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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Drought affects herbal products entrepreneur

3 April 2024

By Nabalu News Journalist

KOTA KINABALU: The persistent drought has significantly impacted the lives of the people in the State, including herbal soap entrepreneur Norlinda Komel, 21.

As the essential ingredients in her herbal soap products primarily consist of traditional herbs that need to be harvested from gardens, the drought has adversely affected their quality and availability.

"I have had to reduce the pace of my herbal soap production due to the unavailability of fresh herbs for our ingredients. Additionally, I am concerned because I rely on elderly individuals whom I have enlisted to assist with herb collection. While I compensate them for their efforts, the lack of income from herb harvesting will undoubtedly impact them," she explained.

Her company LA'Merly Organic currently offers seven types of soap, each with its unique blend of organic herbal ingredients. From Wagas Soap made from rice to Gembirang Soap infused with cloves, Norlinda's products showcase the rich diversity of Sabah's natural resources. Other soap varieties include AloeVera Soap, Pegaga Soap made from gotu kola, Tawawo Soap, Sogumau Soap made from lemongrass, and another Soap made from Malaysian grass.

In response to the increasing demand for her products, LA'Merly Organic has set up a processing facility in Kota Kinabalu. This strategic move allows Norlinda to seek approval from the Ministry of Health (KKM) for her soap products and broaden her market presence.

With a sense of pride, Norlinda guarantees that all LA'Merly Organic products are meticulously produced and distributed under her careful supervision.

She was a TUBE 9.0 participant in 2023 and received RM30,000. She initially started when she received a grant from SME Corp Malaysia after she presented her business ideas to them. This allowed her to continue growing her business. She thanked the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Datuk Ewon Benedick for his focus and constant encouragement of young entrepreneurs.

She said the Minister always spoke in his public events about the agencies under his Ministry especially those concerned with helping and empowering entrepreneurs of all levels which is a great source of information to interested members of the public.

“Personally, I have a lot of room for growth and I actually want to get a solar dryer for the herb drying process,” she said adding that she will apply for BEEP Plus funding and expressed her hopes that she will get the assistance, to enable her to attain even greater success in future.

Norlinda has made a significant impact in the beauty industry with her organic herbal soap products and they are now available in Peninsular Malaysia where clients may get it from her supplier, an aunt.

She was encouraged by her mother to embark on a business after she attended a course on making organic herbal soap products in early 2023. It fueled her passion for creating products that blend traditional ingredients with research.

With her mother's support, Norlinda established LA'Merly Organic, aiming to empower the elderly and provide them with income through her products. Supported by her partner, Wan Mohd Ariffin Shah, and her family, Norlinda overcame many challenges. After she received the grant from SME Corp Malaysia she was spurred further to grow her business.

With the processing facility in Kota Kinabalu, Norlinda plans to expand her market reach and continue empowering communities. Her dedication and vision shape the beauty industry, inspiring others to pursue their dreams.

Her entrepreneurial journey includes helping the elderly at home in Tambunan to earn a little bit of income, which is a passion of hers.

“I am looking forward to improving and progressing my business,” the diminutive young woman, stressed.


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