Separated for nearly a decade, our reunion was an unexpected gift from the world of business. My mother faced a tough choice—she had to leave her hometown for Abu Dhabi, leaving behind her two daughters to make a living and support herself. Over the years of separation, life happened, and it was only when we were considerably older that we finally reunited. At that point, my mother, Marlena, began to contemplate how the years had passed us by and wanted to give us an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship at a young age. She envisioned us learning how to earn our own income at 16 and 17, sparing us from the challenges she faced in her youth.
Little did we know that it would evolve into something much more significant. We embarked on our journey with modest beginnings, taking baby steps in our own photoshoots, resourcefully using whatever was available. Our very first photoshoot was a 100% do-it-yourself endeavor, where we transformed a white bedsheet hung on the wall into our backdrop, bought lightbulbs, and used an umbrella with aluminum foil to reflect light—a makeshift DIY photo studio.
This is a memory etched in our hearts—the humble beginnings with nothing but determination, minimal knowledge, and scarce resources. Through our business venture, my mother, Ain, and I found a way to bridge the gap in our lives, despite being in two different countries. For my mother, it was a way to make up for lost time. By Marlena has become a family endeavor, and today, we've evolved into a cohesive team. It's no longer just my mother and me handling the packing, photoshoots, sourcing, and marketing; it's an entire team working together with us in 2022.
Our Mission: Going Beyond Ourselves
Director of By Marlena: Amalia Nazura
In the early days of our business journey, it all began as an experiment, a quest to explore something new. As time went on, it evolved into a means of putting food on our tables, ensuring our basic needs were met.
However, the true transformation occurred when our team came into the picture. It ceased to be solely about us; it became a platform for enabling others to reach for their dreams and enhance their quality of life.
At By Marlena, our focus extends beyond mere financial success. We are committed to propelling our team members towards personal and professional growth because we firmly believe that our organization can only thrive when its people do. We foster an environment where every team member is encouraged to take ownership and continuously invest in their own development. Moreover, our interactions with them transcend the boundaries of work—we engage in conversations that delve into their personal aspirations, extending our support wherever we can.
By Marlena has become more than just a business; it's a vehicle for collective growth, a journey beyond self, where success is not just measured in terms of profits but also in the positive impact we create in the lives of our team members.
Achievements and Milestones: A Profound Purpose Unveiled
Throughout our journey, we've had the privilege of learning and growing alongside our remarkable team. As time progressed, a profound realization dawned upon us—within our team, there lay personal challenges and stories of resilience. Some of our team members are single mothers who had never ventured into the workforce, while others silently battled depression, anxiety, and the scars of traumatic experiences, all hidden behind seemingly cheerful facades. These struggles remained locked within themselves, with no one to turn to for support.
Our path took an unexpected turn when Ustazah Liyana Musfira of Hayaa Network approached us with a collaboration opportunity for our very first event, "Celebrate You." Hayaa Network is an organization that provides professional psychotherapy and has been instrumental in helping countless individuals overcome abuse and despair, preventing over 300 people from succumbing to hopelessness.
This collaboration opened our eyes to the pressing need not only to support our team but also to reach out to women who, like our team members, face similar challenges in their lives. It was a revelation that stretched far beyond By Marlena itself.
Our business has transcended the mere act of selling clothes; it has evolved into a platform where we strive to empower women—those within our organization and, God willing, well beyond its confines.
We are more than a brand; we are a community that embraces diversity and empowers women to express themselves with elegance.