Managing Director of The Body Shop
The Body Shop is well known to Malaysians from all walks of life. It’s been with us for so long that it has become an important part of our retail landscape. This kind of longevity is rare, and it’s all down to Datin Mina Cheah-Foong’s adept business skills in ensuring the UK brand continues to reap success on Malaysian as well as Vietnamese shores.
Basing her business philosophy around ethics and sustainability, Mina prides herself in running a business that prioritises today’s social issues as much as it does profit. From championing the rights of women and children to raising awareness on HIV/AIDS, it is perhaps this strong moral compass that has provided The Body Shop the positive public image that has surely contributed to its longevity.
“Profit keeps a business running, but above everything, the betterment of society must take priority,” Mina shares the mantra she abides by, and that is exactly why The Body Shop has displayed such longevity throughout the years in Malaysian shores.
Obviously someone who practises what she preaches, upon entering the Fahrenheit 88’s branch of The Body Shop is a water dispenser, to which she explains is not only for customers but also passerby to refill their water bottle to avoid the unnecessary purchasing of more plastic bottles. “We’re considering putting a sign outside to create awareness that it’s not exclusively for our customers only.”
With over 64 outlets in West Malaysia today, Mina has come a long way since 1984. Besides The Body Shop, she has also been an active campaigner for various social issues including environmental issues as well, namely that of sexism.
In her views regarding sexual discrimination, she claims that the issue is at its most sensitive stage with how subjective it can be.
“At the end of the day, a clear line has to be drawn. I do believe in the collective good in people that men and women can absolutely work together without discrimination.”Datin Mina Cheah-Foong
She further explained on the obvious gestures of sexual discrimination, one doesn’t really know of the little things that may come across as inappropriate towards women, from a simple pat on the back to just simply asking a woman out for drinks. “Education is essential in establishing a standard guideline as to what is appropriate and what isn’t.”