Kens Apothecary was established in 1999. With a drugstore concept for it, Ken Lim brought in many beauty and fashion brands which were not familiar with Malaysians. Thanks to Kens Apothecary, niche beauty and fragrance brands such as Caudalie, Annick Goutal and Diptyque, which were less popular back then, are now well-known and recognized by the public at the 17th year of its establishment. For such a recognition, Ken says that whether it’s considered a success or not, it is definitely a great satisfaction and encouragement for him.
Speaking about running his business, Ken thinks that marketing is really important. No matter how good a quality the product is, it still needs to be paired with the right marketing plan to promote it. Otherwise, that product will only be displayed in the shop window as a decoration and no one is going to notice and care about it. He learnt the fundamentals of marketing and worked to gain popularity for his brands.
Looking back to how he managed his business in the past, Ken laughs and says that since he studied accounting, he used to care very much about the sales amount. Currently, he says, “Work isn’t my life.” After leaving the office at 7pm, he is not going to talk about work anymore. In addition, he learnt to care more for his employees, and started to enjoy the satisfaction his career and life gave him. Without blindly following the numbers, according to Ken, this life is closer to the so-called “successful life”.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in your career?
A: Firstly, keeping the strong and constant development of the brands I brought into the local market is a challenging task. Secondly, it is the employee management. I want my employees to work in a cheerful and pleasant environment, and I need to maintain a good interactive relationship with them.
Q: Being an entrepreneur, you are required to handle a lot of work on your own. How do you make yourself stand out in the competitive market?
A: I consider myself the first person who brought in so many niche brands into the Malaysian market. There was a time when my efforts weren’t recognized by others. Now, I am happy to accept interviews with the media to share with everyone what I think is good. At the same time, this helps me build network and a better relationship with the media while enabling more people to notice the products of these niche brands. The way promotions are being done now is very much different from the past. It is necessary for us to utilize social media and follow the trend for youngsters and consumers to notice and search for us.
Q: According to you, what are the criteria of a successful man?
A: Hardworking, being able to have a balanced life at the same time as well as the ability to maintain a healthy life and working schedule. Besides, a successful man must have the support of family and love.
Q: Tell us your philosophy in life.
A: I am quite a simple person and I no longer go after luxury goods. It’s an awakening of sorts. I used to have 26 watches, but right now, I am not wearing a watch anymore as the chase for material things isn’t the motivation in life. Still, I do appreciate beautiful things and luxury materials, but it is not necessary for me to own them. Besides, I don’t want others to judge a person’s status and image through a luxury watch.
Q: What is the definition of success for you?
A: The amount of money cannot measure one’s success. It is not about how many properties or luxury cars you own. Being successful is not just from the perspective of career, but it is being defined together with other aspects of life. Only a life full with happiness is considered successful.
Q: Then, what do you think is the secret to success?
A: Have passion for life, follow your heart. The word “successful” is not defined by you, but it is others’ description for you.
Q: Share us your life motto?
A: Follow your passion. You can go further only with passion. For me, pleasant mind and satisfaction are both essential.
Q: How do you care for your skin?
A: I use Caudalie’s skincare products. As I am in the beauty industry, I’ve to take good care of my skin and are particular about facial skincare. If it is necessary, I am willing to try something new too. In the past, I’ve tried Botox injection.
Q: What are your skincare tips for men?
A: They have to apply sunscreen and properly cleanse their face. Besides, using hydrating and anti-aging product are important too.
Q: How to keep yourself in a peak state?
A: I go to gym regularly every week. I take healthy food which is not oily and fried, as well as not eating too much. A balance diet and regular exercise are needed to ensure you’re in the best state.
Q: Are you satisfied with your current life situation? What is your hope for the future?
A: I am very satisfied with my current life. I only wish that I’ve more time to do things that I like, such as baking cakes and Chinese pastry and to travel. The thing I want to do most in future is to travel. My travel bucket list include countries such as Russia, Mexico and Egypt. I hope I can live in each country for a week in the future to feel and experience the local way of life and the culture.
Further Reading: Soon Wei: Giving the Old Industry a New Look