Has been 7 years since Jesrina Arshad was co-founder of the wellness style brand Purely B. with Stephanie Looi. At the moment, it has gone through several iterations, from being an uncontrolled content platform to becoming a market for health and wellness products.
But PurelyB’s first e-commerce attempt soon stalled and the team pulled plug. It is advancing rapidly until 2020 and since then PurelyB has renewed its e-commerce operations while maintaining the quality of educational content.
Today, the site offers both its own products and those of other brands, and is also a social enterprise recognized by Malaysia Center for Innovation and Global Creativity (MaGIC).
2020 was his year
The brand’s first product, PurelyB’s Pegaga, is a blend of herbs and fruits that improves immunity and gut health. Jesrina told Vulcan Post that records of new users nearly tripled during the pandemic and that there was an increase in demand for Pegaga by PurelyB and its welfare content.
What he got was that not only was there a change in people who suddenly cared about their health, but people were also looking for traditional natural solutions.
This proved advantageous for start-up and Pegaga was exhausted by PurelyB during the first week of MCO in March 2020. Although the factories closed during the closures, however, production stopped for a while. indefinite. Still, order queries kept coming out.
Therefore, they told customers that they could pre-order and potentially get their product within 3 months after payment. There was no guarantee, but customers could get a refund if the product did not arrive within that time. To add, they offered a 40% discount and interest-free three-month installments, so the product would be more affordable.
The results of these? PurelyB saw its best sales month. Revenue increased 229% in 2020 from 2019 and the business made a profit.
Partly the contribution to PurelyB’s revenue growth was also the fact that it underwent a corporate restructuring and reduced operating costs. This reduced overall costs by 40%.
“Our 2021 half-yearly revenue has already surpassed twelve-month revenue from 2020, with a 45% month-on-month growth in revenue for the most recent month,” Jesrina added.
Ready to climb, but patient with that
Following the data and trends, PurelyB also saw an opportunity beyond product solutions. They began offering lifestyle packages that integrated their digital health programs with their traditional Asian food products and wellness kits. These lifestyle packages are also tailored to corporate employees and consumers and can be customized accordingly.
It is certain that PurelyB has withstood the pandemic well and may even suffer from success in some way.
There was so much demand that they struggled to keep up in terms of product volume. They would be sold constantly and would have to wait for the preparation of the next batch, as they have not obtained the capital needed to increase production.
“As a result, we are also focused solely on sales of our e-commerce platform and do not yet work with large distributors or business partners until our productive stock can meet their demands,” Jesrina told Vulcan Post. “We recognize that our revenue could have been significantly higher if we didn’t have this problem.”
But he assured us that at least they have installed the infrastructure to climb quickly. Now they just have to focus on securing capital to do so.
Help others along the way
Prior to the social enterprise accreditation, PurelyB was already working with marginalized farmers to harvest their herbs. They went one step further by embarking on a women’s entrepreneurship mission to co-create products with traditional herbalists and healers from the B40 community.
These women were knowledgeable and skilled, but did not know how to market their work. One of these women was Hameedah Hamid or Kak Ida, with whom PurelyB co-created the aforementioned Pegaga of PurelyB.
Thanks to this initiative, Kak Ida gets a steady stream of income through a monthly salary and a share of the profits.
Today the mission has been consolidated into a program of female empowerment agents. It provides training, creates jobs and income opportunities for marginalized communities and single mothers by selling PurelyB products online.
A zero-cost shipping model is used for women and they earn a 20% commission for each sale generated, with bonus quotas.
PurelyB has worked with two non-profit organizations so far, Entrepreneur and Family Wellness Club in Ipoh, to expand its reach in these communities.
Once equipped with the e-commerce and digital marketing skills of the training, beneficiaries can branch out with their own products.
Folding what they do best
Moving forward, PurelyB intends to defend traditional Asian superfoods so that it adapts to modern generations and their lifestyles. In her mission to do so, Jesrina also wants to scale her social impact initiatives, both locally and regionally.
New growth will come with the help of product R&D collaborations, an example being the recent launch of its second signature product, PurelyB’s Tiger Milk Mushroom. Scientists and professors at the University of Malaya were an integral part of their process.
On the horizon is also the expansion of the market in Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East, where PurelyB has gained users organically. Subsequently, localized and multilingual platforms will be created to better serve these markets.
With the help of MaGIC, PurelyB has been connected with the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development (MEDAC) and other government agencies for help in fundraising and market expansion.
Now, as part of her network of social enterprise communities, Jesrina and her team have also had opportunities to raise awareness about their social impact through events such as Buy For Impact.
The space occupied by PurelyB is no longer a niche and, as the pandemic continues, it will not be surprising if more health and wellness companies appear.
But the advantages PurelyB will have over them are their years of data, their experienced team, and their primary mission of doing good, to name a few. Educating the masses about well-being was their first major goal as a new start-up in 2015, and today that value is still maintained in their operations.
Featured Image Credit: Jesrina Arshad, co-founder and CEO of PurelyB