Women We Love 2024: Datin Noor Kartini’s Working Wisdom

The entrepreneur and mother of ten brings a certain confidence to the table in whatever she sets her sights on. Here, Datin Noor Kartini tells us about how having conviction...
text by Daween Maan
 Datin Noor Kartini

Datin Noor Kartini, Founder of Young and Glow

Datin Noor Kartini is the living embodiment of ‘having it all.’ The founder of the Young And Glow cosmetic brand is a successful entrepreneur, a mother of ten and is still starting up new ventures in 2024. Formerly more well known as ‘Neelofa’s mother’, Datin Kartini has built her own name and brand and used it to springboard herself and her family to new heights.

She keeps her cards close to her chest when I ask about what new ventures she’s working on, but gracefully redirects me to her other ongoing businesses, Aunty Tini Kitchen that produces their top-selling Daging Harimau Menangis and Kucate Tea, a herbal tea brand she founded in 2021.

“Inshallah we’ll be launching something new this year. We’re still in the planning stages and I’ll tell you more about it when we get closer to launch,” she says.

Her step into entrepreneurship was driven as much by her personal experiences as they were by her family’s growing fame. With her daughter already deeply successful in the fashion industry with her Naelofar brand of hijabs, Datin Kartini’s decision to venture into the cosmetic industry came naturally to her.


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“Before we came up with Young and Glow, I saw that there weren’t a lot of cosmetic products created by someone of my age in Malaysia. Most of the beauty founders are much younger, and their products are targeted at younger customers. So, I saw the opportunity to create something for women my age, and so we came up with the Young and Glow Foundation.”

“God-willing, my initial idea was correct, and we were successful in bringing in women my age to use our product. In fact, it’s been five years now, and we have a large portion of younger customers too who use our foundation.”

The success of Young and Glow made Datin Kartini hungry for her next venture, but she stresses that she was careful with her choices, insisting on not just jumping onto whatever was trending, and instead, focusing on smaller niches with room to grow naturally and sustainably.

“When I created Kucate, the herbal tea, I was attracted to its benefits for you, and I noticed there were not a lot of such products in the market, so I saw the opportunity there.”

Regardless of the diversity of the products she produces through her numerous brands, she asserts that her number one priority is ensuring they are of high quality.


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“I only create and sell products that I myself would use or consume. It makes it more enjoyable when you’re promoting a product you love, and it’s much easier than if you’re trying to sell something you’re not satisfied with. I also believe that it’s simple: if you make something of high quality, your customers will be satisfied and they will come back, buy more and also recommend your product to the people around them.”

“We also take our responsibility to produce safe products very seriously. We follow all government regulations in whatever we produce to make sure we don’t use any materials or ingredients that could be harmful to our customers.”

It should go without saying that entrepreneurship is risky and stressful, and in many ways is seen as something of a younger person’s game, so it is refreshing to see someone like Datin Kartini take it up. However, that doesn’t make her immune from all the regular pitfalls, and she credits her family for helping her through them.

“My family’s support is the most important part of my success. When I’m feeling down and doubtful, they’re always there to lift me up and make me stronger to move forward.”

“They are also a huge source of ideas. They’re always suggesting what products to produce, how to market certain products and just a lot of help planning the businesses. If I was doing this alone, I don’t think I would have lasted this long, and I know with them, I’ll be able to get through whatever tests lie ahead.”

 Datin Noor Kartini

Datin Noor Kartini, Founder of Young and Glow

But that doesn’t mean working with family doesn’t come with its own challenges.

“I have ten children. Whenever I have a new idea, I run it by all of them and get their opinions, and they all have their own feedback, so it becomes a challenge for me to decide who has the best ideas and opinions. But really, it’s more of a blessing than a challenge, and I’m grateful to God that I have all of them there for me.”

With several of her children having equally high profiles and larger personal brands which have become a bedrock to their businesses, Datin Kartini admits that after some minor controversy in the past, they have been very careful with how their personal conduct affects their businesses. However, she doesn’t regret how linked their personal lives and businesses are, seeing it as a boon more than a bane.

“My advice to anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur and start their own business, no matter your age, is to build your personal brand first. Put yourself out there and show what makes you special and unique, attract the attention of people and build your brand.”

 Datin Noor Kartini

Datin Noor Kartini, Founder of Young and Glow

“You will face a lot of competition, and even if you think you have the best product in the market, there will always be hundreds, if not thousands of others who are going to have a product as good as yours; the one thing that can differentiate your product is you.”

“Also don’t be afraid to take risks,” she adds. “Business is competitive, and you have to be brave to be able to take on your competitors, so don’t be afraid. And don’t be quick to give up, be strong and find a way to keep moving forward.”

I try again to pry out her future plans, but her cards don’t move an inch.

“I definitely have interesting plans in the works, but it’s too soon to share them. As soon as I can I’ll let everyone know.”

I for one look forward to what Datin Noor Kartini and her entire family come up with next.

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