Monday, November 29, 2010

Be Fair to your customers

Fair as in Malay is adil. Comes from arabic word which means 'meletakkan sesuatu itu ditempatnya': - putting things in its correct place.

***

The situation is: you're selling belts. Your own handmade belts. And since you wanted to be creative, you took the picture of you're belts in different kind of way. Like putting it on your head, at wrist and at the ankle. Well, in my humble opinion, you'll get an A for the picture creativity, but as a potential customer, I want to see the item with it correct function. A belt should be worn on the waist, not on the head.

Would you wanna buy this belt? :)

So here, the most important thing to sell your items in the net is the picture of the item itself. If you're selling dress, its good to hang the dress and take the whole picture of the dress, instead of putting it in the floor or taking half view of it. As a 'hardcore' online customer myself, I wanted to see the item in real picture before starting to make purchase. Even your camera is just a simple point and shoot (not dslr) you still can sell if you show the items correctly.

So if you're selling online, please be fair to your customers when showing your items for sale. Or they'll just pass.


Little note (reminder for myself as well): Customers is no haters. They complaint because they care. Take everything positively.


:)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Make your own hijab inner (project refashion)

OK. I have to admit that I really love my Tudung syria and its style and its been nearly a month that I'm hanging out with my family not wearing my black bawal. She must be very sad sitting nicely in the closet. Hahah..

Since I am absolute in love with the Tudung Syria, I went to the tudung store, wanted to buy more and more but was a bit disappointed as the one that offers in the shop mostly is knit-lycra type of fabric, which if I wear one, the fabric will stick to my head and makes me looks like wearing hijab for swimming-purposes. Hahaha.. in the other words, it looks ugly on me.. The best for me (suit with my face) is those made by knit cotton fabric. The shop that I went only offer tudung awning with such fabric. And I just grabbed one with a slight project lingered in my head.

So, what I did to the tudung awning was ripped open the awning, and as for the inner, I made one using the old unused t-shirt.

I was so busy ripping off the awning, so sorry no picture was shoot and only remembered to take pictures step by step on how to make the inner. So here it is:

1. This is the old good looking t-shirt.


2. First fold the shirt in to half, put it on your head to estimate the size.


3. Fold again,, and cut it in half oval shape.


4. This is how it looks like after cut.


5. Sew the seam. One thing I like about knit cotton fabric is that it doesn't frill. So, you can just use straight stitch, without the need to serge.


6. Join the end of the inner with elastic.


7. And you're done.


This is how you will looks wearing one (the inner).


And this is us camwhoring while I'm wearing the knit cotton-tudung awning-transformed-to-tudung Syria with the above inner.


I look cute, yes? Hihihi..

Ok, now its your turn to make one. Happy trying. :D

Pricing your handmade stuff

OK, this is continuing from the previous entry. I made some reading (@ craftMBA, ScoutieGirl, MARSdorian, ittybiz.com) and this is what I can concluded on how to put the price on your stuff.

Previously I said there are two ways:
1.follow the market
2.count every single affort you put on your stuff.
This is the exact rule. But what is the most important thing on selling stuff is to

MAKE PROFIT

Nobody wanting to sell items, where you put 100% of your energy / time on it, and later to suffer loss.

So, how to make profit:
1)If you doing your business seriously and wanted to chase for the wholesale market, BUY your raw material wholesale. You'll get raw at cheap price and now you can make profit out of your selling item. But remember, buying wholesale meaning you will get like a dozen meter of same fabrics or 1000pieces of same type of buttons. So, make sure the whole thing is no joke or you'll ended with no space to walk in your own house.
2)If you just making your business for spare time, buying your raw material in retail store is sufficient enough.

How to charge for an item:
The simple calculation is:
Raw items (fabrics + zipper + buttons + etc) + man power (how good is you) + time consume (how easy/hard to make the stuff) = You get the price

eg:
(Fabric: rm5 + zipper: rm2 + buttons: rm3 + thread: rm1) + rm5 + rm5 = rm20
(this is an average price for making a simple pencil case/ clutch)

OK, I hope this help. If you still uncertainty on how to put price for your items, listened to Rule#1: follow what other people are offering but make sure you're making the profits. It is good to be as same as other people, rather than being too cheap. People will start to query your product quality, and at the same time you're killing your own business (later how to survive if not making profit???).

