Elegant House Brunei Stands Out Amid Competitive Market
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Aysha Ismail started her entrepreneurial journey when she was still pursuing her degree in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
At the young age of 28, she has been running her business, Elegant House Brunei, for more than eight years now.
It was on one of her routine trips to Thailand during her semester breaks that her uncle encouraged her to start buying clothes in bulk and selling them in Brunei.
Despite not having an interest in business, she always wanted to earn her own money and didn’t want to depend financially on her parents.
“I saw that fashion was big in Thailand and I started buying pieces that I liked and thought would sell in Brunei. I started off with a capital of less than $500 and made use of Instagram and Facebook to market (them),” she says.
She started selling modest clothing in 2008 but sales started to pick up in 2010. She was able to bring in items in bulk and in one month, she would make more than $6,000.
In 2012, Aysha had to put the business on the back burner as she got pregnant shortly after getting married and took the time out to focus on her health and also to devote her time to the baby.
Being out of the business for two years, Aysha had to start from scratch when she decided to operate the business again in 2014.
“It was really tough to start again especially because there were so many competitors in the market, especially online sellers. But I was even more motivated because the focus was no longer on making money for myself, it was also for my family,” she says.
Having graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in geography, her family urged her to get a job with the government as this was a more stable source of income.
This served as her motivation to prove to them that she could be a success without having to work for anyone.
As the competition got tougher, Aysha joined in every exhibition she could in order to gain exposure and in 2014, she was able to establish a physical boutique in partnership with Zasyah Boutique at The Mall in Gadong.
In August of this year, she opened up her own boutique in the newly refurbished Terminal One in Centrepoint, Gadong and finally employed someone to help her after doing everything on her own since 2008.
“I plan on coming out with my own collection by next year and on further developing the boutique. My focus is on making it more visible in the local market,” she said.
The Brunei Times