FashionValet CEO, Fadzaruddin Shah responds to questions on FV closureHajar Umira Md Zaki
Popular homegrown fashion e-commerce platform FashionValet became the talk of town recently when the company announced its website closure to focus on its two in-house brands dUCk and Lilit.
The announcement garnered public scrutiny as FashionValet was reported to have received major investments from Permodalan Nasional Berhad and Khazanah Nasional which involved taxpayers’ money.
Social media users were quick to raise questions, probing into what happened to the funds now that the fashion platform is no longer available.
It was reported earlier that the company’s decision to close the website and focus on the the two in-house brands was not done abruptly, instead it was done in stages.
One post that garnered attention was a Facebook post made by a user, Aliff Ahmad, the co-founder of scrut.my where he uploaded a screenshot to support his claims of FashionValet’s supposed mismanagement of funds.
In an interview with Sinar Daily,FashionValet chief executive officer, Fadzaruddin Shah Anuar responded to questions pertaining to the issue.
Here’s what he had to say.
From a business owner point of view, what happens when your company receive funds from investors like Khazanah and PNB? Did FashionValet deliver what was required?
Khazanah and PNB are institutional investors and they invested into us at a time where government was encouraging them to participate more in starts ups.
Since Khazanah and PNB invested, the business has more than doubled in revenue, improved our profit margins and expanded to offline retail. We have done this even through the last two years of covid where the landscape was very unstable for businesses.
Lastly, all investors are invested into the entire Group which comprises the third party brands platform, dUCk and LILIT (not the platform only, contrary to unverified news).
People were heavily discussing this issue because Khazanah is the major investor in FashionValet, which means taxpayers' money went into the now-closed web site. Internet users have questioned where the money went since the business has been restructured to dUCk and Lilit. What is your comment on this?
FashionValet owns both dUCk and LILIT. today. As part of the investment, dUCk was to be acquired by FashionValet to improve the profitability of the business as marketplaces traditionally operate on thin or even negative margins.
FashionValet the platform closing down was accelerated due to covid - when many local brands scaled down their business, and substantially diminished supply coming to FashionValet. All of these decisions were made in the best interest of our investors.
We can see today that it was the right decision as the group has continued to grow and significantly improved our profitability.
Are you aware of the Facebook posting by Aliff Ahmad in regards to FashionValet? What is your take on the speculations?
Yes, we have been made aware. We do not speculate on unverified claims.
We owe a fiduciary duty to our investors – and they have expressed satisfaction, and confidence in our business decisions. We're more than happy to provide clarifications when approached by reputable news portals such as yourself.
Through the Facebook posting, Aliff claimed that the founder/director’s allowance had been increased. Is this true?
With Khazanah and PNB on board, the operations of the business was institutionalised which means everything we do requires board approval, including remuneration of directors and executives. The founders also have day-to-day executive roles in the business.
Can you share with us the direction for the company from this point on and what is in store for dUCk and Lilit?
The decision to pivot from the third party platform was a difficult one because we had been that for many years.
We are proud that local brands used the platform as a stepping-stone and then evolved to have websites and/or shops of their own.
To us, FashionValet had done its part in elevating the local fashion industry.
Now, we’re excited to expand beyond our shores – our ambition is to make homegrown Malaysian brands, dUCk and LILIT., household brands in the global modest fashion scene.
We hope the nation at large will help support these brands to the global stage one day.