Omorose gains attention in world market
Najihah S 
Omorose counters are built to create space for those on wheelchair
Organic and eco-friendly products are fast catching on among consumers here and many businesses are already moving towards this direction.

For Omorose Marketing Sdn Bhd, it is doing more than just offering environmentally friendly products. It is also doing its part for the community by providing employment opportunities.

Liau’s background in film make-up and cosmetic manufacturing led him to produce his own line of cosmetics

The company is founded by Sabahan Terry Liau, who was trained as a prosthetic make-up artist.

“I did a lot of sculpting and moulding for movie characters. I went on to be involved in cosmetic manufacturing and I was attached to a British company.

“That’s when I learned the process to build cosmetic products, from conceptualising to testing, labelling and marketing,” he says.

Omorose offers organic cosmetics, which are now well received internationally due to the content and packaging which incorporates Braille.

“It was in 2013 when I came back from the US that I decided I should start something on my own. I was looking for a job in the movie industry, but it didn’t materialise,” says Liau.

“I spent 18 months creating the line and we launched in 2014, selling the products online. I had limited financial support, but over the years I have been approached by a few investors.”

Liau invested about half a million ringgit to produce his first range of products. The company produces about 10,000 units per item for five lip balms.

Omorose initially offered only five products: sunscreen BB cream, glitter, loose powder, blusher and lip balm. The products are sold for between RM40 and RM150 each.

Recently, Omorose products were selected for the Cannes Film Festival and Golden Globe Awards due to their illustration as well as the Braille packaging.

Strategising production capacity

The lead time to manufacture a cosmetic product is about six months. This involves the work in the factory, laboratory, packaging and shipping.

The products are made in a factory in Beitou, Taiwan and sent to a packaging plant which is also in Taiwan before being shipped to Malaysia.

Cost is the main factor for manufacturing and packaging the products in Taiwan. “I would like to do everything in Malaysia, but when I did the calculations, it turned out that doing it in Taiwan is still cheaper because we do it in large amounts.

“I had established a good relationship with some factories in Taiwan due to my previous experience,” Liau says.

He says formulation takes up the most of the production cost, followed by packaging as it needs to complement the rest of the product.

“There is always some sort of problem with the manufacturing. (That is) Because one factory does not do all of the products. They take one or two items from another factory. There is an estimated shipping time, but hiccups are expected to happen,” he explains.

Omorose now has a warehouse in Jalan Chan Sow Lin and an administration office in Cheras, both in Kuala Lumpur. Liau travels to Taiwan regularly to supervise the manufacturing of the products.

Liau says the most economical way to promote a cosmetic brand is to do road shows and through the online platform.

In terms of sales target, Liau says he sits down with his team to set a target at the beginning of the year.

Liau’s background in film make-up and cosmetic manufacturing led him to produce his own line of cosmetics 

On-ground promotion works

He adds that it works better when there are sales staff at its outlets.

“People are confident when they see someone at the counter so they can inquire about the products. We are not well established, so we need a representative to promote the products.

“The same month we launched the product, we took part in a beauty expo and the response was great. That was when a Tangs (department store) buyer asked us to be part of the retail chain. But we weren’t ready.

“We started our retail counter at Parkson in Maju Junction but the traffic wasn’t very good. Then Parkson offered us another counter in Sunway Pyramid. Now we are at four Parkson outlets – Pavilion, Sunway Pyramid, Sunway Velocity and Mytown. The investment to refurbish each counter amounted to RM50,000,” Liau says.

Early last year, Omorose began its retail agreement with Tangs. Liau points out that being in a department store, a brand is forced to compete with bigger brands. There are months when sales exceed the monthly target and some months where it is very quiet.

The products are also available in selected M Plus pharmacies.

“We are trying to rent stand-alone kiosks at shopping malls. Department stores would require customers to walk in and look for the brand, but for the kiosk, it is easier to find us.

“We are trying to come up with two to three new products every year. We started seeing some revenue after a year and we broke even after two-and-a-half years. We are seeing a 20% growth,” he adds.

Employing the disabled

In an effort to be an ethical cosmetic company, Omorose Marketing Sdn Bhd believes in giving equal job opportunities even to the disabled. It has 12 staff, six of whom are disabled and work from home.

“It’s about inclusiveness. We would like to see more companies give employment opportunities to the disabled. The work they produce is of high quality. And we plan to hire more,” says Liau.

Proud that his employees are contributing to the growth of the company, Liau says the staff he hires are all experts in their own right. 

“We have staff from the disabled community and they work well in areas like design and copywriting. We hired a copywriter who is blind and our packaging is also equipped with Braille. 

“The people who pack our items are also from the disabled community. The design on our package is done by an artist who was born without limbs. As for our IT expert, he suffers from muscular deficiency. Even our counters are designed such that people on wheelchair can try out the make-up with ease,” Liau adds. 

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 245.