:)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talking about online business strategy

Whoah.. title..

Well, I am absolutely not the right person to talk about this. Not reaching the standard yet, but since I have a little bit of experience and knowledge (not those formal knowledge; remember, I am a microbiologist.. hehehe), still learning tho, lets me share with u what I know. Maybe you can drop some comment to share with me on your own opinion about the topic.

The blog:
Of course if you want to sell thing in the net, you have to have your own space- that would be the blog. When you already have one, decide on the product. Ok, lets say you want to sell tudung. Normal people call it tudung Syria, but since you sew them by yourself and want to personalize the tudung, you call it tudung Neeza. Well, that is OK if your Tudung Neeza is a big name, appeared in the local magazine, or in Rancangan Nona and wore by Rozita Wan Chik. But if you just started the business, it is advisable to named the tudung as Tudung Syria. People googled tudung Syria and they'll found your online site. You can put your site as tudungneeza dot com. But if you're selling Syria, just put the normal name people call everyday. Google will help you in finding your customers. Trust me. Key word is very important. Like me, 50% of my online customers come to me asking me to sew them baju kurung.

Customers and promotional:
Believe me, nowaday everything can be sell in the net. You name it, you got it. You don't have to be unique. Just specify. If you sell/sew baju kurung, those wearing one will come to you. But before you jump on selling in the net, try to sell to your friends or relatives first. Get their feedback. This help you to improve your product (if yours is handmade). This is what I did. I made for my own first, later promote to my close friends, and if the service is good, the network will spread like a virus.

Social network helps a lot: twitter, facebook But what really helps is the mouth to mouth spreading method. If you good, people talk. And yes, if you not good, people will also talk. So the tagline “customers is always right” is indeed very true.

Pricing:
OK. This is very-very-very crucial. Me myself have an inner problem in putting price on my item/handwork. So far, 80% of my tailoring job is just amik upah (payment for the job done). The raw material aka the fabrics are provided by the customers. From what I read, pricing an item can be done in two ways:
1)follow what other people are offering.
2)count every single effort you put to produce the specific items (and if it is very hard to do like rubber stamping, you can charge high, provided your masterpiece is fine)

As for me, here in Putrajaya, upah jahit baju kurung kosong is rm35 with turn around time less than a week. And since I am quite slow and not pro, my upah is slight lower that is rm20 per baju for more or less than a month time frame (huhuh). Later when you're good, having your own regular customers, then you can slowly increase your price as same as what other people is offering. Or if you're really-really good, you can charge higher.

And one tips I learn on selling handmade items is that you have to have an A item that is very good, very unique with its own price range. Example here, I am selling my own made wristlets. Most of them are at rm30-40 but this one unique designer fabric is sell at rm80-100. So when people sees those wristlets which are offer at rm30-40, they will see it as a reasonable price as there is another type of wristlets in the shelve at higher price.

However, I also learnt that people here doesn't really much appreciate handmade work because of the pricing matter. And I know we're fighting very hard with the items made by people from the mainland. Hahah..

I think that is all I can think for now. Thanks Ween, for asking and for giving me an idea to write.. heheh. If you wanna know more in surviving online craft business, try read Craft MBA. Check out under label price and business basics. They really have a very good tips for us to follow.

:)

To sum it all..

Suddenly I realized that I am not a good blogger. Leaving this space unattended for days and this time around, for more than a week. Well, being a blogger is not even in my ambition list. Hahaha..
I have a lot to tell. So, spare me some of your time as this would be quite a long post..

***

Eid Adha

Finally after 4 years, I'm back to celebrate the raya at my parent as Hubby is not around. Yeay!
However, the trip back to Ipoh is not as smooth as usual. Yup, its only me alone to battle with the kids: a prescholar and an infant. Zahra however is manageable, she will sleep the whole way back to Ipoh, but Hamza have difficulties to sleep in the car. Yup, we realized this on our way back to Terengganu the other day, where he slept less than 2hours of the 6hours journey. And he being restless for the rest of 4hours. So, in this battle, where I am alone, to drive and to look after him (crazy is my middle name btw), we have to stop like more than 4times: just to calm him.
Huhuh..

Mobile me and the kids..





So, what special in celebrating raya Haji in Ipoh? The delicacies made by my mom: Laksa Sarawak. Uhh, how I miss this very much and its such a reward, worth the traveling. Heheheh..
I lost count how many bowl I have this:


On Saturday, we drop by SnuggBaby's crib to see Liza's newborn, baby Salih. Here's picture Zahra playing Afya.


We spent five days in Ipoh and going back from Ipoh to Putrajaya is a smooth journey as the kids all slept like a log makes me constantly drove at 120kmph.. hahah..

Ohya, Hamza managed to turn his back by himself for the first time here in Ipoh, witnessed by me and my mom. Good job Hamza! And note to myself, I can no longer left my boy on the bed by himself, or else something not good will happen.

***

Outing with the kids

Staying home all days would be boring not only for me but for the kids as well. So, yesterday, we went to the Chinese Book Fair at the Mines. I don't read Chinese btw, however was hunting for the craft books that is so good (clear instruction on how to sew and free pattern not to forget) and darn cheaps. This is what I bought:


Later we went to buy the groceries at our favorite place Alamanda. And being single, you'll do anything (logically la..) to survive. Hamza was cooing for milk while we're in the middle of shopping and Carrefour is not breastfeeding friendly space. I don't want to leave my cart and run to the babyroom outside K4, so what I did is NIP. Thank you very much for babywearing as its easier for me to shop, and nurse, and nobody notice about that. Its discrete no joke. Yeay!

Camwhoring while Hamza having his snack:


Us. Notice my tudung. I love it very much. Pardon the comot looks, but easy for me to NIP.. (inspired by hana tajima, btw.. ahaks)



NIP: Nursing in public.. yo!

***

Fresh from the studio

I made this last night. For one of my customers, and I must say that I love this very much I feel like keeping it to myself. Hahahah.. The fabric, the pattern, uh.. love them to bits, and its a sad moment to sending the tops to the owner. I hope the owner love the baju as much as I do :)




Concealed zip yo..


The 'baju contoh':


***

The business

This is about the tailoring. Yup, its back on service. I'm happy to sew you baju kurung, tops, pajamas or anything that can be done in my small studio. Email me Neeza79.at.yahoo.com for details.

And for my customers, I really appreciate each and everyone of you. Especially most of you are soo professional in dealing with this novice and slow me. I went to a bakery shop the other day and they have this tagline:
'Kalau sedap, bagitau kengkawan. Kalau tak sedap, bagitau kami. '-
' If it is good, tell the others. If it is bad, tell us.'.
Well, I love to adopt the same tagline as well. So guys, if you think my work is good, feel free to tell your friends and if its bad, tell me. It helps to improve my work. :)

I must admit that I am not good in estimated people size. I love sewing for those who have the same size as mine, and worry much when sewing for petite or plus size people. Selalu ada sangsi "Eh betul ke saiz ni keciknya/besarnya?" .. Erm..

***

I miss

The camera obviously. Pictures taken with camera-phone is so not up to the standard. And of course, I also miss the man behind the camera too.. Hihihi

I know you miss us too.. Some pictures to cure the missing sickness.. hehehe:





***

OK, thats all. Thanks for reading guys. Love you all very much. Have a nice day ahead!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The portfolio

I like the idea of social networking. To be precise I like the the Facebook and Twitter. They such a user-friendly platform for me to promote my work. It is much easier to upload pictures in FB and as in Twitter I can update my status while in mobile. Most of what I've sewn is in the portfolio in the FB fanpage. You can check them here. I did mentioned previously that I'm going to upload everything that I sewn either for me or for the dearest customers here in the blog, but later realize that most of the thing that I sewn is Baju Kurung(s) so if I happen to stumble everything here, its going to be a very mundane blog, I guess.

