Updated: Nov 30, 2021
On the ground floor of PPR Kampung Muhibah lies Puan Noor Azrina's quaint little tailoring store. She picked up sewing in 2002 and started her business in the same year, providing various services ranging from sewing clothing to cushions and even alterations. The business afforded her flexible working hours, which was important because she could then care for her children, aged 14, 12, 9 and 6; all this while her husband worked as monorail technician for a private company.
When the pandemic gripped the nation, Puan Noor Azrina's husband faced a huge salary cut, and she was also not allowed to operate her tailoring shop. That meant that she not only lost her source of income, but the family of 6 had to live solely on her husband's reduced salary.
Puan Noor Azrina's tailoring shop & her homemade popcorn
It was a tough season, but it did not dampen Puan Noor Azrina's spirit. She started to find alternative ways to generate income, and decided to try her hand at popcorn making. With families locked at home, a snack would bound to lift their spirits, she thought. At the same time, she was also learning up on online marketing to keep her tailoring business going during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
When we first spoke with Puan Noor Azrina, what struck us was how much positivity she exuded as she shared with us about her business and her story. More than just providing for her family, she took pride in her sewing and popcorn business. We soon found out that this positivity and tenacity was not unique only to Puan Noor Azrina, but to this small group of women we had engaged for our recent Christmas Gift Box campaign. These women are: Puan Intan, Puan Marsidah, Puan Noriah, Puan Nursisa and Puan Tengku Azlina.
Despite starting off small, each one of them worked hard and was dedicated to their crafts. Their small business found clients first from their circle of friends, then neighbours, and eventually grew to include neighbours from other blocks and friends of friends through word of mouth.
Out of the 6 women small-business owners participating in this campaign, 5 were graduates of the Entrepreneurship program conducted by PRUKasih (an initiative by Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad), in collaboration with Taylor’s College and Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG). They credited the entrepreneurship program for lighting a spark in them to think big about their businesses. At the same time, they were also equipped with much needed skills of record keeping, branding, marketing, and proposal writing to level-up.
Before, many of them shared that they were not confident in venturing out to find new customers. Since completing the program, they learned the need to sharpen their crafts in order to expand their pool of customers and grow their business further.
Puan Tengku Azlina bakes the pineapple tarts in her home.
Puan Tengku Azlina, the friendly face behind these delectable pineapple tarts in the "Pamper Me" gift box, shared that she was able to double the rate of production of her festive cookies after purchasing a better mixing machine through the Entrepreneurship program's pitch funding. With the increased production, she was able to push for more sales, especially during major festive seasons.
Puan Nursisa sells clothes & her handmade crafts at a stall
Puan Nursisa, a hardworking mother who made the facemask chain in the "Pamper Me" gift box, shared that she too was looking for new ways to make sales. She was happy when we approached her with this idea of combining a few products to sell as a Christmas Gift Box and gladly participated. Her hope was that customers would be happy and satisfied with her craft.
Puan Marsidah at a KEMAS sewing centre, learning new skills
Puan Marsidah, the tailor behind these hand sewn face masks in the "Pamper Me" Gift Box, also said that she loves opportunities like these where she can hone her skills and learn more about doing business. Her dream is to one day open up her own shop, and everything she does is a stepping stone towards achieving that dream.
Your support in purchasing the Christmas Gift Boxes will help increase the income of these women & their families for this season. On top of that, it also means supporting their hopes and dreams of honing their skills and grow their businesses! This way, they can improve their income and have a better livelihood for their families.
*Profits from from the sale of these gift boxes will go directly to these small business owners.