Khairiyyah Sari: Bringing Celebrity Assets into Fashion-Lovers' Closets


Being a fashionista is not always identical with excessive consumption of branded items. Khairiyyah Sari is even able to turn her love of fashion into a business idea. 

Sari, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and graduated from Fashion Styling Program in Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, is a former fashion and beauty editor at Femina magazine. She is currently enjoying her role as a style consultant, blogger and co-founder of bebelian.com, an online store that sells second-hand designer bags from Indonesian celebrities.    

LiveOlive had the opportunity to know more about this chic entrepreneur through a brief interview.

LO: When you were growing up, what was money like for you?

Sari: Money is valuable, especially if we work for it. This makes us appreciate money and we will not buy anything carelessly. Money makes us more mature, for instance when I am shopping for fashion items, I would consider whether those items have “value for money” or not. I would consider quality and not quantity.

LO: What have your parents taught you about money?

Sari: They taught me that we should live well and not extravagantly. This means we have enough things to eat, things to wear, a place to live in, as well as good education. Plus, enough (money) to be able to travel at least twice a year.

I actually learned a lot from my Mom. She is really good in managing money. Thanks to her efficiency with money, we have been traveling around the world since I was young. She was also able to buy some properties from her savings. However, I realized that I am still not as skillful as her. Honestly, I am not very good with Math. So, I’m lucky now that I have a husband who is good with numbers. I am so the opposite of my Mom.

LO: What triggered you to set up a business?

Sari: I have been introduced to (fashion) industry since I joined a modeling competition and I love bags. However, I would be very happy if I can get desirable fashion items at low price. After knowing that there are many Hollywood celebrity items being auctioned (on eBay), I started to think, “Why not creating the same thing by collecting items from Indonesian celebrities, but without the auction process?” Besides, my job at that time allowed me to meet many celebrities for photo shoot purposes. Later on, I asked my friend, Dewi Rezer, to be my business partner.  

LO: How much did you need to start the business?

Sari: When we launched bebelian.com on January 10th 2011, we only spent around Rp 5 million to pay for the web designer and maintenance. We did not need much because basically I am the one who writes the articles and tips on the website. When we started, our “capital” was the trust given by our celebrity friends. At the beginning, we already had five celebrities who want to sell their bags on bebelian.com. Today, we have a lot more and the number keeps increasing.    

LO: Were there any difficulties or fear to overcome when you started the business?

Sari: I didn’t have any fear, really. At that time, it did popped in my head, “What if we couldn’t sell the items?” However, after the launch, Dewi and I became more confident that this project would succeed.

LO: In the past few years, there must be challenges that you have to face. What kind of improvement that you makes to run this business?

Sari: The challenge for bebelian.com is how we can constantly have celebrity clients. So, since last year, Dewi and I are not only focusing in selling items from celebrities but also items that once belonged to fashion people –such as fashion designer and editor, as well as socialites and businessmen. Also, we are not just selling bags, but we have expanded to shoes and other accessories. Dewi and I keep on finding new ideas so that our site visitors will not get bored. That is why readers can also find details about the bag and how to use it with style.

LO: Do you have tips for anyone who wants to start a business?

Sari: It is better to work on something that we are passionate about. That way, we will be happy doing it. When it comes to selling things, there will be a time when the products won’t sell; it doesn’t matter because eventually we will be able to sell them.

LO: What is your motto in managing money?

Sari: Oh, I still need to learn more to talk about life motto. But I have principle not to buy things I can’t afford. Forget prestige! Buy something because you really like it, not because you simply want to follow the trend and peer pressure. I’m not a heavy credit card user, so I will only shop when I can afford it. If I still can’t afford to buy the latest fashion collection, I will wait until the sale season comes. For bags, I don’t mind to buy second-hand items as long as they are still in good condition.

LO: What was the best money decision you have ever made?

Sari: When I decided to start investing. I feel a bit smarter now! So far, I have invested in property and insurance. Why? Well, property value tends to keep on increasing. Meanwhile, buying luxury brands can also be an investment, but it is not essential.  

LO: What was the worst money decision you have ever made?

Sari: Honestly, I have never made one. Maybe it is because I only buy something if I can afford it. If not, then no problem, I will not buy it.  

LO: What is your definition of prosperity?

Sari: Being prosperous is when we are happy and enjoying life with what we already have. Let’s call it, being grateful. If you feel complete or fulfilled, then you can say that you are prosperous.

LO: What are your plans within five years from now?

Sari: Definitely having kids and raising them. Traveling with them. Also, my book launch should have been done by then. Last but not least, keep doing what I love to do.

Read more: The Hidden Truth About Discounts

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