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Signature Market’s founders John Cheng and Edwin Wang share their 7-year journey

Malaysia’s fastest-growing wellness brand, Signature Market, is dedicating their 7th birthday to celebrating their team and the community around them. We speak with founders John Cheng and Edwin Wang on the brand’s journey so far.

Signature Market has long been a household name as Malaysia’s top FMCG wellness brand, having made a mark all across Southeast Asia. Since its inception 7 years ago, Signature Market has brought the best natural products at accessible prices to encourage consumers to live healthier, well-balanced lifestyles.

“It has become more than just a health food company — it’s a platform for our team to expand their creativity, and a place for the community to find healthier food and lifestyle options at accessible prices,” says John Cheng, COO and co-founder of Signature Market. “We owe our success to those who have helped lift us up and built us to become stronger.”

Founders Edwin Wang and John Cheng of Signature Market

The brand has always focused on the importance of elevating the lives of its team members and communities around them. Behind Signature Market’s achievements stands a team of passionate and creative young professionals who have dedicated themselves to crafting new products that empower its consumers.

As we celebrate their milestones, John and Edwin talk about the brand and how far it has come to get to where it is today.

How did your journey with Signature Market begin? What was the driving factor that led to Signature Market’s commitment to focus on natural products?

J&E: In 2014, we saw the start of a new worldwide business model that provided products directly to consumers (D2C). And while Malaysia is famous for food, we noticed that the distribution channels could be expensive and weren’t accessible to smaller food/FMCG brands.

That’s when we decided to try out the D2C model. We found it interesting because of its many advantages, the biggest of which was that the channel would put us directly in contact with customers and allow us to ship freshly baked products. We would also be able to get honest feedback from our customers almost immediately. We thought it could solve some of the biggest problems in food and beverage FMCGs – maintaining freshness and the use of food preservatives. And we decided to focus on healthy and natural products because our research showed that Malaysia has one of the highest diabetic and obesity rates in SEA. We had begun our healthy eating journey, and we wanted to encourage our fellow Malaysians to eat healthy too.

What do you think other health food companies can learn about the importance of natural products?

J: Simple is always better. Consumers nowadays are educated and have started to choose real, whole foods as compared to processed food with harmful ingredients.

What does a healthy, well-balanced meal look like to you?

J: To me, “health” is more than what you should or shouldn’t eat — it’s a lifestyle. Whatever you eat, make sure you eat in moderation. Consciously make the choice between meals that bring you joy and meals that sustain you and give you energy. But the main principle I live by is, “less is more”.

What are some of your favourite, must-have snacks from Signature Market?

J: I like almost all the snacks and beverages, because I’ve curated them to be healthy and also delicious. But if I had to choose my favourite snacks, they would be the Hawaiian Salted Coconut Cookies, the Low Carb Trail Mix, Tangy Tomato Chickpea and Lentil Chips, and the Country Salted Sourdough Crackers. My favourite drinks are the Arabica Brown Rice Coffee with Organic Soy Milk and the Japanese Houjicha Latte with Organic Soy Milk.

Low Carb Trail Mix from Signature Market
Tell us more about Plant Origins, and the ‘Gratitude Journal’.

E: When developing a healthy lifestyle, apart from physical health, we also need to take care of our mental and spiritual health. We started Plant Origins in 2019 in an effort to make aromatherapy more affordable to the masses. Environment, music, and scents are three of the most important factors that contribute to affecting our moods.

In 2020, Plant Origins slowly became a crucial part of households because of the Work From Home trend that encouraged people to upscale their home environments with essential oils, which have been proven to uplift moods and spark creativity and happiness.

This year, we took mental health and wellness to the next level by launching the Gratitude Journal to advocate the benefits of living with and appreciating the abundance around us. With this came the launch of a new department that organises free virtual events to educate the public on the importance of good mental healthcare.

The ongoing pandemic and lockdowns have no doubt affected businesses nationwide, both physical and online. How has it affected Signature Market, and what did the team do to overcome these challenges?

E: Due to the pandemic, we scaled down our international expansion plans and focused our attention on Malaysia. Last year we closed down our Thailand and Singapore units and are currently serving our Singapore customers from our Malaysia fulfillment hub. And as a way to contribute to society, we launched a lot of initiatives that focused on mental health awareness and wellness.

What are Signature Market’s plans to further expand its local production facilities to meet the ongoing demand of healthy products internationally?

E: We recently bought a factory and piece of land in Balakong that will be our integrated D2C fulfillment centre in the near future. We’re also exploring digitising and automating our systems to improve our efficiency.

What’s next for Signature Market? What does the platform have in store for the future?

J&E: We are upgrading ourselves as a lifestyle FMCG brand with a vision to upgrade community lifestyles and well-being in Asia. At Signature Market, we fully believe that everyone deserves to live happy & fulfilled lives, and we hope that through the education of conscious living, the community around us will learn that happiness starts from improving not just our physical health, but also our mental and spiritual health.

For more information on their birthday celebrations and their extensive range of products, visit Signature Market on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or the Signature Market website.

Signature Market’s founders John Cheng and Edwin Wang share their 7-year journey

Hailing from an English Literature & Creative Writing background, Yasmin has a deep love for fiction and poetry. When she’s not writing or café-hopping, she spends most of her time in the comfort of her own room binge-watching period romances, (badly) belting out show tunes, and curating Spotify playlists to match her mood for the week.

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