back to her homeland.
In Jakarta Leah's Grandpa Fa, an industry expert with firsthand experience in soap manufacturing, was her guiding light. With his knowledge, her own painstaking research and the loving support of family and friends, Leah started production. Today, her line includes soaps, body butters, bath bombs, botanic perfumes and sachets. All made in NYC with natural ingredients and without animal byproducts.
In March 2016, Leah took the courageous step of opening a spot in Brooklyn's trendy neighborhood of DUMBO to showcase her full product line. Her eclectic shop is accentuated by uniquely Indonesian products together with other locally made giftware.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
When I was little, I dreamed to be a lot of but I always knew I want to be entrepreneur. I even got in trouble in 3rd grade for selling handcraft items to my friends. My teacher told my mum that school is a place to study not to sell stuffs. My reaction? I “manipulated" my cousin to sell the handcraft items at her school.
Is it important to set goals or is it better to just “go with the flow”? What is your strategy?
It is important to set up short-term goals that support long-term goals and create plans to achieve those goals. However, sometime the environments around our life change. It can be life changing events, technology change, or government policies change. We should be able to adjust our plans and short-time goals very quick so there will be little interruptions to our business and most important to our customers.
Most entrepreneurs say that it’s hard to trust other people with their own business and that delegating is hard to learn. What do you think?
I think it depends on the personality. We have to know what are our strengths and weaknesses. I registered my business, build online store, make all my products, do accounting and tax return by myself. I know my weaknesses are in marketing and sales. I’m gladly delegating them to the experts. It reduces a lot of my stress.
Do you think you want to start other businesses in the future or do you want to keep growing this one as long as possible?
I definitely want to grow my business. However, I will not say no to other opportunities that might come down to my path.
What is one piece of advice you can offer our readers?
Don’t quit your day job especially when you are just planning to start a new business, will be the sole owner and don’t have other sources of income. Because, it might takes few months or years for your business to see profit.