Hong (center) and her beautiful family on Langkawi
There is something about Langkawi. Paul Penders’ Operations Manager Hong was born on the island and it was not until she was 16 years old that she went to the mainland to study. While in Alor Setar and Penang, she says, “I really did not go anywhere except school. Just study, maybe to a cinema. I never went anywhere…school/study/school activities eg sport/… if there was a long holiday, went out with a gang of friends for holiday/mountain hiking/beach….”When she took a job with Malaysia Airlines, she had the possibility of living almost anywhere in the country or even overseas if there were a staff shortage. Still she decided to return to Langkawi which she tells me she loves. She continued to work for nearly 15 years for the airline in customer service and ticketing at the island’s international airport.
Some of the members of the Malaysia-based staff of Paul Penders International gathered for a planning meeting. Hong is on Paul’s left (top left of photo)
Now Hong travels the world from her phone and computer. Every day of the week, she’s connecting with the UK, the USA, most of the countries in Europe. Requests come in from Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea and from elsewhere in Malaysia. “Most of the time, communications are via email with the customer unless there is an urgent matter, they’ll contact me via phone.” Luckily, she speaks three languages!
If you call the “hotline” to place a volume order for Paul Penders products, chances are you will be greeted by Hong’s warm and friendly voice. You may not see her sweet smile (unless you Skype) but you’re likely to feel it. Hong oversees the international operations from the main office on Langkawi island in Malaysia. She is in overall charge of receiving and shipping — coordinating with the several factories spread around the world to see orders are shipped correctly and in a timely manner.
Paul Penders International main office is located on Langkawi Geopark Island, Malaysia (Photo Credit: Jarina)
When a call comes in, Hong enters all details in the computer, then contacts the designated factory to tell them to start manufacturing. Each shipment of Paul Penders products is freshly made by the PP chemists in the laboratories, then the factory fills jars and bottles, boxes them, and readies the batch for shipping.
“Shipping can be quite troublesome for customers,” she says. Hong asks distributors who want large volume if they have a shipping agent. She recommends using a forwarding agent. If they have an existing relationship, then she will communicate directly with the agent. If not, she searches for a local agent to deliver the goods. She checks the shipping agent is reliable, then sends them all the necessary information for transport through customs.
“The most difficult part of my job,” she says, “is remembering all the changes that customers require.” Shipments across international borders have become so complex that constant adjustments are required.
Family is the center of Hong’s life. Her husband manages a car repair operation that has been in the family for years and many relatives gather on Langkawi for the holidays (but she says she cannot change a tire). She’s the mother of three and concerned about her children’s education and opportunities. Her eldest son is now 17 and will take his exams next fall, then they will figure out which university he will attend. Her 15-year old daughter will also be off to college in the next few years. Still she won’t have ‘an empty nest’ as her baby girl is still only 4 years old.
Hong’s children in London
She loves Langkawi, loves her job, and has such a love for life. She says she has “an excellent boss, the job is challenging, but there’s lots of good support and understanding.” When she started the job, she says, “Actually, at first I felt scared. This was almost a new field for me, especially because most of the time I have to communicate with the customer via email. Before (at the airline) I was face-to-face with customers; now you are communicating using email and phone.”
At first, she was also a little worried that to work for Paul Penders, she would have to wear a lot of cosmetics! She says, “I don’t normally like to put on makeup. I clean my face (and uses Paul Penders cleansers, moisturizers, and shampoos) but I don’t wear anything – I’m not the type of woman who likes to put on cosmetics,” especially in Langkawi’s tropical climate.
By Teviot Fairservis.
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Incredible things one can experience living on this beautiful, magical part of the world. This blog entree was sent by Hong, Operations Manager at Paul Penders Headquarters in Langkawi UNESCO Geopark island, the oldest rainforest island in the world!
The amazing flower called: “Parrot Flower” is a strongly protected species not allowed to be taken, just looking at it may be the only way to ever see this unique tropical flower.
There are sometimes points in our lives where we realize that whatever may happen to us … well… maybe it is not all that important after all compared to the world of unimaginable beauty around us?
Because who else but the Universe is able to create such a flower for example? What are our problems and difficulties in life compared to timeless and flawless beauty?
So why worry…. why not choose to be happy ?
A few days ago, Paul Penders was honored by the visit of representatives from Ayura Spa, here on Langkawi.
Also joining the meeting were representatives from Green Meadow Corp., Paul Penders’ distributor in Malaysia.
Representatives from Ayura Spa were invited by our very active distributor in Malaysia, Green Meadow Corp. in Kuala Lumper, in order to introduce them to Paul Penders’ products.
As Angelika Hartung, Director of Spa, said: “We are (always) considering bringing in new products if they are better than those we use presently.”
Angelika, who is a Naturopath, has spent more than 15 years on the natural “path”, working all over the world.
Paul Penders started out, telling the history of the company, with special emphasis on how it all started back in Holland and his refusal to test on animals.
The refusal brought Paul in the public spotlight: newspapers, TV-news, talk shows and radio interviews.
When finally Paul’s new factory was closed down by the government and he had moved to USA, the biggest surprise of all came when the products were going to be approved in the States. That happened in virtually no time! As Paul was told by the Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA): “No big deal! All your ingredients are already on the GRAS list. No need to test again!”
The GRAS list is a list of already approved ingredients in USA, which are Generally Recognized As Safe.
To this, Angelika Hartung added, that she had checked in the book “Safe Shoppers Bible” and “Paul Penders was the only producer of personal health care products that came out clean in all categories.”
Thank you for doing your homework, Angelika!
As the morning turned into noon, many aspects of spa products were discussed, followed up by a “tour of the house”, including a visit to Dr. Gatot’s laboratory.
By then, it was time for lunch before departing; a typical, local Malaysian lunch was served.
On behalf of all the Paul Penders staff, I feel safe to say that it was a very pleasant visit from Ayura Spa Langkawi.
Last Friday, everyone was asked to attend a meeting at Paul Penders office. This time, most of the Penders from Langkawi Office were there: Paul, Yvonne, Dr. Gatot, Hong, Jarina, Azizah and of course, don’t forget Steen, the new blog writer.
The meeting was mainly about Paul Penders blog which Paul attaches a lot of importance to. It’s an essential medium to spread messages across the globe…it’s the heart of Paul Penders Co. that gives a feel of who we are.
Everyone was actively participating in the brainstorming session. Not only a list of blog ideas was produces, but also opinions on the products were heard from the members.
Some of the new blog ideas included Jenny, the owner of Alun-alun Spa, who has three great spas in Langkawi and uses special products made by Paul Penders, Yvonne’s recent experiences of working with Paul Penders, and Paul Penders China.
Azizah, who is an active user of Paul Penders products gave us her honest opinions on a few of the skin care. She emphasized that everyone had different skin type. Some with dry skin, some with oily skin and some with a combination of different skin types.
Azizah personally liked the Herbal Moist Soap and the Rosemary & Calendula Cleansing Milk. She said that the soap made her skin feel moist and it could also be used on face. Although the cleansing milk wasn’t really suitable for her skin type, she liked it because she felt refreshed after use. Therefore, she suggested that consumers with oily skin should avoid Rosemary & Calendula Cleansing Milk and opt for Alpinia & Teatree Cleansing Wash instead.
The best thing is that every member in Paul Penders Co. has the privilege to have a set of Paul Penders skin care products for free! Since everyone has different skin type, each user would have different opinions on the products. The purpose of this project is to obtain everyone’s opinions from their personal experiences.
The meeting ended after about two hours. We even had lunch in the meeting room! Although we’re working, we work as a family and that’s why there’re no tense moments when we are together.