BLOGGER, actress and model Hanis Zalikha is the face behind Cakenis, a fast growing fashion and beauty brand in Malaysia. First, she created a range of modest wear, followed by cosmetic products. Recently, her label also created intimate and swimwear for ladies.
“I envisioned Cakenis to be a platform for everything a modern woman needs,” says Hanis, who has more than five million followers on Instagram.
Like any ambitious businesswoman, she dreams about seeing her brand penetrating the world market. But for the moment, she wants to focus all her energy on the local market.
“The Malaysian consumer market, I believe, is one with a high purchasing power,” she says.
“International brands yearn for a long-term placement in our market space, and local brands like ours are strong competition.”
She credits her success to Zainal Rashid, her 62-year-old father who recently retired from the corporate world.
“My dad has always been my voice of reason, because of his diligent nature,” she says
“He is a man of logic and I got that from him. I am always very careful in weighing all the risks with my business decisions.”
Another person who shaped her into a shrewd businesswoman is her 54-year-old mother Nani Rostam, who still runs a food business called @resepinanirostam just to fill up her free time.
“My mother is the most creative person I have met in my life,” she says.
“My mother can sell almost anything. When I was young, my mother got me involved in her business. I remember during my secondary school days my mother was selling Raya cookies. She forced me to go to the teacher’s lounge and give out samples to my teachers. Then, I had to take orders from them. I felt so embarrassed doing that.”
Hanis first broke into the entertainment scene in 2008 when she participated in an online reality television competition, Malaysian Dreamgirl, where she became the second runner-up. Since then, she has acted in several movies and television shows.
She was also nominated for the Most Influential Blog Award in 2011 at the inaugural Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards in Singapore.
Hanis is also a mother of two children – four- year-old Yusuf Iskandar and one-year-old Alisa Aisyah. She points to her husband, Paskal and Wira actor Hairul Azreen, for helping her balance her roles as a wife, mother and career woman.
“One of the things he makes sure of is that we hire enough people for the business and for the household,” she says.
“His decision allowed me to have more creative space and more breathing room.”
When she is not working, you will find her with her family, always cooking, decorating the house and having friends over for a chat.
“Spending time with friends and family is my favourite thing,” she says.
Hanis turned 30 last month. But she has no fear of leaving her 20s behind.
“Age is just a number,” she says.
“Turning 30 is amazing. I feel accomplished and complete. I feel like celebrating my life with my family”
However, she admits that success has also drawn negative remarks about her life, and that brickbats have been hurled at her.
“Being in the public eye and being the face of my own brand, it is easier for my products to get scrutinised and be placed in the hot seat,” she says.
But she will not allow her critics to get the best of her.
“If you allow criticism to be a setback, they will become a setback. When you focus your time and your energy on things that matter, you can zone out from all the noise and distractions.”