M’sian Startup That Sells Mask Connectors With Embroidery Art

Losing your job at times like these can really take a toll on anyone’s life.

However, getting sick and having no choice but to quit your job at these times is another level of struggle.

Fathihah Zamri is no stranger to these downfalls in his life.

This year alone, in the midst of a pandemic, she was diagnosed with endometriosis and a slipped disc.

Extended medical leave for these resulting health complications ultimately forced her to quit her job.

She worked as an export sales and administration manager at PGF Insulation, Penang.

These difficult times may be his lowest point as an adult, but Fathihah has found light at the end of the tunnel thanks to his new startup, Lafenco.

Lafenco embroidery art products / Image credits: Lafenco

She launched Lafenco in June 2020, shortly after stepping down from her nine-five.

His startup sells mask connectors, name embroidery, and wedding ring stands with embroidery.

As therapeutic as embroidery was for her healing process, she also saw the opportunity to capitalize on her art.

Realize your talent through a new hobby

Growing up with a mother who makes clothes for a living, Fathihah knows the ins and outs of tailoring.

She had only made pearls for baju kurung and lace before to help with her mother’s business, and picked up embroidery about 5-6 months ago.

During the MCO, she found remnants of embroidery thread in her home as well as a hoop she suspects belonged to her late grandmother.

“It started out as a home hobby and just for fun, but it turns out I’m pretty good for a beginner,” said Fathihah.

Although it took her less than a month to master the basics of embroidery and perfect it, she wasn’t confident enough to show her art to the world at first, let alone sell it.

The process of creating his art of embroidery / Image credits: Lafenco

It took some encouragement from her friends, fiancé, and family to put her job there.

Additionally, with the rise of the pandemic and the demand for cloth masks and mask connectors, she also realized how she could earn an income from her hobby.

So she decided to put her new hobby talent to good use.

Always Look on the bright side

Due to her slipped disc, Fathihah was unable to give her company an answer on the length of her sick leave.

At the time, she couldn’t sit or stand for more than half an hour, much less stay at the desk for 8 hours, hence the resignation.

While doing embroidery at home might seem like a more relaxed job, she still struggled to commit to her new startup at first.

Embroidery also required him to sit for long periods of time.

However, being at home gave her the flexibility to take breaks between work.

“I started to watch the time. I would lie down after half an hour of work for 15 minutes before going back to it, and start over.

Although working from home has allowed her to work at ease at her own pace, it is her love for embroidery that keeps her going.

“When I’m depressed I try to think positively and not give up on my recovery while adjusting to this new normal. I want to continue with the embroidery because I like it, ”she shared.

Over time she has improved in her time management and has gone from producing just 1-2 mask connectors to 5-9 now per day.

Profitable in one month

Due to its low capital, it has become profitable in barely a month already.

The sum of her threads, button, fabric, packaging and free gifts from July to present is only RM300.

Packaging, threads and gifts offered by Lafenco / Image credits: Lafenco

Here’s a breakdown of its products and price list:

  • Mask connectors are RM10-18, according to customization
  • The art of embroidery with a hoop is RM35-50
  • Wedding rings are also RM35-50

In its first month, Fathihah sold around 30 pieces and now sells at least 150 a month, including offline sales.

Its offline customers usually take bulk orders of 20 or more pieces, but its sales are the best online.

She also managed to sell to 3 clients in Singapore last month which were her first international sales.

Expand its range of embroidery

While she finds joy in spreading and selling her creativity in her work, Fathihah still hopes to find a full-time job when she is fully recovered and work at Lafenco part-time.

From now on, she plans to add book covers to her product line and provide embroidery classes online or offline.

It also plans to connect with higher education institutes, in particular UiTM, to mentor any budding entrepreneur among college students and graduates.

Although she had a degree in international business, she didn’t know how or where to start one despite her interest in the field.

“I am a former UiTM Kedah, so it is my dream to be able to help my junior and UiTM students.”

“By giving them encouragement based on their passion and interest, I think it would help a lot,” Fathihah believes.

  • You can read more about Lafenco here.
  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Fathihah Zamri, Founder of Lafenco

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Jothi Venkat

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