CEO Series

All These UTAR Grads Do Is Sell Indonesian Nuts, Yet They Already Make 6 Figures A Month

  • Zomel Marketing is a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) distributorship founded in 2017 by 26 year-old Yeoh Ching Ee and his friend Bernard Seow.
  • They currently own the distributorship rights for Dua Kelinci, an Indonesian brand of nut products, and market them throughout the whole of Malaysia.

For Zomel Marketing co-founder Yeoh Ching Ee, it was never a question of if, but when he would become an entrepreneur. Following the path of the inquisitive young businessperson, 26-year-old Ching Ee always had a curious inkling for the concept of buying and selling.

Having completed his major in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Ching Ee immediately went into trading, using up all of his savings to buy snackfoods and sell them in a rented van.

“Profits were pretty good at first, but I knew I needed more experience in the context of marketing and sales, so I decided to enter the corporate life for a few years.”

Towards the end of 2017, Ching Ee decided again to try the path of entrepreneurship, this time partnering with his close friend from UTAR Bernard Seow to market and sell famous Indonesian peanut brand Dua Kelinci in Malaysia.

Ching Ee (far right) with Bernard (far left) have known each other since their time at UTAR.

“It was in Bali with my wife when I first tried out Dua Kelinci products,” he said. “I fell in love right away and I knew instantly that this was something Malaysians would love to have.”

It was all a simple and straightforward process, with Ching Ee and Bernard meeting with representatives from Dua Kelinci multiple times in Indonesia and Malaysia to discuss a distributorship deal to market the product in Malaysia.

“After countless meetings, we got the distributorship for Dua Kelinci’s shell-less nut range in 2017,” Ching Ee said. “Bernard and I were excited and thrilled as Dua Kelinci was a very big name in Indonesia, and to be honest, we didn’t expect them to love our proposal and have the trust in us to build their Malaysian market.”

Fast-Moving Growth

So basing the name of their company on a play on the Malay word comel, Ching Ee and Bernard created Zomel Marketing and entered head first into an FMCG industry they understood to be brutally fast-paced. This didn’t scare them however.

“I’ve always loved how the FMCG industry works, it being very challenging and fast paced,” Ching Ee said. “Building a new brand is a whole new challenge which I was very passionate about—needing to know the current trends and how you needed to position yourself in the market really excited me.”

“Bryan Loo’s entrepreneurial spirit made a big impact on me, and seeing a Malaysian become successful in the International eye is something we all should be proud of.”

Ching Ee and Bernard now run Zomel Marketing alongside team that makes up 10, with their warehouse located in Nibong Tebal, Penang. The products sold include oven-baked nuts, broad beans, peas, and mixed varieties, with prices made affordable (packs start at RM 0.50 and go up until RM 6.70).

And while their distributorship already earns six-figures in sales each month on average, Ching Ee doesn’t think this to be that big of a deal.

“In the FMCG market, six-figure sales are considered small and is really nothing much, to be honest,” he said. “What matters more is whether or not our end consumers will continue to support the brand in the long run—without them, we are nothing.”

Here, Ching Ee acknowledges the unforgiving nature of the FMCG space in Malaysia, and wants to strengthen the Dua Kelinci presence locally by simply raising awareness among everyday consumers.

The Zomel team conducting marketing and sampling activities to increase product visibility.

“One challenge is building a new brand in a very competitive market and competing with the giant local brands that have long been in Malaysia,” Ching Ee said. “And because we’re new, people tend to have second thoughts about us.”

In order to keep growing, the focus now is to work around a limited budget in hiring promoters, doing sampling activities, and just simply adapting their marketing strategies to appeal to the local crowd. In the near future, Zomel hope to bring in even more varieties from the Dua Kelinci brand to grow their product range.

Resilience Is Key

Although having spent only a short while in the business, Ching Ee has already learned plenty and has some advice to spare for others looking to make it in entrepreneurship, especially the importance of being persistent.

“My principle is this: never give up and keep hustling!” Ching Ee exclaimed. “Be confident in your vision—there was once a business owner that rejected me nine times before he finally decided to sell our products on the tenth try.”

“Imagine if I’d given up before my tenth attempt—I’d have lost the business opportunity.”

Similarly, he also encouraged others to remain fit physically and mentally in order to cope with the rigours of being an entrepreneur.

“Be ready to sacrifice your time and energy,” he said. “Trust me, it’s worth the sweat shed when you taste even a little bit of success.”

  • You can find out more about Dua Kelinci products in Malaysia here.

Feature Image Credit: Zomel Marketing/Dua Kelinci

 

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.