I love sewing. Mom thought me to sew when I was in primary school and excited to watch her making our (my siblings and I) baju kurung. From there, I watched and learned how to use the ever-SINGER sewing machine and some of the traditional needle works/techniques. Mom even thought me to knit. I realized that I was the only daughter who inherits her sewing passion. Lucky me!
mama smiling with her little grandson, baby mikael (my #1 nephew)
My passion in making handmade handbags started when I was studying abroad. Specifically, when I was in Melbourne. I went to some of the flea markets, arts & craft markets, concept stores (oh, they have a lot of this independent stores which I adore so much! I want one someday ;) )I noticed taht they really appreciate handmade stuff, especially handbags. They were so beautiful and nicely handcrafted.I know that I have the talent and skill gifted so I made an effort, where almost everyday I would visit my fav shop along the Chapel St. - Handworks, Lin's Craft, & many more that I could not remember their names. I can get almost any handcraft supplies easily with so many varieties that I couldnt get in my hometown. There was a short course (making bags & purses) advertised at Uni. It was quite pricey but I really wanted to go. So, the key was - SAVE UP!!!
On my second year of studies, with enough money in hands, I have registered myself in the course. I met Nikki - the ever funky-cool tutor, Vanessa, Sasha, Gabrielle, Nina and a few others. During the course Nikki tought us the fundamental of handbags, what-why-who-when-how people use/make bags, the anatomy & construction of handbags, embellishmentand many more. 7 weeks seemed so short to learn everything. Anyway, after I got my certificate I started to brush up my newly picked up skill. I made a few trial and error handbags, studying the technique and process of constructing the bags - most of the tiny nitty things, you've got to experience yourself. Fabrics hunting is totally my lifetime soul & subtle theraphy. I love hunting for vintage fabrics, laces, buttons, cotton prints, upholstery fabrics, and any kinds of handcraft supplies. Love it, love it, love it!
After a while, my dear friend, Laily asked me to make her a work bag. She wanted to put all her Uni stuff (books, files, wallet, keys, handphones, etc). So, began the brainstorming design session, fabrics selection, the mix & match...I love the whole process of designing and making handbags. Your days are filled with colours, imagination, skills sharpening. Need I say more? In short, Laily's bag has officially been my first public appearance and fortunately, it doesn't stop there.
Akareka Design is established in January 2006. It is a design based company which purely and humbly concentrating in designing (interior + furniture + handbags + homewares), sewing, mix-matching and all sorts of heARTful creative business. I am writing here as the owner & founder of the company. Having AKAREKA is like having a first born (though I do not own any child, yet) and learning to raise her the very best you could. I poured so much of my love, strength, energy, knowledge & effort that I could for the company because I know...someday she is going to hit the WORLD miraculously. Oh how I wish! (insya-allah).
I graduated from the National Institute of Design @ Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne in 2004. Upon graduating, I came back home...(I love Malaysia) and jobless for a while. Hmmm...to be exact about 2 months. After that, I got a job in an established interior design firm in PJ. It was a great opportunity and exposure for me when I was working there. Got to handle few jobs with the supervision of my senior designers. Learned quite a lot of things, tips, tactics, and the 'real' design industry there. My ex-colleagues were friendly, funny, crazy and great to be with. Miss them sometimes. But, I am not destined to be there long enough. Other greater opportunity came along that I could not....could not reject for as long as I live. Quitting my day job meaning no more fixed income and you just got married...money is the IN THING (if you know what I mean). I DONT CARE!
My husband and family are very supportive in my decision to quit my job and starting my own business. In fact, they are my $$$oul provider and my councellors (my dad & hubby are also businessmen) when I am still crawling up the stairs, establishing Akareka. I wouldn't be around if they are not around. I never regretted my decision and right this moment, I am sharpening my entrepreneur skill and all other survivor skills in sewing, administrating, webmastering, marketing, and anything that I could grab along the way. My working environment is surrounded by the people I love and doing things that I am passionate about. What else do you need, people?