How to have great-looking hair while supporting Covid-19 frontliners in Malaysia

Kenny Mah
Half of Mentega’s profits will go into supporting Autrui Global, a social enterprise that is making personal protective equipment (PPE) for Covid-19 frontliners — Pictures by Choo Choy May and courtesy of Oven Cuttery/Mentega

PETALING JAYA, April 6 — Like many other brick-and-mortar businesses, Oven Cuttery — a barbershop in Damansara Utama here — was affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Proprietor and head barber Kevin Cottie Tan explained, “Due to the nature of our business, we rely on walk-in customers. Shutting our doors would mean no income for as long as we closed.”

What started as a two-week shutdown (the first phase was from March 18-31) has now extended another fortnight till April 14. Some form of swift pivot was necessary.

Tan said, “My first concerns are for our employees — their income and their well-being. The only way we can still bring in some income is through our online store, selling the grooming products that we have at the barbershop.”

Oven Cuttery and Mentega founder Kevin Cottie Tan found a way to pivot his business during the MCO and help frontliners at the same time

Thanks to an early decision to have diverse streams of revenue when he started, Oven Cuttery isn’t entirely brick-and-mortar; Tan runs it alongside Mentega, a line of handcrafted and hand-poured hair pomade products.

Made in small batches, every jar of Mentega hair product is sold at stockist barbershops or online on their website.

The latter remains their main form of distribution now as all non-essential businesses had to close during the shutdown.

Tan said, “We brought all the product stocks back home, so that we can use a dispatch service to deliver them to our customers. This way we don’t have to travel to the shop every time there’s an order.”

Most entrepreneurs would have left it at that, grateful that there was still an avenue left to them. Reading news about the sacrifices of the frontliners, Tan wondered how he could do more.

Tan’s hair pomade comes in a standard six-ounce jar (Mentega Classic Firm Hold) and a travel-sized one-ounce jar (Mentega Classic Jr.)

“As much as we need to survive as a company, we know that many out there are heavily affected by Covid-19, and we want to be part of the solution to end this pandemic.”

During times of trouble, we can all hunker down and bemoan our fate or we can reach out and help, contributing with our own unique talents and ability.

“The virus is what caused businesses to close their doors in the first place, so we can’t just be concerned about sales for our own shop. The sooner this ends, the better it is for everyone.”

For Tan, the tiny business pivot he had to make for Mentega was the way forward to contribute constructively.

Free delivery for all purchases and a free Mentega Jr. of your choice for any purchase of RM50 and above

Half of Mentega’s profits will go into supporting Autrui Global, a social enterprise that is helping Covid-19 frontliners by making much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for them.

Tan explained, “We are cutting down on everything possible so that products remain affordable, shipping is free and a substantial amount from sales goes to helping those in need. We also guarantee the standard of quality in all our products, as always.”

So now you can look good, styling your hair to perfection for your Zoom work meeting, even while under the shutdown, and assist the frontliners in a small way.

Every bit helps.

Learn more at Visit Mentega’s online store at (the Autrui Global campaign is only applicable for orders via Mentega’s official website) and Autrui Global at

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