But anyway, these are my most recent things I sewn for fellow customer. Same as mine (the one that I made for my kids) but with major modification: these pajamas using tie instead of snap buttons.



One unique thing about handmade is that even you're making 10 of the same thing, one would be different from another. Its because handmade item comes from heart and it reflex our feeling (during the time we're doing it). Thus, if I am not in the mood to sew, I am strictly avoiding me self from doing so.

If you LIKE my creations, visit my FB page here, and this is the link for my Twitter update. Fell free to add me :D

Have a luvly weekend, everybody...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Handmade Holiday: This is my plan

Dear readers,

Meets Bear, Zahra's most beloved teddy bear. Bear can be considered as Zahra bestfriend (besides me) and she brings her almost everywhere we go.

She loves to play-pretend with Bear, which at a times Bear becomes her baby. And as a 'beloved Mom', Zahra will changed Bear clothes and diapers. Yup, the bear did wear one.

So for this coming Holiday, I am planning to sew few garments for Bear. I bought this awesome craft book recently and it have tutorial on how to make one. Hoping that Zahra will be happy playing changing garments with her bear later.




Once I managed to finish sewing them, I'll show it to you :)

*Handmade gifts are fun to give and a joy to receive. Handmade gifts have heart, are better for the environment, and, if you opt to buy, it supports independent artists! And YES, I am entering the ArtFire.com giveaway to win the Canon DSLR. You guys are welcome to enter the contest by writing a blog post about your handmade holiday plans. Details here. Quick, contest end on 19th November 2010.

Good luck to me and to you too guys.

:D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I sewn a hijab

OK. I am all excited. I never know that I will sew a tudung. Why I say so is because I am a big fan of tudung bawal. To be precise black tudung bawal. Don't be fool if you happen to see me with the same color of tudung, telling the truth I have 4 black tudung bawals - to show how much I am in love with such tudung. Hahaha.. Just very recent, I learnt to wear shawl, as I noticed its an easy type of hijab and it looks good on me. But restricted wearing only at a special event like raya. The black tudung bawal still my number one tudung.

A friend of mine asked me to alter her baju kurungs. She made a special kind of window for breast-feeding purposes and the tailor that sewn the baju got confused on how the window supposed to be function. I managed to alter the bajus and to cut a long story short, there is a lot of remaining fabrics (jersey knit cotton) that use for alteration and she asked me whether I can make tudung Syria out of the balance. I was kinda shock. Tudung Syria? Later last weekend we went to Bangi and for the first time ever I bought tudung Syria for me as I want it to be referral for making one (three I suppose- based on the fabrics balance).

And since I have some extra fabrics from the previous rapper hat, I made a prototype by tracing the tudung on the fabrics. And what do you know, its jadi! And I am excited!! Yeay.


So will I be transformed from someone who loves tudung bawal to tudung Syria. Erm, we'll see about it. Btw, do I look funny in such tudung? Heheheh...



Maybe after this I can try to make Tudung Ekin.. hehehe..

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Its that time of the season.. again..

Raya!

That's explain the long hiatus.

I've been very busy settling some orders making baju kurungs and jubahs. Yup, I did mentioned previously that I am not going to take any order but however I decided to open back my service as I received few email asking me to and since I am no longer swarm with orders, I accepted a few. So basically, it can be said that I am back on service, to sew you baju(s). Email me for further info.

And one of the order that I received is to sew Baju Kurung Pahang (pesak gantung). Since this is the first time, I love to admit that Wow! sewing baju kurung Pahang is way easier that the normal baju kurung pesak. Serious! I fall in love to sewing the baju almost immediately. Sangat-sangat senang.. Simple pesak (no complicated godets) and simple sarong (no kipas just a single wide fold).

And since the customer size is quite similar to me, I put myself in the baju and it does look nicer. Maybe I can make one for me for this Raya Hajj.


And before I forget, I introduced new items in my store: still crayon roll but mini version, targeting on those interested to order in bulk. More info, you can read it here.


OK, will updating again when the time permit. You guys, have a nice day ahead!