Mohamed Salleh Marican
Founder and CEO
Second Chance Properties Ltd
- EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 – Business and Consumer Products
The route to success is never easy, and it was no exception for Mohamed Salleh. In fact, his early attempts at entrepreneurship threatened to bankrupt him more than once. Instead of giving up, he restrategized time and again to eventually build Second Chance into a household name.
Giving yourself second, third, and fourth chances
Following in his late father’s footsteps, Mohamed Salleh made his first entrepreneurial foray in menswear tailoring in 1974. However, he closed down the business when it did not take off. Undeterred, he re-entered the same business five months on, aptly naming it Second Chance. Realizing that tailoring will not be profitable, he ventured into men’s readymade clothing. This time, he succeeded. By 1983, he had four stores in Singapore. By 1988, he had opened 25 outlets through franchising, with 18 in Singapore and seven in Malaysia. Back then, men’s readymade clothing was extremely popular in Singapore and Malaysia due to foreign brands such as Lee. Riding on the popularity, Mohamed Salleh decided to embrace a Western image for Second Chance when advertising. With its affordable pricing and Western branding, Second Chance soon became a household name.
However, Mohamed Salleh faced his toughest challenge after he won his first big award and customers realized that Second Chance was a local brand. Sales declined sharply in a short period of time. To revive the business, Mohamed Salleh changed his strategy, closing 21 out of 25 stores. In 1992, he identified a niche and diversified into Malay lady readymade wear, First Lady. First Lady was a hit, and remains highly popular today.
Seizing golden opportunities
Following the success of First Lady, Mohamed Salleh entered the jewelry business with his next venture, Golden Chance to sell mainly gold jewelry. To differentiate Golden Chance, he allowed customers to weigh the gold before making any purchase. This was a new concept in the market that helped to gain customers’ trust.
When the Asian financial crisis struck, he spotted an opportunity again. As people started to let go of commercial properties, he snapped them up at low prices, marking the company’s venture into the property sector. This proved to be his most successful business diversification to date. Today, the company’s property arm contributes more than 60% of Group’s profits.
Under his leadership, the Group now employs more than 200 staff and runs 50 outlets in Singapore and Malaysia. Through his entrepreneurial journey, Mohamed Salleh has proven that with determination and the ability to seize opportunities, one can find success.