WORK and life are one and he same for Amelia Tan, and she likes it that way.
The 28-year-old business development director at Getha Bedding is a third-generation businesswoman, who found harmony between her love of art and her passion for business.
Getha Bedding was founded by Tan’s father in the 1990s as the marketing company. Working in a family business sometimes invites misconceptions, but that does not faze her.
Her goal is to turn the company’s natural latex products into a household name, and ultimately a national treasure that is synonymous with Malaysia.
How did you end up at Getha Bedding?
“I started at Getha when I was 23 or 24 years old. I didn’t join the company immediately after graduating from school. I went to work [for] another company. I was [offered a position at the other company] as I was graduating, so I took the opportunity.
“I wanted to work as fast as I could, and for that, I wanted to complete my university studies [quickly] as well.
“After a while, I realised that there were more opportunities for me if I joined Getha. Now, I have been with the company for five years.”
What do you do at Getha?
“I am mainly responsible for the digital transformation and marketing side of things. This includes marketing, advertising, and organising events.
“Marketing, the way I see it, has a lot to do with branding. We export our products worldwide to 25 countries. We want everyone to know about Malaysian rubber. So, branding is essential. It is an art.”
Did you choose to study business?
“Yes. I studied marketing and management at the University of Melbourne. Since I was young, I was exposed to the business culture.
“Really, since I was in kindergarten, as soon as I could walk, I was following my family to business meetings ... At home, we always talk about work.
“You see, the company was started by my grandfather. I’m the third generation already. When he started the business, we manufactured natural latex products.
“From there, 20 to 30 years later, when my dad graduated and joined the company, he said he wanted to [create] a brand, that’s why it’s called Getha (after the Malay word for ‘rubber’) because we made products out of Malaysian latex.
“After I [sat for] my PMR exams, I knew I wanted to study business. I was already exposed to it so much.
“I feel comfortable with the business. ... After my first year taking business classes, I felt [that] marketing was the specialisation that attracted me the most.”
Why do you think you were attracted to marketing?
“I am creatively inclined. I like to paint and create arts and crafts, so marketing suits me better. I enjoy art; it is my hobby and marketing is a way to translate it into work.
“Since I am in charge of all the content and the design of the catalogue, basically the visuals, I have a say in picking art and copywriting content, the direction, and what I want people to know about us.
“The most recent art piece we did at Getha is a stool, using the scraps from our mattress manufacturing. We also did this wall art piece. We try to make latex look beautiful.
“Another thing that we did was a model of the Petronas Twin towers using latex. I had a lot of fun calculating the dimensions to fit the scale of the model.
“Currently, I paint with watercolour ... I used to paint using acrylics. I paint mainly on weekends. But I don’t have much time to do it nowadays. It is time-consuming.”
What do you do with your art?
“I give away my art. For example, [for a] friend’s wedding, I would paint a card for them. My dad’s birthday is coming up, and I was thinking of painting him a card as well.
“My art pieces are usually small because I typically don’t have time and so I mainly paint for gifting.
“I am into art since I was young. I was always attracted to the creative side of things. I went to art class instead of going to tuition classes ... I would also join the art competitions at school.”
Why is branding important to you?
“Branding is the perception of something. There are a lot of things to consider to build that perception. One of the critical things is the customer’s trust. Word of mouth will spread. People will spread something if they can enjoy, relate, or trust with confidence.
“Getha is considered mass prestige. We have good brand control, trust, and brand loyalty with our customers, that’s the prestige part. [It is] ‘mass’ in a sense that it is affordable, to an extent.
“I see many people can afford expensive phones, and I don’t see why they can’t afford our mattress.”