FOCUS At only 20, Nurul Kamariah Rosli was both a successful business owner and a stellar student.
Always a high-performer, Nurul Kamariah's journey into entrepreneurship started because she was disappointed with her SPM results.
Hoping for straight As, she was so despondent that she achieved 10 As and 2 Bs that she did not apply for a place in a university.
This prompted her father to enrol her in a private university, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unirazak), which then offered her a full scholarship based on her previous academic performance.
But there was a catch - the course offered was to specialise in entrepreneurship - and to qualify for the funding, she had to show that she was also a business owner.
“I accepted the offer because … students would get a free laptop and would be able to go to the United States for our final semester. It turned out to be a course in business, specialising in entrepreneurship.
“I had never even heard of the word ‘entrepreneurship’ before this,” she chuckled.
To qualify, she started selling clothes for women through a blog on the free blogging platform, blogspot.com. Within three months, she made enough money to set up a brick and mortar store in her hometown of Raub, Pahang.
That was almost eight years ago.
Since then, Kamariah graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 and is now the owner of a successful online venture, Qoma.
The fashion brand, which is also Kamariah's nickname, has amassed more than 260,000 followers collectively on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. That is nearly a third of the population of the Pahang town where it had its humble beginnings.
Kamariah is one of the scores of Malaysian women who have harnessed the power of e-commerce to set up businesses that go beyond their immediate physical markets.
Qoma's sales are 90 percent online, Kamariah said, a realisation she made while deliberating whether to shut down the Raub store after moving to Malacca to be with her husband.
Now, the 28-year-old manages her own Instagram and Facebook accounts to both sell and market her brand of clothes and scarves, and relies on some 120 agents in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
Kamariah also makes trips to Shah Alam where her factory is located, and to Indonesia and Vietnam to source for materials for her products...