Norma Ibrahim or better known Emma Ibrahim is a name that is already synonymous with shoes. This elegant lady completed her Degree in International Business Administration in Maine Business School, USA. She started her working career with Bank Bumiputra in 1992. Wanting something more than just being a bank officer, Emma decided to venture into some other businesses and made her decision to move to Kuala Lumpur in 2003. This ambitious lady is someone who is always looking for opportunities to explore further in business. A friend suggested that she should start a shoe making business and assured her that opening a shoe factory would be ideal at that time as there was no such factory in Sarawak. That gave her the determination to explore this new business opportunity.
Hence, Emma gave up all that she had in Kuala Lumpur, including her job as a Chief Executive Officer of a well establish company in 2005, to return to Kuching to start her own shoemaking business. Being a shoe aficionado, Emma has hundreds of luxury brand name shoes including Prada, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Chanel and lots more but still these were not enough. She told herself, the ultimate satisfaction would be having her own label. Hence, that is the turning point for this stylish, strong and ambitious woman to start her own shoe business. And the ‘journey’ began…
In 2006, Emma Ibrahim founded Red Profile Sdn Bhd (Red Profile), starting her business with a RM100,000 facilitation fund from the Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad (SME Bank) and setting up her factory in Padawan. Getting into the shoemaking business was not as easy as some may think, because this business demands high commitment. Red Profile’s first order came from Sarawak Shell Berhad in 2006 for working shoes and safety boots for their National Day parade on August 31. As the founder, Emma Ibrahim felt contented to get such a big order to kick start her business. That was a memorable moment in her shoemaking business.
Emma strongly believes that as a business owner, one must have a full grasp of the business she is getting into and not depend solely on the workers. With that in mind, this hard working and determined mother of four good looking boys enrolled herself in an intensive shoemaking course in the USA. With a heavy heart she had to leave her children to pursue her dream. Nevertheless, she was grateful that she had her parents to take care of them while she was away. Emma completed the six-month course in shoe design and shoe making with a certificate from the International Shoemaking Design School, USA in 2008.
After returning from the US, inspired by her teacher who told her that she is very talented, creative and can go far in the shoe making business, Emma decided for Red Profile to diversify the business into making ladies shoes. She then created another label under Red Profile called Emma Daniel. The retail outlet for Emma Daniel is located at Bangunan Baitulmal in Kuching.
To ensure that Red Profile remains competitive, Emma took in a skilled workforce, some from Indonesia, to help her produce high quality shoes at the factory. Red Profile was awarded a government contract to make boots and safety wear shoes and has been securing the contract for a couple of years now. That gave Emma the confidence to start focusing on the Emma Daniel label. Today, Emma Daniel footwear has travelled across the country and adored by many including celebrities and beauty queens. Just recently, Emma herself designed a shoe under the Emma Daniel label for Miss Malaysia World 2016 contestant Francisca Luhong James.
Red Profile emphasises on quality and comfort in a shoe, and that has made it the preferred choice of its customers. Red Profile also became the ideal choice of the state government for safety boots and working shoes for firefighters, police and nurses. In October 23, 2015 Red Profile was named one of the SME 100 Fast Moving Forward Company Awards from among 6,000 entries in Kuala Lumpur.
Emma draws inspiration from many shoe designers but Jimmy Choo will always remain her number one choice. She looks up to Jimmy Choo as her idol. She also fancy brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo. Even though Red Profile has become a successful venture, she always takes the opportunity to take part in programmes organised by government agencies in her effort to strengthen her business.
Red Profile is currently planning to expand its business to international markets. The company is currently looking at opportunities to penetrate the Middle East and hope that this venture will materialise soon.
Among the memorable awards won by Emma herself and Red Profile are:-
Usahawan Ikon Karnival Usahawan Desa (KUD) 2016 Peringkat Negeri Sarawak by the state government,
Anugerah 50 Wanita Inspirasi Nona Malaysia,
The Prestigious ISO 20374:2004. (Red Profile had its shoe products examined and checked by the Science and Technology Research Insitute for Defense (Stride) and received a 5S certificate from the National Productivity Council).
Emma’s future plan is to bring Red Profile and Emma Daniel to the global market and she intends to start by opening more outlets nationwide as well as in Jakarta and Dubai. She believes there is a wide market and high demand in those countries.