M’sian Startup Selling Deodorant Creams For Body Odour
Author’s Blurb: I started using deodorants when I was in high school and first tried Rexona’s deodorant spray. It didn’t really work well for me because I realized I still smelled a little bit every time I sweat, but I thought I was the only one. It was in less than a year that I switched to a salt stone deodorant that it was no longer a problem.
Syaiful Afzal shared a similar experience with commercial deodorants.
Previously an engineer in a manufacturing company, his job required him to be physically active.
Although her workplace was air conditioned, Syaiful and her colleagues in the office still had a body odor whenever they sweated.
So, Syaiful decided to take matters into their own hands and came up with a DIY deodorant cream for himself.
“I looked for ingredients that are good for the skin, antibacterial, etc. I ended up buying a bunch of different oils and ingredients, mixed them up and tried them out for myself until I got a rough idea of what actually kept me stinking when I sweat, ”said Syaiful.
When he started tinkering with his own deodorants, they just came in the form of crude oil and grains that he would have to mix well before applying it on himself.
“I started using it regularly just for myself and my wife noticed the positive result. She thought my “potion” was amazing.
Share the potion with friends
Realizing the effectiveness of her homemade deodorant, Syaiful approached her close colleague who is now her business partner, Saifullah, to launch Veri Natural in 2016.
“Our goal was to solve one thing, namely BO.”
During their R&D, they distributed a bunch of free samples to mainly active people such as gym goers, yogis, and young people.
In the process, they came up with hundreds of prototypes until they finally found the one they use today for all of their products.
The current formula is the one they found that has the best texture, which is a far cry from mixing oil and grains for a deodorant.
Until today, they still keep the same formulation they found 4 years ago in their products.
New in Malaysia, old in the world
Although Veri Natural is one of the pioneers in the commercialization of deodorant creams, this concept was actually introduced over a century ago.
The first commercial deodorant, known as MUM, was introduced in 1888 by an unknown American inventor in Philadelphia.
It was sold as a wax-like cream using mildly antibacterial zinc oxide in a small jar, much like other deodorant creams today.
As of now, Veri Natural has only one product line, which is their deodorant creams.
They come in five different scents, the most popular being their Lemon Tea Tree Deodorant Cream.
The 5 products are priced at:
- 49.90 RM for a single deodorant (30 ml)
- 89.82 RM for a duo pack
- 119.76 RM for a trio pack
Each pack of deodorant can last about 2-3 months.
Their direct competitor, Hello Natural Co., started around the same time with deodorant creams as their first products.
However, Hello Natural has introduced other product lines such as skin care and hair products into its brand.
Recently, they also launched a durian-scented deodorant cream that could be seen as a marketing tactic both in terms of ridicule and for that local touch.
While this is a common strategy for brands to remain relevant in competition, Syaiful and Saifullah believe in other strategies to stay competitive.
Focus on excellent customer service
Having lived in Japan for 4 years, Syaiful’s most memorable experience has been her top notch customer service on a daily basis with anything and everything.
“Satisfying customer service is something that is complementary in our country, but in Japan it is a must. I want this to start in Malaysia too, ”said Syaiful.
Therefore, their priority now is to slowly build a strong local customer base before introducing Veri Natural to the international market.
Apart from that, Syaiful believes in maintaining the reputation and effectiveness of its flagship product.
They haven’t introduced any new products to the market as they focus on improving the efficiency of their operations.
“If you keep introducing new products with the goal of launching new products, it won’t always improve your income.”
“You will be too busy managing more inventory without addressing important issues like proper marketing planning,” he said.
The pros and cons of boot life
At first, Syaiful and Saifullah spent RM100 each month each to stock their raw materials and invest in some marketing.
“We barely had enough sales and never touched the money we made,” recalls Syaiful.
“We kept everything to produce and sell more, all on a small scale but growing, albeit slowly.”
After Syaiful took the leap and started running Veri Natural full time, his share of Veri Natural’s earnings was 70% less than the pay he received as an engineer for a time.
It was not an easy sacrifice, but it was a sacrifice he had to make to make Veri Natural what it is today.
Veri Natural has been an online store since its inception, and they still plan to keep it that way.
Staying online gives Syaiful and Saifullah and their employees more flexibility and helps them save on transportation and rental costs.
In addition to launching into the international market, they also plan to prioritize the respect of the environment of their packaging.
“We know this doesn’t particularly sound like an income-generating project. In fact, our cost will increase. But we think this project is a bigger mission at the moment.
“It is part of our responsibility.”
Conclusion: The cost of deodorant creams and salt stones is significantly higher than that of roller sticks or aerosols. However, finding a deodorant that works for you is really like hitting the jackpot, and I speak from experience.
- You can read more about Veri Natural here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Syaiful Afzal, Founder of Veri Natural
Our sincere thanks to