Inspired to find the best solution for her chronic eczema problem, Sluvi skincare founder Sulie Lungkan Abell began to do her own research after finding out that most products on the market did not work on her skin. Fast forward a couple of years later, she now leads a social enterprise business, empowering local farmers and promoting the health benefits of natural local resources.
Natural skincare products a boon to farmers
SULIE LUNGKAN ABELL, the founder of natural ingredient skincare products named Sluvi was inspired to find the best treatment for her chronic eczema problem, about four years ago.
Her determination not only led to a cure but led to a social enterprise business that now empowers farmers who supply the natural ingredients to her.
“My early exposure was during my university days when I learned about social enterprise business. It was my interest during that time but never thought it will become a reality.
“The turning point came when my skin doctor asked me to use alternative ways, namely natural ingredients to treat my chronic eczema on my face. I had by then tried every skincare available in the market but to no avail.
“Therefore, I did my own research, and used a lot of natural ingredients as suggested by my doctor. Then this was where it began, my own Sluvi skincare products,” she said, adding that while looking for natural ingredients, she met with several farmers at her Simanggang hometown.
Sulie said to her surprise she found out that the farmers only earned about RM200 a month.
“I felt I had to think of something, on how I could help them.
“I bought the natural farm produce, then turned it into skincare products based on ingredients from Borneo.
“There is the rice face mask, lemon coffee body scrub, stingless bee honey soap and aloe green tea face mask, they are all ingredients totally from Borneo, such as Borneo coffee, kelulut honey, aloe vera, coconut oil, local ginger and local rice.
“I get to empower the farmers whose income has increase 300 to 400 per cent per month, with them earning about RM2,000 per month,” she pointed out.
It has been meaningful for Sulie, as through her effort, she has been able to help the farmers have better access to healthcare and education for their own economic growth.
“We want to become parallel with sustainable economic growth. We also want to highlight the usage of Borneo natural ingredients and save the environment too.
“We also support a circular economy, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit us. We try to save all the unsold natural ingredients sold by the farmers from the village before they become waste.
“We do a special skincare range just for that, because we want to use all the unsold ingredients such as local lemon and coconut,” she said.
Having said that, Sulie pointed to challenges such as quality control on the ingredients produced by the farmers, but luckily with the digital era, video calls have been a big help.
“Besides that, we also make use of e-commerce platforms for our business activities, such as Lazada, Shopee and our own social media,” she said.
Altogether, five farming families are involved, and the beneficiaries are largely women who are willing to bring their farming to the next level and who need monetary assistance for their children’s education and better livelihoods.
Sulie’s work has not gone unnoticed as she was included in the Under 40 2021: Championing Sustainability and Eco-Conservation award.
She was also among the Top 5 winners of Shell Malaysia LiveWire 2018.
“Winning those awards is such an honour to me and my team. It gives us much spirit to continue our efforts in empowering the farming community in Sarawak,” she said.
As for the future, Sulie said that they want to participate in international expos on skincare products.
“We also want to do business to business (B2B) transaction to spas, hotels and other big corporate companies,” she said.
Sluvi will hold a workshop for organic and environment enthusiasts concerned about what to use on their face and body in July this year.
Sluvi products are available online through Lazada, Shopee, Instagram and at shops, the Shine pharmacy, Ranee Artisan Gallery and also at Borneo Cultures Museum.