Malaysia has finally jumped on the vegan bandwagon to present a local pioneer of vegan makeup, Velvet Vanity, led and launched by founder Adlina Nadhirah in 2016.
24-years-old, Adlina was spurred to create her own vegan brand when she realised the vegan movement was expanding overseas, especially in the United States. A quick research confirmed that there as a lack of vegan makeup brands here in Malaysia.
Wanting to embody the same principles here, she decided to start her own company with two core principles—vegan and cruelty-free.
“My father joined as the Chairman of the company. I also had the support of my friends and family to help me promote Velvet Vanity, pack orders when we launched, and be one of the models for our first campaign.”
She made sure to avoid animal-testing and using harmful chemicals in her products. As a substitute, she opts for natural ingredients like Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
“Not only is it better for us to use, it’s what gives our lipsticks their signature weightless feel.”
As creative director, she comes up with the colours on her own. The production process usually involves mixing the right shade, filling and bottling, and batching the lipsticks in their cases.
They already have several collections in their inventory to boot: Stuck in the 90s, Princess of China, Monochrome Madness and Break The Internet.
Each of them possess a unique tone and colour to match the vibe they portray.
The Princess of China collection leans towards two stark colours; a pale rosey peach and strong terracotta orange. Named Peach Perfect and Smash Hit, both of these shades are fan-favorites.
Their latest collection called Break The Internet aims for the edgy, youthful persona that has taken the Instagram trend by storm with its bold outlook and over-the-top nature. It consists of the shades Legit (a plum-mauve) and Shook (a deep berry).
In addition to that, they sell their collections in bundles which costs from RM99 per bundle. Other packages may include two bundles in one, or individual lipstick shades packaged together.
The capital was less than RM100k and was sourced from her own savings with her family’s support. Although she was from an architecture background, they did not oppose her leaving it behind to pursue her cosmetics business full-time.
They make around RM20k in sales per month and have delivered over 10,000 orders since launch.
“One of the biggest milestones for me was going international and having our lipsticks stocked in Tangs Vivocity in Singapore and having stockists in Indonesia as well,” Adlina said.
“Besides that, getting our products on Zalora was also a big achievement for me, as well as being featured in local media outlets like The Sun, Marie Claire, ELLE, BFM Radio, and Astro Awani.”
They’re also available in Shopat22 in Bangsar.
Apart from makeup, she also takes care to avoid skincare brands that use high amount of chemicals and animal testing. Her go-to skincare brand is LUSH, which uses natural and harm-free ingredients.
“In terms of obstacles, I usually go through many different stages and tests in order to get the right lipstick shade. I have to come up with colours that not only I like, but that will also work across a whole range of skin tones as well.”
When asked about the response of Malaysians to vegan makeup, she responded that it was well-received as customers nowadays have a higher understanding of products in the beauty industry.
“I think there’s been a huge growth over the years. Previous generations have been very into luxury makeup such as Chanel, YSL, Bobbi Brown that clearly test their products on animals.”
“However, nowadays people have healthier options due to the presence of cruelty-free makeup brands such as Urban Decay, Becca Cosmetics and local brands as well.”
She hinted that there will be more surprises coming to the store soon—blushers and highlighters were among them.
“When we started, we were one of the first independent local liquid lipstick brands, so we managed to gain quite an audience from there. However, I see other vegan makeup brands as healthy competitors. It is fun to see our local beauty scene growing!”
Feature Image Credit: Velvet Vanity