By Team Dia on May 19th, 2021
When Aisha suggested we share our personal reflections about Dia’s six month anniversary, my initial thought was, “Aish, the last time I wrote anything remotely comprehensible was during my Master’s three years ago.” My second thought was remembering the first few pitches to brands we’ve admired for years. I’m not much of a public speaker, so you can imagine the anxiety that came with having to present to these well-established creators. We read over our notes numerous times, over-prepared answers to all possible questions, and over-analyzed every hypothetical outcome. Fast forward to today and we are extremely grateful and proud to call 20 (and counting!) of these beautiful brands our partners..
It goes without saying that with all these highs, we’ve also felt a number of lows. Even before having begun, it was drilled into us that building a company from the ground up is never easy. To induce further worry, many were questioning whether it was the right decision to start a company with two of my closest friends. But if I’m completely honest, I’ve never known two better women who truly understand the meaning of empowering and supporting one another, and whom I’d trust with running a successful and purpose-driven business. I know our road ahead will have many more speed bumps, but I am so excited to journey along with these ladies.
“Sikit-sikit lama-lama menjadi bukit”
Bit by bit and eventually it’ll become a mountain.
Growing up, this Malay proverb was often repeated to me by my teachers and parents to remind me that the pursuit of something great requires patience and continuous effort. While we’ve by no means made a mountain in the past six months, I can’t help but admire the small hill we’ve built. Since our launch in November, we’ve grown the number of brands on Dia by more than threefold, and have shipped orders to customers in six different countries across four continents!
The seeds for Dia were planted a year ago — Alia, Aisha and I have always been big supporters of local and Southeast Asian brands. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw them struggle to adapt their brick-and-mortar businesses to a world that suddenly became digital-by-default. We built Dia to help those brands by building them a bridge to reach customers around the world. While the day-to-day of running a company can sometimes feel mundane — website issues, analyzing data, preparing sales and financial statements — it’s that mission, as well as the infectious enthusiasm of my co-founders, that keeps me moving forward, step-by-step. I look forward to seeing what the next six months and six years will bring!
Two days after we launched Dia on November 10th 2020, I told my mother that for the first time in what felt like years, I felt deeply proud about my work. Many moments have shaken my sense of self-belief but the belief in Dia’s mission has never wavered. And maybe that’s what it feels like when you’re building something bigger than yourself, for people you don’t even know yet, and that you hope will last even after you’ve stepped away.
In the past six months I have: Cried while driving to our warehouse, held products that inspired awe, developed back aches after labeling, jumped for joy at a sale, woke up from anxiety-filled work dreams, had countless Zoom calls full of belly laughs, questioned my capabilities, and felt my heart swell with gratitude for not only my co-founders, but also for everyone who took even a fraction of their day to express their support. Alia, Kylie, and I always joke that Dia is our “baby” but it’s true — we are raising this brand with patience and love and Dia is coming to learn its family and place in the world. There’s plenty of growing pains and growing up to get through...but isn’t that what makes life exciting?
In case you missed our global community’s gratitude special:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Team Dia is made up of Dia’s three co-founders: Kylie, Alia, & Aisha. They are friends from Malaysia who decided to create Dia in 2020 out of love for their home region. They have lived across the world and have worked in government, big data, journalism, hospitality, and market research. They’d love for you to join the Dia community.