Interview with Ian Ng, Ceo & Founder of Koyara.com which is Malaysia #1 online health store.
Ian Ng, Tell us about yourself ?
I’m a massive tech geek with a vision to disturb and shake the tech industry in any shape or form. I was born and raised in Malaysia, educated in Australia since I was 16, and eventually furthered my studies in Accounting/Finance in UNSW. Finally, after 7 years, I came back home and started working as a Digital Marketer which led me to build a small Digital Marketing team. In that time, I have attempted to start two other startups which, unfortunately, failed to kick off. Koyara is my “third-time’s-the-charm” moment, being my third and only successful startup to launch.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Koyara was originally a store focused only on Natural Personal Care products, started by my (now ex) Co-Founder. I partnered with her by chance as she was looking for a technical Co-Founder. Now, my idea and concept for Koyara has transformed from just targeting Natural Personal Care to accommodating all things Health related.
What’s your company’s goals?
While there are many like us out there inside/outside Malaysia, Koyara’s goal in disrupting the industry lies not only in providing the best range of Health Products in a particular category but to also provide people categorized solutions based on a certain Health Issue. For example, customers can come to Koyara without first knowing what specific products they are looking for to treat Eczema. They can enter our site and select “Health Issues > Eczema” and have a list of recommended products at their disposal. This helps cut their research time and receive the solutions they want immediately.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
Koyara started off with SEO and SEM marketing due to my expertise in digital marketing. However, this year, we are looking to participate in more on-ground campaigns as well as partnerships with other organizations in the health space.
How do you advertise your business?
We advertise mainly via paid digital advertising that is – Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
What made you choose this type of business?
Health is not only an extremely scalable industry but it is a topic that’s been booming in Malaysia. Everyone is becoming more and more educated about the food they eat and the products they use, choosing to opt for more organic or natural options. We want to be the ones responsible for helping people gain an easier access to the health products they want as well as helping them solve the health issues they have via a more convenient shopping experience: e-commerce.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Never limit yourself to just one philosophy of thinking. There’s never just one way of doing things; so, explore! Explore what others are doing and explore what made them succeed. Always be curious by reading a lot, talking to other entrepreneurs, and ask them what gets them out of bed in the morning. Be inquisitive and learn from the failures of others. But most of all, always listen and observe. Listening is most important when you’re trying to learn.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Customers prefer us at Koyara because they know that we’re trying to help them solve their health issue, not just sell them a product. We have a live chat which offers very personalized service to our customers to identify how we can help them solve their health issues. We are still actively growing, so we can’t solve all issues yet, but we’re working on it!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I had the chance to hire some very talented people at the start – but always felt that as a startup I should be doing everything myself. It came to a point where growth was stagnant and I realized how true the statement “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together” is. I would have definitely focused on building a team at the start.
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