Give a girl a new hairstyle and she will conquer the world.
If you are always hanging out on the streets of Telawi, you might have stumbled upon COCOdry.
Stepping into the entrepreneurial world
Being the first blow dry bar in Malaysia, it was absolutely nerve-wracking, according to co-founder, Kim May Chee. Coming from a marketing background, Kim shared with us that the whole idea of opening up a dry bar was a total coincidence. It all began when she came across the idea from the Girl Boss podcast on Spotify.
“After a year of research, I found that there was a gap in the market back home as there were many issues faced by customers while visiting regular salons. I started putting up a pitch deck, travelled overseas to speak to the blow dry bar owners in the UK then raised funds for COCOdry,” she explained.
When an individual decides to become an entrepreneur, it is absolutely important to have some sort of drive and excitement. As for Kim, she always knew that if she ever stepped into the path, she would want her business to build a community of empowering women and sustainability — and she has done it, for sure.
COCOdry is all about instilling positivity and self-confidence in women and helping them step out of their comfort zones and go after their goals. With these values in mind, Kim had the drive to start a business at the age of 26. Because in her heart, she believes that no matter what happens, she has to believe.
It has only been eight solid months since COCOdry opened its doors and it was absolutely rewarding when the reception was better than expected. During her trip to the UK, Kim managed to speak to several blow dry bar owners and came to realise that most of the clients have encountered several issues while visiting regular hair salons such as:
- inconsistent service,
- products that are not natural,
- clients pressured to pay for extra services,
- a limited selection of blowout styles,
- top-up required for a better shampoo,
- and no inclusivity – (Chinese salon for Chinese clients, likewise for Malay, Indian and others.)
Since then, Kim identified a gap in the market and decided to create a new category with the launch of COCOdry.
It’s more than just hair treatments & blowout services
There’s no doubt that opening up a dry bar in Malaysia seemed like an interesting and unique idea. But in all honesty, though, I wonder if they had adequate demand to sustain the business? Then Kim reasoned how businesses would need to educate the traditional Asian market first in terms of introducing unfamiliar services such as COCOdry. “We were no different, in fact, we spent the first two months building the brand and sharing the natural products we carry and services offered through various platforms. When we first launched, up to 30% of our customers were originally from overseas,” she said. “Looking back, the reception was definitely better than expected. We managed to grow our community and have gotten a substantial following within months.”
Over at this Bangsar’s blow dry bar, it’s more than just hairstyling, it’s all about the experience and quality. Customers will feel welcomed and connected with the values of the brand as well as making women feel #COCOconfident by only using the best natural range of products for their hair. It’s not just a place to get your hair done but it’s a place to be there for their customers during the small and big moments in their life.
We aren’t only known for hair and blowouts, but mostly our energy and good vibes! The best feeling is when we turn our customers towards the mirror for the big reveal, the ‘OH WOW’ expression and big smiles on their faces is priceless. – Kim
This tropical hit of a salon focuses on targeting 3 kinds of clientele:
- corporate working women who are climbing the career ladder;
- lifestyle seekers with events or dinners to attend;
- and most importantly, people that believe in COCOdry’s values of women empowerment, community building and sustainability.
Unlike other hair salons, COCOdry will pamper you with drinks from their non-alcoholic menu that is prepared by their stylists and customers can also choose to unwind with Netflix or even get some work done whilst the stylists do their hair.
Ps. It is worth noting that all of COCOdry’s treatments are silicone, paraben & SLS/SLES free whereas most of the keratin treatments out there contain formaldehyde.
Get to know Kim better
How did your parents influence you to be the person that you are today and what lessons and values can you share with us?
My dad and mum have influenced me in many different ways. My dad started his business at the age of 23, which I’ve always looked up to him as a role model! He’s the reason why I am fearless and adventurous. My mum is a typical tiger mum but she shaped me into becoming the woman I am today. I owe my success to my parents.
What are the most unspeakable challenges that you have faced in your career?
The first challenge is me not having enough experience to start or run a business, which really scares me at first, especially when people tell you that this idea won’t work. I had so much to figure out! But later on, I learnt that you don’t have to know it all to start, you just need to start and learn along the way.
Getting the right business partner and hiring the right people to join COCOdry. Not everyone believes in your values, but once you get the right people on the plane, you’re ready to FLY!
Share with us something that you’re working on improving about yourself and the business. How will that help with your goals?
Stay focused. I tend to lose focus easily as there’s always something to work on, or new ideas on my sleeves, which can be really distracting and time-consuming.
It’s no doubt that this stay at home period has been challenging, how are you and your family coping so far with things? How has the business been for you?
MCO has accelerated our digital transformation programme and we launched our COCOdry e-Commerce early April, selling hair products and treatment and the response was amazing! Online was a busy place from April to May. With the extra time we have from the temporary closure, our team channelled all remaining resources to improving our online presence and focusing on maintaining relationships with our community, spreading positivity and joy.
Lastly, how do you stay true to yourself and what’s your definition of success?
Always remember where you came from and treat others the way you want to be treated.
I believe in staying grounded & ‘Pay It Forward’. One of the reasons why COCOdry is successful is because of the amazing people I’ve met along the way & I’d love to do the same to young entrepreneurs!
My definition of success is when I’ve lived a life with no regrets because I was brave enough to chase my dream and leave my mark behind by making a difference in people’s lives and they’re happy because of my existence!
Hours: 11am -8pm, daily
Address: No. 8, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur