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Malaysian Head Turners

Malaysian Head Turners

Nan ZhangGossipGirlsS&SHeadband-22_250h Actress Nan Zhang Wearing S&S Headband - The CW - Gossip Girls - Gossip Girl - Season 5 - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

When you think of gorgeous and unique hair accessories do you think of the City of Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia?

I certainly didn't until I heard about Malaysian Head Turners Sereni Linggi and Shentel Lee whose fun, cheeky and quirky headbands have taken the hair accessory world by storm.

Lady Gaga Inspiration

The two best friends who are the famous Malaysian head turners got their start at a Lady Gaga concert. When Sereni and Shentel heard their idol was performing in Singapore in 2009 they decided to make costume to wear to the show.

They loved to hand make their own fashions and the Gaga concert was a great reason to pull out all the stops.

After making beautiful sequined T-shirts they amped it up with matching headbands decorated with massive bows.

Wearing their creations to the concert won them a lot of attention from many Gaga fans who wanted to know where they could purchase the headbands.

GossipGirlsS&SHeadband-23_250h Actress Amanda Setton Wearing an S&S Headband in The CW's Gossip Girls - Father Of The Bride - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

The result?  The reaction they received at the concert triggered the creation of the hair accessory business which they started with an initial investment of RM30,000 ($9,500.00).

S&S Hair Accessories Are In High Demand In Southeast Asia

From gem-studded pieces, pearl and crystal embroidered tiaras to whimsical bunny and origami-like colorful bows, their eponymous brand Sereni & Shentel (S&S) one-of-a-kind brightly colored headbands have become super popular.

The hair accessories are in demand by many hair accessory fans in South-East Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.

S&S has an online e-store for anyone to purchase the headbands.

Although Sereni & Shentel offer free shipping anywhere in Malayasia, International shipping combined with customers and/or import duties which are charged once the parcel arrives can be very costly in some cases.

Shipping From Malaysia To The US

The actual S&S headbands are very economically priced in Malaysian Ringgits or MRs. Although the exchange rate changes constantly, an estimated exchange for a S&S headband priced at 78MR is $24.57. A S&S headband priced at 500MR might ring in at $157-$158.00 US.

S&SHeadband2-21_250h Actress Alice Callahan Wearing an S&S Headband in The CW's Gossip Girls - Father Of The Bride - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Shipping from Malaysia to the US, depending on the method can range from $25 to $50, not including any customs or import duties.

More About The Malaysian Head Turners

Sereni Linggi and Shentel Lee view their S&S hair accessory brand as a hobby. In fact, they still treat the brand as such. Both girls still work at their full-time jobs.

Sereni, 37, who graduated with an MBA in Marketing in the UK, is a manager at Green Heights Mall, Kuching.

Australian-born Shentel, 31, whose mum is from Kuching, is a graphic designer. Shentel moved to Kuching in 2009 after marrying her Sarawakian husband.

The pair often get asked why Kuching is their headquarters? It's a pretty simple answer, it's their home.  Certainly it's not one of the world's fashion capitals, but it's perfect for the S&S line.

NanZhangS&SHeadband-24_250h Actresses Alice Callahan & Nan Zhang Wearing S&S Headbands in The CW's Gossip Girls - Father Of The Bride - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

From Malaysia To New York & Los Angeles

Lady Luck gave Sereni and Shentel a hand when their headbands made it to New York and onto the small screen.

In 2011 Sereni gave an actress friend living in New York a headband and a look book.

The friend auditioned for and won the role as a therapist on Gossip Girl.

A fan of the S&S line, the newly cast Gossip Girl actress took the headband from Sereni to the set and showed it to the wardrobe department. As a result, the S&S headbands appeared on Gossip Girl.

The S&S headbands also made an appearance on Desperate Housewives.

Headbands For Miss Universe Malaysia

Once the S&S brand started to take off Sereni and Shentel collaborated with international contestants in the Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 and 2012 pageants presenting them with headband gifts.

They also launched a line of headbands for children and babies (they're both moms) as well as a bridal collection of high end luxury headbands.

Amanda SettonS&SHeadband-100_250h Actress Amanda Setton Wearing an S&S Headband in The CW's Gossip Girls - Father Of The Bride - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Inspiration For The Malaysian Head Turners

Sereni and Shentel describe their designs as a combination of business practicality and visual creativity. In past interviews with the media Sereni describes her style as “elegantly schizophrenic”.

She has confessed she views her office as her personal runway to experiment with looks. Some of her inspiration comes from her love of Alice McCall, Kate Spade and Miu Miu.

They are also inspired by movies, travel and magazines. Both partners are involved in the styling for all of their shoots and campaigns. The photos on the S&S website were designed by Shentel.

Production Challenges

NanZhang-30_250h Nan Zhang Wearing S&S Headbands in The CW's Gossip Girls - Father Of The Bride - Giovanni Rufino/The CW

Sereni and Shentel have confessed their biggest challenge in the business is production. The reason? The handmade aspect of the business.

They explained “All our headbands are made to order so there is a waiting period of up to 10 days when you order one. We have expanded from two to 22 staff and are growing,’’ says Sereni.

Summary - Malaysian Head Turners

A Lady Gaga concert accidentally kicked off the S&S hair accessory line which has allowed Sereni Linggi and Shentel Lee to evolve into the well-known Malaysian Head Turners.

The two women still consider their hair accessory business their hobby while juggling full time jobs, other businesses, husbands and children. Sereni has a baby girl and Shentel a  baby boy.

All of that activity doesn't seem to be slowing them down. They love what they are doing, enjoy working together and have fun being original and creative.

They plan to expand their S&S hair accessory line into many new arenas in 2014 and beyond.

With all of their ambitions, no doubt the hair accessory world will be seeing a lot more of Sereni and Shentel.

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