“This is an unusual family business that saw four family friends come together to form the Wen Ken Group, which offered over-the-counter traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the non-affluent market,” explains Fu Shou Jeen, the Executive Director of the company.
Wen Ken offered cooling water, cough relief medication, balms and skin solutions, but has honed its offering. Its halal-certified Three Legs cooling water, of which around one million bottles are sold daily in Singapore Malaysia and Indonesia, seems to have best straddled the various cultures in the region.
Three Legs has recently launched some fruit-flavoured waters (guava, lychee and lime) that cool you down by taking away the “heatiness” in your system. It’s a concept that Western medicine has slowly come to appreciate.
Shou Jeen explains the concept of “heatiness” in this video.
The family business is in its third generation, with two of the original four families actively engaged in producing medicinal products.
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Over generations, interests within family lines shift, but the changing shape of doing business today makes it necessary to adapt quickly. Hence, the conscious decision on the part of the Shou Jeen and his brother, Siang Jeen, Wen Ken’s Managing Director, is to enable the sustained growth of the business.
Shou Jeen appreciates that not every member of subsequent generations of a family business may be interested in being involved in it. Wen Ken is thus, not averse to having a management team brought in if needed.
It normally takes around 10 to 15 years to train someone new to the business to become successfully engaged with the company and its practices, explains Shou Jeen.
Three Legs is looking to new markets, like Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos, so the brand is looking to refresh itself. It is in the process of updating its logo to appeal to the Millennial market. The new look is expected to be implemented in 2018.
“The Millennials are leaning towards herbal and natural treatments. Their knowledge of the Three Legs product is quite high; around 80%. Of this around 50% buy the product,” Shou Jeen reckons.
The intention is clearly to carry on running.