Angeline Francis Khoo featured in Prestige Malaysia
ODDLY ENOUGH THOUGH the daughter of former beauty queen Pauline Chai and Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng was born in Australia and raised in Canada. Malaysia has anaged to hold a special spot in Angeline Khoo's heart. "Being the birthplace of my mother is from Ipoh. I guess it sort of clarifies my attachment for the country. I have learnt everything I need to know from my mother, from having strong values to being a lady. "She is my main inspiration for inner and outer beauty," she shares with Prestige Malaysia.
Even before the launch of her online boutique last December, Khoo was no stranger o the fashion retail business, especially since she was constantly surrounded by discussions involving the family business, particularly Metrojaya and Laura Ashley, even at a very young age. "I have always wanted to create a brand that is fun and attractive to help boost the confidence of a woman. However, I have decided to take it one step further with my latest venture by creating opportunities for the marginalised groups, providing them with sufficient training an employment," she describes briefly about her newfound label, Rosie On Fire.
Her collection features the modern kimonos, which is a re-image version o the traditional Japanese floral full-length robe with flutter sleeves garment, revived into a casual cardigan to suit today's urban women who are constantly on the go. "There are a ton of variations out in the market, but what makes our kimonos unique is the very distinct cut that creates the most flattering drape and flow to suit any body shape. Here, each kimono is sewn to exact standards and is produced in small quantities to preserve its uniqueness. Every piece of fabric has been personally hand selected by me from various countries to be crafted into our kimonos," Khoo explains.
She also adds that the particular cut will make the design evergreen and remains as a staple in any wardrobe. "At Rosie On Fire, you can be assured that there is something to meet every age group and lifestyle," she continues confidently. Currently, it offers four variations of kimonos: Classic Kimono, Baby Kimono, Long Kimono and Silk Classic Kimono. "Thus far, our Iris Classic is the most well-received piece. It is a stunning rainbow-coloured, ombré chiffon kimono which has eye-catching essences that are playful and magical at the same time," she describes vividly.
However, what makes Rosie On Fire distinctive is its commitment to employ local talent. The company was created by Khoo as a result of her love for everything beautiful and fun as well as her desire to make the world a happier place. "The heart of Rosie On Fire is to empower people and create opportunities for others." Khoo says before revealing that she is on a mission to do good by considering both the human and commercial aspects at every stage of the decision-making process. "We aim to help marginalised people - especially women at risk and families from the lower income group - gain meaningful income and better opportunities in life. We have a long-term vision to have autistic individuals gain employment within the company, in roles suitable to their strengths too," she says.
After six months of operation, I wondered if there were any matters that she would have done differently for Rosie On Fire. "Looking back, I think there are several things I wish I had done differently. Namely, I would have been stricter with the quality control and paid more attention to providing the exact standard of manufacturing from the start. In a way, I would have made sure that the project was airtight before it went live." she says. Khoo continues that she would also have run her business plan sooner with her brother. Sadly, she only thought about it six months after and when Khoo finally showed her proposal to him, he mercilessly criticised her revenue model up to the point that she had to revise everything from scratch. "If I could change these past mistakes, it would have saved me a lot of time, effort and cost," she says.
But how did Khoo come up with such a unique name for her first online boutique? "Truth be told, my brother advised me to refrain from bringing this up to in public to its ridiculous factor," she reveals but decides to be a rebellious little sister and go on with her story cheekily. "We have been working on developing the business for six months but a name still had not struck in. I wanted something feminine yet playful and I wanted it to be perfect. Sadly, nothing seemed to fit," she laments. Then everything changed when she found a surprise treat left by a secret admirer. "It was a lovely pink cake with flavours that were an exciting blend of sweet, salty and spicy profiles. I was truly taken aback by the unforeseen elements all hidden in an innocent-looking dessert. I'm not proud to admit that I ate the whole cake myself, but fortunately, I did gain a name from it!"
Apart from the name being a surprise, Khoo is an unexpected package herself. "I read law in England and did my Masters at Oxford before I decided to start my own business and step out of my comfort zone," she shares. Throughout the years, Khoo was involved in the family business in some capacity and as she grew older, it became a natural progression and the recognition of the opportunities she had that were not available to others became very apparent. "My mother always made it a point to instil the understanding that we are very fortunate to have the experiences we have had. Gradually, the desire to strike out on my own became stronger," she admits with her new found confidence.