KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Malaysian men are usually not as well-groomed as their counterparts in other Asian countries like Japan or Korea. Most of them just dress neatly and sometimes fashionably but do not pay attention to their hair, skincare or scent.
Adrian Cheong, 27, saw that there was a gap in the market for locally-made men’s solid cologne and launched The Apothecary Malaysia last November. The idea for it came about in June but it took him a few months to do R&D and prepare for the product launch.
The communications graduate studied locally and did public relations for his internship but he decided to go into entrepreneurship after working for the e-commerce site, Groupon.
“Most people who work in Groupon go on to do their own thing after leaving the company. I wanted to venture into retail so I did research on solid cologne. At home, I enjoy making things and I even make my own cheese,” said Cheong.
Before starting on The Apothecary Malaysia, he did research online. Cheong also noticed that recently, Malaysians began to have an appreciation for locally-made products.
“Ultimately, my goal is not just to be in Malaysia but to be a global brand. E-commerce is the way to go,” he said. Although his solid cologne is sold in Malaysia, there are plans to sell in Taiwan and Singapore too. His local stockists include Pestle & Mortar, Major Drop, The Yard Backdoor Dry Goods Supply, Amplitude Barbershop, The Off Day @ Markas and Gent Utopia in Johor.
“I saw this as an opportunity. Malaysian men generally can’t differentiate between cologne and deodorant. I believe that grooming differentiates men from boys. For male grooming, the year-on-year sales is increasing whereas for women’s cosmetics it has always been high,” said Cheong.
The pocket-sized solid cologne comes in three scents: Cornerstone, Hotshot and Maverick. Cornerstone has a likeable scent, a familiar smell that is common among colognes while Hotshot has a fresh scent. Maverick is stronger and musky which is more masculine in nature.
Cheong used to travel with a bottle of cologne but he had a bad experience where the cologne spilled on his clothes in the bag. Because of that, he decided to make a solid cologne where convenience is the key. The size is also small which fits nicely into pockets.
“Next month, I will look into making a female solid perfume. Now, I just want to focus on one area first,” he said. People get to know about the solid cologne through Facebook and Instagram. In a day, Cheong can make more than 100 units of solid cologne. He sources the ingredients locally.
“My brand is focused on how men should carry themselves. My inspiration for the different scents each have a story. For Cornerstone, it means the first rock in which a foundation is built so it’s about leadership and it is a scent people really like. Hotshot is a fresh scent while Maverick is different, for a person who doesn’t want to follow rules,” explained Cheong.
Priced at RM59.90 each, the solid cologne is affordable and can last up to a year. If you buy a set of three, it is bundled for RM161.70. The solid cologne is available online and through the stockists.
The Apothecary Malaysia also accepts international orders and people from Australia, US and India have ordered the scents.
“The Apothecary Malaysia is about the spirit of apothecary. I wanted to create something new and understand what people want,” said Cheong.
Visit www.theapothecarymalaysia.com for more information.