Feature Story – Zaslin Maidin

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With a tireless work ethic and steel like determination, Zaslin Maidin has proven that it is possible to start at the bottom of a company and work your way up to the top. She started her career at The Body Shop when she was just 18 years old as a Product Advisor and today at the age of 36 she is the General Manager. This young woman has had the courage to follow her heart even when people doubted her and it is this unflagging selfbelief that has enabled her to succeed.

“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just “ Anita Roddick

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The Body Shop at The Mall, Brunei

Zaslin explained how she got started at The Body Shop, “I left school after I’d finished my O’Level exams. At that time I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was happy enough being at home for a while. But then one day my aunt told me that The Body shop was expanding and were looking for staff and she asked me if I was interested. I decided to go to the interview even though at that time there were not many girls like me doing that type of work. And guess what? The Area Manager at that time, Sally interviewed me and I got the job. I had never worked before so I was like a blank canvas, innocent, with no idea about the working world. But from the very start of my career I had a very open mind and a “can do” attitude. As time passed I began to love my job. I worked very long hours but I didn’t mind because I really enjoyed interacting with customers.” As a Product Advisor Zaslin took her job very seriously, she spent many hours learning about her products and about her customers’ likes and dislikes; she also took the initiative to do inventories, order stock and to make sure that the shop was always kept clean and tidy. Her drive and motivation did not go unnoticed.

Within a few years Zaslin was promoted to the role of Supervisor, Assistant Manager and then to Manager. At this stage of her career, she’d discovered that she had a natural ability for visual merchandising and took pride in making sure that her outlet always had eye catching product posters and displays. In addition to this she carefully studied the directives that were given from the Head Office in Singapore and tailored them to suit the local market. In her role as Manager she also had the task of choosing the right employees – a job which she sees as critical to ensure the optimum running of the company. In (year) Zaslin was promoted to the position of General Manager, she sees this as her opportunity to “lead from the top by setting the right example.” This experienced and talented multitasker tries as much as possible to visit all seven branches of The Body Shop in order to keep in touch with staff and to find out what’s happening at ground level.

When it comes to dealing with her employees her motto is a simple but powerful one, “Always treat people the way that you would like to be treated”. Therefore she takes a keen interest not only in the training of staff but also goes the extra mile to make sure that they are happy. She said that the experience gained while working in her previous roles has made her a good listener who is better able to empathise with her employees. This coupled with an open door policy means that any issues which may arise can be quickly dealt with so that staff can work more efficiently. Of utmost importance to Zaslin is being able to continue to improve working conditions for her employees as she recognises that they are the backbone of the company.

“To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.” Anita Roddick

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In terms of The Body Shop’s retail strategies, Zaslin knows that in order to stay ahead of her competitors she needs to keep abreast of what is happening on the local market and come up with new creative ideas that will engage customers as individuals. She recalled her special make up promotion which was done in conjunction with Mumtaz Collection.

Customers and their friends were encouraged to come in store for a beauty workshop and were also shown different ways of wearing the hijab – a unique and fun idea that was ideal for this market and one that received an enthusiastic response. More importantly, Zaslin wants every customer who walks into any branch of The Body Shop to expect exceptional service as she recognises that is the key to continued success. She proudly added that for her “The Body Shop is not only about quality products, attractive displays and professional service, it is about getting people involved in helping with community projects – making a positive difference.” This is an aspect of the business which she believes differentiates The Body Shop from other beauty companies and one which she is dedicated to promoting.

When asked if she had any mentors, Zaslin answered, “First of all my Mum and Dad have always supported and given me good advice and my Mum’s been there to help with my kids and I truly appreciate that. I am also grateful to Victoria Engku, who was the General Manager at The Body Shop in Sabah – she guided me with constructive criticism, believed in my abilities and gave me the opportunity to prove myself.” So what’s in store for Zaslin in the future? Right now, she is contented with her accomplishments but still feels that there is more room for learning and development – her aim is to empower tomorrow’s achievers – she wants to show them that if you love what you do, and are motivated and hard working you can reach the top.

“To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.” Anita Roddick

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!