Motivated to create something that is inspired by her roots and her home, Kanchalika brought her priceless Thai philosophies and wisdom into the eco-wellness skincare, creating the magical and beautiful union that is MALAKO.
When MALAKO’s creator Kanchalika Stephenson first arrived in the UK from Thailand, what meant to be a happy new beginning was hindered by her eczema and Keliotosis Pilaris. Her skin, unfamiliar to a climate much different from the one she was used to in Southeast Asia, was unable to adapt to the sudden change in environment, causing her to suffer from those conditions. Steroid-based medication was the prescribed form of treatment, leaving her in a dilemma of being dependent on a drug that, while controlling her condition, was causing equally-as-unpleasant side-effects of dry and sensitive skin.
Frustrated with her options, Kanchalika started seeking alternative methods to control her eczema, researching on natural ingredients with little or no side effects. Turning to her Thai origins, Kanchalika knew that there were many alternatives that are therapeutic and potentially effective to solve her predicament. However, she soon found out that skincare which takes advantages of the effective ingredients from Thailand are far and few between in the UK.
We managed to sneak in a bit of time to ask Kanchalika a few questions!
What inspired you to start this business?
Apart from the urge to be my own boss and do something I love, I always want to create something that is inspired by my root, my home. It started when I moved from Thailand to the UK and the condition of my skin had changed quite rapidly. I was suffering from eczema and KP, and I had to use a steroid on my skin to calm the skin down. That led to my skin became so dry after using this chemical and very sensitive.
I’ve tried many products in the UK market to help with my skin condition, but I couldn’t find anything that would improve and strengthen my skin without becoming dependent on steroid. I then turned to research more on natural ingredients, especially Thai and Western ingredients and found that, although I have access to Western ingredients, I rarely find products with Thai ingredients in it. The fact that there are so many therapeutic ingredients in Thailand which I rarely encountered, gave me the idea to start MALAKO.
What keeps you going?
It’s the happiness I’ve never experienced before from being my own boss and doing something I love. To create the products, building positive messages and brand that is meaningful and purposeful for others, while getting the positive feedbacks from people around me, helps me keep going.
Who is your role model that gets you motivated as an entrepreneur?
My mom is my role model. She’s the person who’s always taught me to be an ethical business person – build the business to help people, not to take from people.
What are some of your highlights/challenges since starting your business?
The most challenging aspect of running my brand is to trust the process and to trust the path I’ve taken and keep going.
Anything else to add?
MALĀKO comes from Thai word ‘ma-la-call’, which means papaya in Thai.
In Thailand, we create beautiful dishes from papaya and it’s the kind of food that you simply can’t eat it alone (it will taste not quite right if you eat alone..for some reason). We sit around, gather in circle. And the moment we have this dish together, we start to open up the conversation. We talk, we share stories and wisdom. And this is the moment I wanted to continue with my brand. The brand that opens up conversation, shares wisdom and ideas with other small businesses and community to create something magical together.
The Local Collective
Our story-telling platform to tell the philosophies of local businesses all around the United Kingdom.