Power couple redefined
Entrepreneur couple Ranong and Malik exemplify what it means to be a power couple, supporting each other’s interests and ambitions through their companies Ran & Nong Creations and MRF ConsultancyBy Patricia Hului
WHEN I ASKED 49-year-old Nur Rahmah Abdullah @ Ranong Peru how long she had been married to her 59-year-old husband Malik Fadjiar, she answered, “As long as there are seven children between us.”
The term ‘power couple’ is often bestowed on famous celebrity couples such as the Beckhams and Brangelina, but Ranong and Malik could redefine that term since they complement each other both personally and professionally.
Professionally, their own personal businesses Ran & Nong Creations and MRF Consultancy dovetail neatly together with Ranong providing practical crafting skills and spa training under the former and Malik teaching marketing skills and customer relations under the latter.
The One Half
The mother of seven is a crafter and businesswoman.
“My core business is training,” said Ranong who is also the principal trainer for Energy Academy Kuching branch and certified trainer for Spa Therapist Training Programme under Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
A Lun Bawang from Ba Kelalan, Ranong also gives beading courses to women in rural areas in collaboration with the State Women’s Department and one-on-one lessons to those who are interested.
As a beading crafter, Ranong started her high-end handmade accessories from semi-precious stones she collected over the years from living in different countries due to Malik’s job with Singapore Airlines before moving back to Sarawak five years ago.
“After I came back from overseas, I saw there was an opportunity for this business even though it was just a craft,” Ranong said, explaining how she started her jewelry line.
“If you use social media properly, it is not difficult to sell your products,” Ranong noted.
Her customers are from the US, UK and other parts of the world which she gained from selling her products through the Internet. Her market is a niche market because the necklaces she created out of intricate beads as well as her weaving technique are selling for at least RM2,000.
What she does consider as her biggest challenge in the jewellery-making industry is not having enough hands to create more products.
“They are all handmade and you need time to do it,” she said, explaining that one piece of jewelry could take her up to three weeks to finish, depending on the design.
On top of that, Ranong, like most mothers out there was into knitting and used to train women to knit too.
Ranong’s handicraft company Ran & Nong Creations made a mark at FIFA World Cup in Brazil with their customised knitted scarves and hats in the colours of the Brazilian flag being were sold during the World Cup season.
“I mobilised my students to make the scarves and hats. Whatever income I earned, I distributed it among the women I trained.”
Time management is the key to Ranong’s success; her resume includes spa professional and craft trainer on top of the time she is devoting to her jewelry line.
She said, “After I finish my spa treatment training, I go into my craft. Who says you cannot do everything? But you have to work for it.”
As a trainer, Ranong is motivated to empowering women.
“At the end of the day, when I see them having their own products and selling them I feel so proud of them,” she said.
The Other Half
Sharing the same office with his wife, Malik provides consulting and training services under MRF Consultancy.
“I think I complement what my wife is doing. I bring forward those who already acquired the skills and are asking ‘What is the next step?’” he explained.
He teaches soft skills such as team building and leadership while Ranong handles the practical skills.
Malik also teaches trainees how to go about marketing their products or selling them online, drilling them on networking skills and human relations until these soft skills become second nature for them.
“Without human management or customer relations, your businesses won’t go far,” Malik said.
According to him, “It is normally with human relations that you build the business, not the business that builds the relationship.”
With 23 years attached to Singapore Airlines where he did ground operations as well as sales and marketing for the airlines under his belt, he knows what he is talking about.
“In between I spent three and half years in the training department during the first gulf war,” he said.
Looking back, that was his first taste on training other individuals and Malik shared that he did not know his passion was in training until he came to Sarawak in 2009.
Besides consulting for his wife’s trainees, Malik works as a motivational speaker and has given talks to a variety of people from prefects at Lodge School Kuching to front liners of Shell company.
He stated “Now I give talk; that is my forte.”
Malik is also the person to go to in terms of management consulting in risk and crisis management.
“I owe what I am doing now to my experience in the airline industry,” Malik stated as he explained his former profession has given him the opportunity to do cross-cultural adaptations.
Having been posted to nine different countries throughout his airline career, Malik learned the importance of human relations in any daily jobs.
“Then again I learnt once you go to different places with different languages, if you can pick up their working language like greetings, thank you, very simple instructions, you will be accepted by the local people,” he said.
He continued, “That is what I learned from my own experience.”
For Malik’s consulting services, email him at [email protected]
Their office is located at Lot 2682, 1st Floor, Twin Tower Center, 2 1/2 Mile Rock Road, 93200 Kuching.