Losing your job at times like these can seriously affect someone's life.
Getting sick during these times and having no choice but to resign from your job is another level of struggle.
Fathihah Zamri is no stranger to these falls in her life.
This year alone, in the middle of a pandemic, she was diagnosed with endometriosis and a herniated disc.
An extended medical vacation because of these sequential health complications eventually forced her to resign from her job.
She worked as Export Sales and Admin Executive at PGF Insulation in Penang.
These challenging times may be her lowest point in adulthood, but Fathihah found the light at the end of the tunnel through her newly found startup Lafenco.
Lafenco Embroidery Art / Image Credit: Lafenco
She started Lafenco in June 2020, not too long after stepping down from her nine-for-five resignation.
Her startup sells mask connectors, name embroidery and wedding ring holders with embroidery art.
As therapeutic as embroidery was for her healing process, she saw an opportunity to benefit from her art too.
Realize your talent through a newly discovered hobby
Growing up with a mother who cuts clothes for a living, Fathihah knows the pros and cons of sewing.
She had previously only made Baju Kurung beads and lace to support her mother's business and started embroidery about 5 to 6 months ago.
During the MCO, she found a leftover embroidery floss in her home, as well as a hoop she suspects belonged to her late grandmother.
"It was initially a home hobby and just for fun, but it turns out I'm pretty good at beginners," Fathihah shared.
Although it took her less than a month to master and perfect the basics of embroidery, she wasn't confident enough to first show her art, let alone sell it, to the world.
The process of making their embroidery art / Photo credit: Lafenco
Her friends, fiancé, and family had to encourage her to put her work out there.
With the advent of the pandemic and the demand for cloth masks and mask connectors, she also saw how to make some money from her hobby.
So she decided to use her newly discovered hobby talent.
always Look at the bright side of things
Due to her herniated disc, Fathihah was unable to give her company an answer on how long her medical vacation would be.
At this point, she could not sit or stand for more than half an hour, much less sit in the office for 8 hours, hence the resignation.
Although embroidering seems to be more relaxed at home, she still found it difficult to get involved with her new startup in the beginning.
She also had to sit down for a long time to embroider.
However, being at home gave her the flexibility to rest between work.
“I started to watch the time. I would lie down for 15 minutes after half an hour of work before coming back to it and repeat it. "
Although working from home has allowed her to work relaxed at her own pace, it is her love for embroidery that keeps her going.
“When I'm down, I try to think positively and not give up on my recovery as I adjust to this new norm. I want to keep embroidering because I love it, ”she shared.
Over time, she was able to manage her time better, moving from making just 1-2 mask connectors to 5-9 every day now.
Profitable in a month
Due to the low capital, it became profitable in just under a month.
The sum of their threads, buttons, fabrics, packaging and free gifts from July to now is only RM300.
Packaging, threads and free gifts from Lafenco / Photo credit: Lafenco
Here is a breakdown of their products and price list:
- The mask connections are RM10-18 depending on the adaptation
- The art of embroidery with a hoop is RM35-50
- Wedding ring holders are also RM35-50
In her first month, Fathihah sold about 30 pieces and now sells at least 150 per month including offline sales.
Their offline customers usually take bulk orders of 20 or more, but their sales are best online.
Last month she was also able to sell to three customers in Singapore. These were her first international sales.
Expansion of your range of embroidery
While she takes pleasure in spreading and selling her creativity in her job, Fathihah still hopes to get a full-time job when she fully recovers and does Lafenco part-time.
With immediate effect, she plans to expand her product range with book covers and offer online or offline embroidery courses.
She also plans to liaise with higher education institutions, particularly UiTM, to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs among undergraduate and graduate students.
"I am a UiTM Kedah alumni so it is my dream to be able to help my juniors and UiTM students."
“If I encourage them because of their passion and interest, I think it would help a lot,” Fathihah believes.
- You can find out more about Lafenco here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Selected image source: Fathihah Zamri, founder of Lafenco