Two years ago, Michael Cheow had a plan to step down as the CEO of hair salon business C. Michael London. But there was unfinished business as his only candidate was pursuing studies abroad.
When I ask him when the time will come, he replied with a proud beam: “My daughter will take over, eventually.”
Andrea Cheow, the only daughter of the hairstylist, is going to be next in line – to carry on the company vision and bring it to an international level.
“I have been working with my father since I was 15. In between my studies, I was doing work for the salon and doing multiple projects and dissertation on this whole business,” said the University of Greenwich student, who graduated in business and marketing.
When Andrea moved to London in 2014 for her studies, she took care of C.Michael’s social media remotely from there. Last year, she returned to Kuala Lumpur to involve herself in the family business.
“It has been one year since I’ve been working in Malaysia. I was the Marketing and Operation Executive and then promoted to Marketing Manager for the salon,” said Andrea.
“My main focus is on content creation, which includes ads for the company’s social media account,” added the 25-year-old.
C. Michael London is a consumer-based hair and skincare company in Kuala Lumpur that was created by Michael four decades ago.
Now he believes it’s time for him to make way for his young employees, for them to bring something fresh and different to the table.
“I have been in the business for so many years, and I think it’s time that I take a step back and give the youngsters their turn to shine,” said Michael.
“They have a lot of ideas, are social media savvy and know what is happening. They also keep track of all the trends. For me to keep telling them what to do, it will eventually backfire on me because they don’t understand my style of working and vice versa.
“So, we might as well step back and put them at the forefront and let them get on with it. If we don’t give them an opportunity, they can’t learn the skills,” added Michael.
“I will still be here to give them advice regarding the business, even though I won’t be that much involved anymore, especially in hairstyling,” explained the Vietnamese-Chinese Malaysian, born and raised in Ipoh.
Hairdressing has been in his soul since he graduated from the Robert Fielding School of Hairdressing in Britain in 1976.
Slowly but steadily, he worked his way up to become a junior stylist at Princess Arcade, Piccadilly, eventually owning three salons in London.
After selling all of his salons, Michael moved back to Malaysia, bringing all of his hair styling expertise with him.
As Michael is a firm believer in science and the use of natural ingredients, he ventured into state-of-the-art R&D laboratory and a production facility, making his brand different than other salons.
“There are a lot of salons selling other people’s hair care products. C. Michael is different because we manufacture our products and provide a platform for them,” explained Andrea.
“We have three to five pillars that segregate us from other salons. We do everything in-house – our marketing, styling, branding and others,” added Andrea.
They have created a range of products using the best of both worlds: a line of high-performance professional haircare products based on the revolutionary Phytocelltect Malus Domestica and natural ingredients that are free of harmful chemicals as well as Halal certified.
These and other personal care products from C. Michael are distributed in Malaysia and other countries through department stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, hypermarkets and their online retail website, www.cmichael.co.uk.
The company has had good exposure in the Asian market, and it’s time for them to take C.Michael to the next level, mainly the European market. “Since Andrea is going to be based in London, we are making our way back there. There are no certainties but by the end of this year, we should have clearer directions,” concluded Michael.