We had the chance to talk to the oh-so-loving, Ayesha Zulkify, who is the owner of CEQ Store in Bukit Bintang Plaza and also, an artist at heart. We wanted to know what it’s like inside the mind of a young entrepreneur like herself who dropped the ‘cooperate world’ to follow her dreams and do something for herself.
What can you find at the CEQ store? Anything and everything from pre-loved goods to designer goods too. Following the latest trends – it’s one of the most laid back places to go. It gives you this ‘homey’ feel. To give it that extra kick, Ayesha also has her own clothing line where she creates and illustrates different designs.
1. Tell us a little about yourself… Who is ‘Ayesha Zulkifly’?
Ooh! I love tryin to describe myself, it’s always so quizzical! Mm, I’m a simple soul, I reckon. But I’m still a mystery to myself, most ppl rarely admit it though. As vain as this sounds, I’m the girl most ppl think twice about wanting to meet. I’m not cool enough but I am the coolest chick on the block, I have a tendency to be bipolar; very social & secluded at the same time. But I appreciate that ppl realize that about me! I am an extrovert, loud, a blabber mouth and I entertain topics most ppl get bored of haha! I am normal looking, it’s only when I open my mouth that ppl find me interesting, which I prefer. I’m a good person, honest and respectable. Ayesha, is a friend. Pretty much?
2. What is CEQ Store all about? What’s so unique/different about your store?
This store is a family inherited thing, it’s a humble store. Gone through many phases of “themes” ie. tailor boutique, second-hand goods, now youthful retail fashion. Uniqueness is a bit much for this shop, I think many ppl find it very personal. Almost like allowing guests into my personal living space! Haha! I’ve put a lot of effort into making customers feel cozy when they visit, because I mainly run it myself. A few hints of the family wardrobe
3. What made you want to start your own business? And, at what age did you start?
Oh! I’ve always known I’d be in a position to say, “this, is mine.” It’s in the blood, to be honest. Self-realization told me, you want to enjoy life? Do things that’ll make you happy and help you grow! So I quit my desk job, pushed away job application forms and prepared for my future. I started free lancing first in 2005, but officially took over this shop in 2010. Not a single stressful regret!
Oh sorry! A ps to question3: at 2005 I was free lance designer/party organizer at the age of 17 and started to run the shop at 23 in 2010!
4. Do you think it’s difficult to be an female entrepreneur in this world? Or do you think it’s all an equally balance nowadays?
Haha!! It’s never difficult for a woman! Please, if we can whip a boy into doing our biddings, what makes anyone think we can’t run our own businesses? Small or great! But yeah, nowadays, it’s lovely to see women doing their own thing, baking/online retail/blogging. It’s all business AND fun.
5. In your opinion, What do you think makes a person successful?
Easy, happiness! Not experience. That crud, my parents&fellow friends who work taught me! I’ve had ONE proper job in my life, I was over it because I was too strung out. Start off small, if it’s what you like doing, keep at it. The RIGHT kind of ppl will notice and publicize your work. Conforming to every single damn person’s opinion is a waste. Focus. Just focus.
6. What would your advise be to other young woman who want to start their own business?
Keep a light mood, always. Life is too thin to stress out (unless you have debts, then… Find LOTS of help) Do things that will keep you on your toes. I mean, I am a part-time teacher&avid longboarder, so I’m not entirely bored&sitting at the shop counter waiting for good fortune. Understand, growth will come in the form of knowledge, money and karma. Stay zen! If it doesn’t work out, move on, right?