Shaqira Ramli and her husband first began promoting handmade tapestry from India in bazaars round West Malaysia and later ran tie-dye workshops beneath their model, Bohomys.
However as a result of pandemic, their enterprise which trusted in-person interactions needed to come to a halt. To make issues worse, they misplaced virtually RM20K the day the primary MCO was introduced on account of cancellations for his or her workshops.
“The pandemic hit us exhausting, and I used to be misplaced for a bit. However I knew that I had two youngsters that wanted me, and I wanted to work exhausting for them,” Shaqira recalled.
“It was devastating as a result of it was that exact same yr that we determined to do that full-time and have been purported to do a workshop for the Langkawi Art Biennale.”
Artwork had at all times been her calling
Previous to Bohomys, Shaqira was within the occasions business, which she discovered actually tense and demanding. “I used to be pregnant with my first child once I determined to stop my job, as I used to be having actually dangerous morning illness and couldn’t decide to my work,” she recalled.
When she left the stress behind along with her profession in occasions, Shaqira felt prefer it solely made sense to return to what she cherished doing most—artwork. Although they offered artwork handmade by others first, Shaqira and her husband later discovered a distinct segment they have been obsessed with in making pure tie-dye and instructing others about it.
“From the start, it had at all times been a 2-man present. My husband helps the heavy work, and I’m the artist. We’re presently home-based in Putra Heights, Selangor.”
“We have been very lively in bazaars, particularly in Penang. Someday in 2017, a good friend of mine who’s the organiser of Lokalhouz in Penang requested if we might educate on the Butterworth Fringe Competition along with the Georgetown Competition. With out hesitation, I mentioned sure,” Shaqira identified some memorable moments in her artwork profession.
Making good use of outdated connections
Bohomys’ pivot began in July 2020, and it started when Shaqira and her husband determined to start out promoting their pure tie-dye as merchandise. Earlier than this, they have been simply instructing and promoting pure dye kits.
Having labored within the occasions business beforehand, Shaqira was conscious that occasion favours (small items given at occasions) often had brief lifespans. They have been low-cost but in addition had few makes use of earlier than being thrown away.
Understanding that they may supply occasion organisers one thing extra impactful, Syaqira and her husband began approaching them to pitch their pure tie-dye merchandise. They managed to land themselves their first order (tote baggage, company shirts, and masks) shortly after their pivot, and realised they would want extra tailors.
“Once we began to do occasion favours, we realised that whereas we have been getting extra orders in, individuals have been additionally dropping jobs and gross sales. So we met with a neighborhood youth tailor and employed her to stitch our merchandise after we now have dyed our materials,” Shaqira shared, including that many youth like her have a lot potential however lack coaching.
After that rent, Shaqira determined to launch what’s a part of their pivot at this time as effectively, a social enterprise to empower and upskill youth to earn higher via their Upskill, Create, and Earn programme which started in September 2020.
Upskilling youth via pure tie-dye
Since their pivot, they’ve added 2 individuals to the workforce via the programme: the aforementioned tailor, and one other native one. They’ve one other particular person within the workforce who helps with the dyeing course of however isn’t actively concerned within the apprenticeship programme.
“We see ourselves because the bridge for these youth to find markets that they by no means thought they may attain earlier than. We wish to show that even small tailors can promote to the upper-class markets, which truly occurred throughout our Publika bazaar in Might,” Shaqira defined to Vulcan Publish.
Among the many plans that they should upskill these youth embody exporting their work abroad, discovering methods on how they will work with MATRADE in addition to introducing them to greater markets on the whole.
That being mentioned, the youth should not obliged to work with them full-time and are nonetheless working their very own tailoring small companies.
“At present, we’re specializing in youth from the close by city village close to our place. We imagine that solely those that wish to change will be capable of profit essentially the most from this undertaking. So, we have to show to them that this works,” Syaqira shared.
They haven’t been capable of onboard extra tailors due to MCO restrictions, however she disclosed that the 2 tailors have seen a 30% improve in earnings since working with Bohomys and earn about RM200-500 monthly. Admittedly, the MCO has lowered their earnings somewhat although.
Holding her spirits up regardless of the struggles
For the reason that first MCO, Shaqira had confronted hikes in costs and was unable to supply for some provides generally, and she or he shared that her cloth provider couldn’t open her store for a bit.
This limits them to solely having the ability to make baggage, T-shirts, masks, and scarves within the meantime, however as soon as their cloth provider is ready to function once more, they’re pondering of introducing extra garments.
“We’re presently in talks with some events that wish to help our programme and to open a neighborhood talent centre in Kampung Kuala Sungai Baru, Puchong, the place youth can be taught abilities not restricted to tailoring however many extra for no value, in order that this helps them to earn higher proper after MCO,” she shared their future plans.
At occasions like these, pivoting from being a profit-driven enterprise right into a social enterprise isn’t one thing you’d at all times hear of, given what number of SMEs wish to maximise what little income they will for now.
Whereas upskilling and hiring youth for his or her enterprise to hurry up manufacturing is one answer to deal with the pandemic, a downside continues to be the in-person limitation they’re going through, given the character of their enterprise.
We don’t have any sure-fire options, however maybe there are methods that Bohomys can digitalise the programme to succeed in extra youth and discover other ways to supply their tie-dye merchandise to prospects.
- You may be taught extra about Bohomys here.
- You may examine extra social enterprises we’ve lined here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Shaqira Ramli, founding father of Bohomys