Hanifa Ambadar had a plan. She knew from early on that she wanted to get my master’s degree and start a family as soon as possible. So that’s what happened when she graduated from college; started her master’s and got married. Her first job out of college was working as an Assistant Manager in training for GAP Inc. But then she got pregnant and had to find a job where standing all day was not part of the job description. Ambadar found myself in Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis where she was in charge for the community development and events.

Hanifa Ambadar

Change of Plan

Ambadarin the USA and her friends in Indonesia often asked her what’s the new trend there. She usually emailed them one by one, which was quite tiring and there was no WhatsApp. So she created a blog to share those things. She had a blog for personal stuff, but she decided to create another blog about fashion & beauty. She used to have interest on web designing, so she loved to create her own template, changed the header, customized the template, and also created the contents all by herself.

But after her son was born, working + studying + managing household proved to be too ambitious to manage so she quit and decided to make a shift and take her blogging seriously. She saw that the online world was rapidly growing in that country, and thought Indonesia would soon be hit by the same trend.

“Then I said to myself that Indonesia will be following the trends in the next few years. So how do I make this into more professional? Since I wanted this to be a media or fashion and beauty industry”.

So, she  found my partner Affi Assegaf who was working at MAC Cosmetics, and also another friend Dhisti who used to be an Editor at Femina and Dewi magazine (Indonesian Fashion Magazine) and was working in fashion industry in New York City. So, people started this are people who were really passionate on this field.

Female's Daily founders

Started in 2005, and blog became a powerful marketing media by 2007. Novita Imelda was one of the early members who later joined the team in 2011 as an investor and also serves as operational director of the company.

 

Female Daily Aims To Empower

When it was first launched, femaledaily.com reported on all manner of female-related content, from fashion to makeup. Today, the website focuses only on beauty. The platform offers articles, product reviews, as well as a community forum for members to exchange information and experiences on beauty topics. It has over eight million page views and two million unique users per month, with 450 new registered members per day.

After more than a decade from its inception, the trio saw how some of their members, who were once young women, have now become a working mother, and they felt the need to have a specialized platform for all the working moms out there to share stories about parenting, balancing life and me-time — and so mommiesdaily.com was launched. “The web is not only for the moms who have a 9-to-5 job; it’s for women who do positive things like owning your own business or working from home. We want to empower women,” says Novita.

They themselves have become the poster girl for independent women who juggle their time between taking care of family and dealing with the tough business world. In a way, they inspire today’s young girls to dream big and be independent in a society where gender inequality still very much exists. “To become a CEO, you need to have a clear vision and mission and know how to communicate that to the rest of the team,” says Affi. They confessed that women occupying top business positions could also be very competitive and judgmental toward each other.

“I mean, there aren’t many women who are at the top management level so let’s just help each other, don’t see other females as competition,” explains Ambadar.

In 2014 the company secured US$1 million (RM4.11 million) series A investment led by Ideosource, followed by Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV), and Convergence Ventures. In that same year Hanifa Ambadar was chosen as an Endeavor Entrepreneur and participated in its International Selection Panel. The experience resulted in FDN’s shift in its business approach to focus on one vertical. The company chose to devote itself to beauty.

“One of the things I learned during my entrepreneurship journey is the importance of focus. It is better to focus on one vertical and claim the throne. We are not there yet, but until we get there, beauty will be FDN’s main focus,” she said.

 

Going Mobile

FDN is planning to launch its basic mobile application next month, and will slowly add more features until the mobile app is enhanced enough to have its own e-commerce features next year. “The beauty market has huge potential, and this is the market that we want to win. With e-commerce, we will complete the circle,” Hanifa added.

Research firm Euromonitor International predicts that Indonesia will enter the top 10 global skin-care markets in the next four years. It will also see a 10% to 15% average annual market growth rate. Indonesia is home to 92 million Internet users, 45% of whom access the Net through smartphones. As the nation’s largest online beauty community platform Female Daily Network (FDN) realized very quickly that it needed to focus on building its mobile customer base in order to maintain its position at the top.

“Almost 80% of Female Daily’s traffic comes from mobile devices. It was enough to create a sense of urgency for the company to come up with a good mobile application,” Hanifa Ambadar told Digital News Asia (DNA).

“Indonesia is definitely a mobile-first country that was very fast in terms of adopting social media. This helps companies like us to grow. Users are online anytime, and we can catch their attention throughout the day,” she continued.

Female's Daily

In order to enhance their mobile strategy, stay relevant and gain new customers as well as members, FDN recently acquired mobile development company J-Technologies (J-Tech). J-Tech began as a US-based mobile application startup. In 2015 its entire in-house development team moved to Indonesia to reduce costs, while keeping its user interface and experience (UI/UX) design team in the US. FDN paid an undisclosed amount to acquire J-Tech whose CEO Han Kao will join FDN as its chief product officer.

“I am delighted to join Hanifa and her passionate team and extremely excited to build innovative products that will enrich the lives of such a strong and captivated audience as Female Daily’s,” Han said in an official statement. Ambadar had quickly realised that designing a decent mobile application was not easy as you have to put everything you want users to see in one tiny page. It must be enough to make visitors want to stay for the amount of time needed to become familiar with FDN’s offerings.

“We have grown so much over the past few years with very minimal technology deployed and just a tiny tech team. It has helped us reach where we are now, but in order to scale the business, we need good technology and a dedicated tech team,” she admitted.

 

Focus and Adapt

Digital industry is a fast moving world, there’s always new technology, new competitors, new business model, and products that suddenly no longer relevant anymore to our everyday life because consumer behavior changes quickly online. Female Daily is very different now since the day it was born, the company has shifted direction quite a few times, canceled new product launch and set a new goal. The main reason – to keep up with the upcoming trend and try our best to still be relevant and ahead of others.

“I can never project what’s going to happen in 5 years time. We just have to focus on month-to-month growth and be ready to adapt and adjust. Business model can change but our vision and purpose stay the same. It is to be the company that best understands women, empower women and connect women to each other.” says Ambadar.

And they are starting with beauty. So there’s no point asking what the company’s long-term plan is because they have never really put too much stress on it, and the digital world is constantly changing anyway. Their only wish is to ensure that the website remains relevant to Indonesian women for the next 10 years.

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