Yang Ikhlas, 25, Founder of Tumbuh Cantik

“Whatever your life’s work is, do with passion and do it well”

1. Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?

My name is Yang Ikhlas, people called me Ki. I am 25 years old. I am the founder for Tumbuh Cantik. Established in 2021, Tumbuh Cantik is focusing on selling plants and woodcraft. My journey began during the first lockdown in 2020,when I decided to leave my job at a shopping complex and started to work at a wood factory. But unfortunately, no longer after I worked at the factory, the Covid-19 virus has spread beyond the factory workers’ circle. As I was concerned about my my health and safety while working in the risk circle, I quit my job at the factory and decided to start selling small plants such as cactus. Tumbuh Cantik began with a small table, next to apartment stairs in my residential area. The customers were mostly among my friends and neighbors. Soon after I started Tumbuh Cantik, I met the owner of Mulia Place, who invited me to use their spaces and facilities. I took it as an opportunity, and I hope it will help Tumbuh Cantik to go further in this industry.

2. What got you interested in plant and woodcraft?

Before I quit my job at the factory, I tried to figure out what is the best alternative that I can do for a living. I fell in love with wood and began learning more about it after working in the wood manufacturing industry for more than a year. For plant, I would say it is actually influenced by some friends. My friends love plants. So, they taught me about plants.

3. What are the things that you like doing apart from Tumbuh Cantik?

Apart from being here at Tumbuh Cantik Workshop, I usually spend my time exploring more about woods with one uncle who owned a workshop that I rent in Kempas. He once said that “Every wood has its value, but people who are unaware of it will throw it away”. I am grateful to have met someone who has a strong passion and is willing to share his experiences and knowledge with me.

4. Can you share with us what is the most difficult time and what is your biggest achievement ever since you enter this industry?

Selling items amid a pandemic is one of my challenges. I know it wasn’t just me, but everyone on the world experienced the same thing. Because of the pandemic and lockdown orders, many businesses had to close due to the financial crisis, and thousands of people lost their jobs.I tried to shift the business to an internet platform, but it was not enough. So, we tried to think of  another alternative to to keep the business running. Then, we came out with the concept of setting  a pop-up stall at a few location and moving throughout the Johor Bahru area. We still do it even now. We move from one location to another location. As time passes by, we start joining small-to-medium-scale events. We are quite satisfied and happy about it because of the new and great experiences to meet other entrepreneurs, share business, and exchange contacts.

5. What’s next from Tumbuh Cantik?

For the time being, we are focusing to developing our first physical store here in Perling. But, since nowadays the responses from the pop-up store are quite impressive,  we are continuing to move around in order to discover new customers.. The location will be announced on our social media, but usually, we open the pop-up store next to Menara Hasil Johor Bahru every weekend.

6. How do you compare your business today and last year?

I think the difference is, today I have few connections, I know where to go, and we even have our own workshop. The difficulty is different in the first year of business. We keep re-strategize to sustain the business, finding the best spot for the pop-up store, and the workspace is so limited where it is actually my house.

7. Who/what is your biggest inspiration?

I am inspired by Raihan and team on how they start Sekutu Ghuraba and Warung Orkes from nothing. They have great teamwork to build the community. They are one of the motivation behind the creation of Tumbuh Cantik.