Bright Young Things: Raja Jesrina Arshad of PurelyB
Raja Jesrina Arshad's online health and wellness portal PurelyB was a calling borne of her own health woes, proof that the greatest business ideas are sparked by addressing common needs.
Going by the rate cold-pressed juices are mushrooming and clean-eating delivery services are thriving here in KL, the health and fitness trend taking over the country is one that is here to stay. Add fitness apps like Kfit that you can easily download to help you achieve your goal and your fitness journey can go with you anywhere in the world.
The latest addition to that journey is PurelyB, the one-stop online platform for everything you need to start living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
“We are the first in Asia. Everything you need is here, whether you want educate yourself, learn the methods, clarify conflicting information that you see on the web about health and wellness,” tells founder and CEO Raja Jesrina Arshad. “We give you a full objective view, all the facts, and you make your own decisions.”
Officially launched in May last year, the portal has been on an unprecedented growth spurt, tripling all of Jesrina’s expectations in the first 3 months of operations. As the site approaches its first anniversary and Jesrina prepares for the third stage of her business plan – a very exciting marketplace that’s going to open up a whole new ecosystem for vendors and consumers who have their healths at the top of their minds – we sit down with her to find out how Purely B came about.
‘An accidental business’
Life was going well for Jesrina in 2015 – she was happily married to husband Joey Azman, heading digital marketing at Astro Malaysia Holdings and her Instagram account, with its 7,000 plus followers, showed a happy and colourful feed of travels, dinners with friends and a host of glitzy events that she was constantly invited to.
“But I had health issues,” she opens up. “I had gluten, dairy, egg and wheat allergies that left me with indigestion, rashes, the flu. I get sluggish very easily.”
At wit’s end after reducing her diet options to only fish and vegetables and still seeing little results, she stumbled upon some health blogs that revealed ways she can recreate her favourite foods sans all the stuff triggering her allergies.
“As much as it was a revelation, I was frustrated. How did I not know this sooner? Why did it have to take my own initiative to research little pockets of information, pull it all together and then only learn what changes it can do to my health?”
She realised what people like her need is a place where all this information is easily accessible. “I also wanted to know where to find the ingredients. Since it doesn’t exist, I thought to myself, why don’t I do it?”
7 women on the mission of wellness
She gathered 6 of her closest friends, half of them health and nutrition experts and the other half, digital marketers like she is, and together they started PurelyB, populating it with articles, recipes and a restaurant directory for healthy food themselves. Marketing at that point included sharing out the content on their personal Facebook pages.
“The most touching thing that made me quit my job and go into this full-time was when people started writing in to us,” she divulges. “They told us how they were inspired to start living healthier and some of them even shared how they had overcome illnesses by changing up their diets and lifestyle. They loved how we were educating and helping others to do the same. We’re not even doing much at this point but we’re already touching people’s lives; can you imagine when we execute our full vision? “
After launching in Hong Kong with a Chinese sister site, PurelyB also got the attention of Singaporean celebrity yogi Liv Lo, who spearheaded Stretch City. Jesrina had been eyeing Lo to be an ambassador for Purely B but Lo turned around with a better proposition.
“Turns out she is a fan of what we’re doing and she offered for us to take over her company,” Jesrina reveals. “Now, we’ve inherited the entire 8000+ yoga community, she’s our ambassador and Stretch City is part of us.”
Opening up a whole new world
One year in and Purely B is currently looking at 80,000 monthly visitors and growing, a steady clientele base for their fitness packages as well as meal plans subscriptions and a host of investors knocking on their doors. It’s a tremendously good place for a start-up its age, but Jesrina is already looking ahead.
“We will be launching our marketplace in mid-May to coincide with our first anniversary that will stock local and international brands for nutrition, fitness and wellness,” she unveils. “The portal and marketplace are meant to support one another; read about how good chia seeds are for you at our site and you can immediately buy them in the marketplace.”
The plan has been one in place from very early on but Jesrina has her reasons for waiting.
“Branding and marketing are very important. We want to be a brand that people are inspired by. That’s why we paced ourselves,” she reasons. “I could have launched the marketplace in the first 3 months, but I wanted to build the brand first, make visitors feel like we’re adding value to their lives and then leave them anticipating what we’re going to do next.”
Making a marked difference
It is easy to see why Purely B grew so fast and far – everything about the brand speaks the same message of helping its subscribers consume, experience and be the best they can.
“We want to ensure peace of mind,” Jesrina tells. “As a user you can be assured of the safety from the products to the articles to the advice. Everything is in line with our motto of being natural and healthy."
Internally, Jesrina and her team practice the same mechanics of her site, bringing in goodness from different sources and letting the combined strengths show on the external.
“We are 7 people in it together," she tells. "Having different people allow you to lean on each other, have different people step in at different times with their different skillsets to solve all the different problems that crop up along way. That’s how we managed the impossible.”
“Sometimes we ask ourselves how did we do that? It’s because we did it together.”
Click here to start jumpstarting your own health and wellness with PurelyB.
Another Bright Young Thing making a difference to the world: Francesca Chia of GoGet.