But dig a little deeper and you’ll realise that Oupus is coming into the Malaysian market with a different slant in its business model altogether.
Its main product is a Bambangan seed-infused therapy oil called Bosom Oil. The product was created to inspire and encourage women in taking care of their breast health by incorporating breast massages into their daily routines.
Today, the social enterprise is also enabling B40 to earn an income by dropshipping the brand’s products. Here’s how its journey began.
Triggered by a loss
In 2020, Vellarry Maydelina Yong, a biotech graduate from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) with a diploma in nutritional therapy, witnessed the passing of a family member. It was due to a late diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.
The onset of the pandemic also affected her financially, leading Vellarry to turn her hobby of making handcrafted skincare into a business.
“I decided to leverage Borneo ingredients and come out with a product that improves lymphatic circulation, as well as promotes breast health awareness among women,” Vellarry told Vulcan Post, adding that the product was developed with researchers at UMS.
This product materialised as the brand’s Bosom Oil, meant to aid in the massaging of breasts to promote lymphatic circulation.
Otherwise known as lymphatic drainage, this form of massage can help clean out the lymph nodes inside the breasts and even identify unusual lumps that may or may not be cancerous.
But what makes Oupus’s Bosom Oil with Bambangan seed a supposedly better choice than your regular off-the-shelf massage oil?
“Bambangan seed came into the picture as the main ingredient because it is unique to Borneo, high in anti-inflammatory properties with numerous scientific papers published about this fruit,” Vellarry explained.
“One of them is a scientific paper conducted by a Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) researcher, who cited that the Bambangan seed is able to kill breast cancer [cells] based on an in-vitro experience.”
Other ingredients in the Bosom Oil include healing plants like calendula, vanilla bean, and wild violet flowers.
Working with women to help women
Amidst Vellarry’s research to found Oupus, she learnt that breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death amongst Malaysian women. Yet, breast cancer is curable if detected early.
“Greater awareness should be done to educate women about the importance of practising breast care to identify any unusual changes to the breast and seek immediate medical attention,” she emphasised.
Launching Oupus in 2020, Vellarry began promoting breast care while selling her product on social media.
As Oupus’s product benefits gained attention, several women began approaching Vellarry, asking if they could become online resellers for Oupus to earn a side income during the pandemic.
The brand ultimately engaged them as resellers, with Oupus recruiting about 25 women from the B40 community as of today.
Boosting the livelihood of women and their families
When you Google bosom oil or breast massage oils, the results usually point to enquiries about whether they can firm up one’s breasts, or increase breast size.
From this, it appears that breast-related oils are usually used for aesthetic purposes. On the other hand, Oupus’ product is positioning itself within the field of health.
Aside from being used to promote lymphatic circulation in breasts by encouraging massages, the Bosom Oil’s healing properties can also be utilised for other parts of the body, such as near the joints or on facial blemishes.
According to Oupus, the product can be used to alleviate symptoms of gout, arthritis, bruises, and more.
Sold on Shopee, Oupus’s Bosom Oil cost RM28 for 15ml and RM55 for 30ml. 15% of all products’ profits are channelled into conducting nutrition workshops for breast cancer fighters to educate them on nutrition and treatment outcomes.
Based on Oupus’s efforts, the business has been named one of the winners of 2021’s Sabah Shell LiveWIRE programme.
Moving forward, Oupus is optimistic about expanding the brand to other states in Malaysia. For now though, the company’s focus is on developing a wider range of products that feature natural ingredients from Borneo’s resources.
Featured Image Credit: Vellarry Maydelina Yong, CEO and founder of Oupus Organics