Forest’ Secret Set To Penetrate Overseas Market

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 (Bernama) — Forest’Secret, a wellness and
beauty brand that specialises in innovative herbal solutions is set to
penetrate overseas markets particularly in Europe, the Middle East and
North Africa.

Forest’Secret Sdn Bhd is the owner and brandbuilder of the forest’secret brand – a premium herbal-based products brand.

It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia International
Franchise Sdn Bhd (MyFranchise), the franchise investment holding
company and brandbuilder of Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS), which in
turn is an agency under the wings of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and
Cooperative Development (MeCD).

MyFranchise invests in brands and builds new brands as well as develop the brands and products for the international market.

Its chief executive officer, Shahrul Azlan Zulkifli, said the
company expected to open up outlets in London and Jeddah this year.

“London will be a good launchpad for entry into Europe and Jeddah
will be our gateway into the halal Middle East and North Africa market.

“We are intensifying efforts to get all the necessary approvals
and certification for market entry as well as concluding our market
study of both markets,” he told Bernama recently.

Shahrul Azlan said Egypt would be the next target destination as
it was a market of more than sixty million people with large cities and
modern lifestyle suitable for a premium halal brand in beauty and

However, he said the market in Saudi Arabia was equally large,
with many large cities and even new cities under construction, which
“will keep us busy for many years.”

He said the idea now was to find a Master Franchisee that would acquire the rights and manage the franchise in Saudi Arabia.

“We have always positioned Forest’Secret as a premium brand and
priced our products for the middle class and upper class market,” he

In an economic slowdown, he said mid-range brands suffered the
most because the middle class would either downgrade to a mass brand or
those with more money would go for the premium brands which become more
affordable now with the slight decrease in their prices.

Shahrul Azlan also said the company does not see a meltdown in
consumer demand, just cautious spending due to various uncertainties.

On competition in the industry, he said the company did not
compete with local brands. “We always push ourselves against
international brands like L’Occitane and Crabtree & Evelynn as well
as regional ones like Hahn & Thann from Thailand.

“When we started, we benchmarked ourselves against Body Shop.”

He said only within two years since it started, there were already
many suitors and parties interested in investing or acquiring equity in
the company.

“Some funds from Dubai have expressed interest as they expand their portfolio into retail brands like ours,” he said.

Shahrul Azlan said the brand Malaysia has always been well perceived and highly regarded in the Middle East market.

“Our government has done a lot to position Malaysia as a dynamic
brand, modern and of high quality, making it easier to break into the
respective markets.

“And Forest’Secret as a brand will not fail the government’s
effort and will not fail the dreams of many small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) in our supply chain,” he said.

He said the Forest’Secret brand could also grow to be worth more
than RM50 million by the end of 2010 as the company expands the brand
to other business sectors such as hospitality and apparels.

Forest’Secret products are retailed via shops and herbalcarts at major shopping malls around the country.

The company, which opened its first shop at the Curve in Petaling
Jaya in April 2007, presently has four shops and five herbalcarts in
major shopping complexes in the country including in the city, Johor
Bahru and Melaka.

Its branch at Sunway Pyramid, which re-opened in December last year, has been also enlarged to offer spa services.

Locally this year, the company also expects to open eight more
outlets namely in Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Kinabalu.

“We will also launch our direct selling plan as a means of
expanding the products throughout the country, heighten awareness and
create new market opportunities ahead of opening our outlets there.

“Presently we are supplying to several hotels our toiletries set
and spa products. We expect to grow this commercial business to the
airlines as well,” he added.