KUALA LUMPUR – The “hijab” or Muslim head covering is big business in Malaysia these days.
It is worn for reasons of modesty, but the plethora of hijab available today makes them a fashion statement as well.
Online sellers do very well in Malaysia, marketing their items on Facebook or Instagram. The online store is one that is open 24 hours, every day of the year, giving physical business setups a run for their money.
Further boosting business for online hijab sellers is the number of celebrities who have taken on the head covering, modeling them on television, fancy magazines and billboards.
BUSINESS IN A FEW CLICKS
Online hijab storeowners only need a smart phone or laptop to update their collection and interact with customers from wherever they are.
Some may have reservations about buying clothing items online. There is always the chance that the colour on-screen varies from the real item, and sometimes, specifications may differ too.
However, many find the trade-offs worth it. Customers can browse the stores at their own location and convenience. They do not have to put up with traffic jams, lack of parking space, or long lines at the cashier. Payments are just another few clicks away.
It is apparent to many that there is big money in the business. Every other day sees new online hijab stores mushrooming everywhere.
Twenty-nine-year-old Rabiah Wan Zulkifli knows the competition is stiff but believes there is still room for her business, Raudah Wide Shawl.
“I’m not bothered by the number of online hijab sellers these days, as it gives me an idea of what the buying trend is.
“There are so many choices today that cater to so many differing tastes. Sellers now also upload online hijab tutorials to give potential buyers ideas on the many ways to style their hijab”, she said.
When asked if she believed her business would stand the test of time, as many others were also marketing similar styles, Rabiah said she believed that there was something for everyone out there.
She provided added value to her offering by providing free shipping and keeping up with the latest trends.
The business was not Rabiah’s primary source of income as she is a flight attendant with a major airline. However, she did not find it a problem to set time aside to develop her business.
“I take all challenges in stride”, she said.
Journalist Nur Shafawati Yup, is another entrepreneur who sells hijab online for a side income.
“This is a business that teaches you a lot about managing time wisely and the importance of treating customers well”, she said.
On whether the price of hijab sold today was on the high side, she said it was dependent on what a potential buyer wanted.
Sellers generally employ a fair pricing system based on the size and quality of material and stitching.
STILL ROOM FOR PHYSICAL STORES
Although online businesses have been a hit with the masses, this does not mean that physical stores are losing out on business.
Many customers still enjoy the real shopping experience, such as the ability to feel the material and try on the item before buying it.
The hijab stores along areas like Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman are also popular for their wide selection of quality merchandise at affordable prices. Many also enjoy the ability to haggle prices with storeowners.