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4 Homegrown Brands to Look Out for at Pasar Seloka

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On the hunt for unique and high-quality independent goods? Looking for some fun workshops and activities for the whole family? Want to engage with entrepreneurial members of the vibrant local artisan community? Then make a date with Pasar Seloka on the 6th of April 2019 at The Grounds, MAHSA Avenue, Block B, Jalan Elmu, Kuala Lumpur (near University Hospital) from 11.00am to 9.00pm.

Makchic spoke to some of the inspiring local designers and creators who will be participating in next Saturday’s market. They shared how they built their brand, and what makes their products special. 

Timeless children’s apparel with a French flair

Photo credit: petitmoi.my

Iman, Pamela and Farihin started Petit Moi to provide children’s clothing with understated elegance, charm, and versatility, at affordable prices. The trio started their own designs after moving back from the United Kingdom, discovering they couldn’t find such apparel to dress their own kids in.

“We wanted to break the stereotype that children should always be dressed a certain way – children can be stylish too. And they surely enjoy dressing up!” they explained. Pamela’s family’s experience in the fashion industry let the trio launch straight into designing and producing their pieces. Petit Moi then built awareness through bazaars and pop-up stalls, which also gave them the invaluable chance to interact with customers (especially children), to get feedback and to share their philosophy and passion. Such feedback inspires their future collections – always with a touch of that French ‘je ne sais quoi’ and ‘joie de vivre’.

As they have kids of their own, they understand that comfort is key as well as durability and versatility. Children outgrow their clothes quickly, hence they focus on designs that are classic and versatile – each Petit Moi piece is something that can be worn for festive occasions or on a day out with the family! Mix and match to dress it up, or dress it down to your heart’s content!

What they’ve found important in building the brand is continuity (always having something in the pipeline), staying true to their core value and aesthetic, and nurturing credibility and dependability in the long run. Challenges they’ve faced are having to multi-task production, marketing, customer service, and operations – basically everything! However, they credit support and ideas from their internal team and fellow business owners to making their journey a pleasure.

Women’s modest designs in inclusive sizing

Photo credit: Summer Shop

Summer Shop was also started when founder Huda had difficulty finding clothes – this time inclusive, modest clothes for herself. “After the birth of my first son, I gained a lot of weight and found it very hard to shop online for plus size outfits at reasonable prices to wear on special occasions such as dinners, celebrations, etc,” she mentioned.

Juggling the new baby and pursuing a master’s degree left her no time to scour the shops. Learning her friends had similar difficulties was the only push she needed to contribute to the local clothing industry by offering a range of affordable women’s fashion that is more inclusive and easily available. She started small in local markets such as Pasar Seloka or pop-ups, often as a one-woman show. It was exhausting at first, but Huda is glad that it happened and declares it as one of her best decisions.

Summer Shop is all about being inclusive and affordable. “We try to keep our prices competitive but still maintain certain special values in our products. We are really focusing on selling something that us Malaysian women actually would want to wear,” she states. The products are designed and produced locally in small batches as part of the sustainable fashion initiative. Each design comes in limited pieces and is very personal to Summer Shop and its customers. Huda describes her own personal style as ‘flexible’ – depending on the situation she is in.  But most days, a striped top and a pair of jeans are all she needs.

Delicious designer cakes and pastries

Photo credit: That Last Slice

Aishah was still working as a graphic designer in a publishing house when she started That Last Slice in 2009. Baking as a hobby for family and friends, it was an aunt who encouraged Aishah to make a name out of her cakes and creations. She started simply – posting photos on her personal Facebook page and then creating a brand name and logo.

The timing was right as the “red velvet cake craze” was all the rage back then and she was overwhelmed with orders. Working as a graphic designer by day and a baker by night proved too tiring, so she decided to focus on the cake business, a decision her husband supported. Fast forward 10 years and That Last Slice is a team of seven enthusiastic bakers and pastry lovers.

What sets That Last Slice apart from others is the consistent standard of the baked goods – from using the best quality equipment, sourcing from the best suppliers, to experimenting with new ingredients found locally or while travelling abroad. Aishah also has a set vision of how each pastry or cake should look like. When taking photos and posting up on social media, there is a standard of quality of how the photo should be taken, so you can easily recognise That Last Slice dessert.

Aishah explains her philosophy “It’s more about standing out and making our creations unique and challenging ourselves to be the best at what we do. Always innovate but never forgetting the foundations on quality.”

One-of-a-kind statement necklaces

Photo credit: Mama Thoko

Mama Thoko’s standout handmade accessories are crafted from cotton rope. Ena credits having children for starting her down this path. “I’ve always been obsessed with chunky necklaces since my teens, and have been wearing them for many years until I had kids! The tugging and pulling and nibbling of heavy metal jewellery were dangerous for them and for me as it hurt my neck. So I went jewellery-free for a few years. I was crushed but determined to find a solution. I started experimenting with fabric remnants, which eventually lead me to cotton rope. My ideas just flow through with this material, and I’ve created over 30 designs since starting out in 2018.”

Ena believes in the endless possibilities of creativity, in creating value for everything that one owns… no matter how small. She is trying to move away from mass-produced pieces and only wear things that are meaningful to her. “If you have classic and timeless pieces that last, you don’t need to own a massive collection – just a few key pieces that work with your style and wardrobe,” she explains. Each Mama Thoko jewellery piece created has a unique and individual character.

Find the one that calls to you at Pasar Seloka!

Artisan bag giveaways for you

Photo credit: Pasar Seloka

Want to win yourself some unique goodies from creative vendors? Makchic and Pasar Seloka are collaborating to give away three Artisan bags filled with goodies worth up to RM400!

How to join: 1) Snap a flat-lay of the contents in your bag
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2) ‘Follow’ @makchic @makchicsuri and @pasarseloka on Instagram OR ‘Like’ Makchic and Makchic Suri on Facebook
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3) Post your flat-lay picture on your social media account and tell us what essential items are in your bag. Don’t forget to tag @makchic and #pasarselokaxmakchic, and set your profile/post to public so we can view your entry
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4) Complete the survey form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PBZXN8Z
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Contest ends on 4th April (Thursday) at 5 pm so do hurry! For more information about the event, go to Pasar Seloka.

In her previous roles, Lu Sean killed it in arts management, PR, and law. She now herds two pre-schoolers and a cat. When not busy volunteering for a family support group, Lu Sean loves planning holidays while nursing a teh tarik.

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