Artisans from Batik Boutique on places to visit and favourite food
The Batik Boutique is an award-winning social enterprise created to disrupt the cycle of poverty in Malaysia. The company was founded by Amy Blair, and trains women from low-income backgrounds to produce gifts and fashion accessories made from a traditional Malaysian fabric called batik.
Noor has been with Batik Boutique the longest of all the seamstresses. She learned the basics of sewing from her mother and is able to grow her talent and skills as a trainer at the company’s sewing training program. She is a dedicated mother of seven children.
“My sister and I met Amy at a baby clothes shop in 2012, and Amy, who was a frequent customer since she had young children, was asking if anyone knew how to sew. My life has improved 100 percent since working here. I am able to help my husband provide for our children and even save money for the future.”
What to buy from Batik Boutique: “My favourite product is our silk kimonos, a product which I often sew.”
Where to visit in Malaysia: “My kampung (village) in Kelantan, where I am from, is my favourite place to visit. It offers a more traditional and natural view of Malaysia.”
What to eat: “My favourite food is Nasi Kerabu, a blue-coloured rice dish from Kelantan. The best place to get this is at local hawker stalls.”
Zana is a hardworking mother of seven. She is a natural leader who motivates others, and even trains her children at home on how to accomplish goals and tasks using a production style method she learns at the sewing centre.
“I joined Batik Boutique in 2015. My friend Kak Noor, who had been sewing for Batik Boutique for a few years, recommended it to me. I have seven children and working at Batik Boutique has made providing for my children much easier. Money used to be very tight, but now I don’t have to worry about food on a daily basis.”
What to buy from Batik Boutique: “My favourite product is the black tribal leather zip pouch.”
Where to visit in Malaysia: “Broga Hill is a great place for adventurous tourists to go hiking. It has beautiful views at the top.”
What to eat: “I love to cook Tom Yum soup.”
Sumarni’s feisty attitude brings a lively atmosphere to the workplace. Through Batik Boutique, she discovered her talent for detailed cutting and quality control. She is often the first person to begin a project and no finished product leaves the centre without her checking the quality. She also enjoys cooking for leisure and keeps us a close community with her potluck parties.
“I started working at Batik Boutique in 2016 through their sewing training program at the flats via the MaGIC VIP program. Since then, I have grown more financially independent and confident.”
What to buy from Batik Boutique: “My favourite thing to make are the pom-poms that go on the indigo throw pillow.”
Where to visit in Malaysia: “Malaysia boasts great malls, and my favourite one to visit is The Curve. There’s everything from IKEA, a cinema, and a weekly flea market.”
What to eat: “Bakso, a noodle soup with meatballs, which I cook and sometimes even cater for Batik Boutique events.”
Batik Boutique products are available to purchase at www.thebatikboutique.com. Products can be purchased in-store at their boutique located at 3 Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and in some local stores in Kuala Lumpur such as the Petronas Twin Towers gift shop and the Islamic Arts Museum.