Saturday August 11, 2012
Boutique offers plenty of choices for the festive season
By S. PUSPADEVI
Photos by YAP CHEE HONG
TRYING to find an outfit for this Raya festive season can be a difficult task when you have plenty to choose from.
To stay relevant in the fashion industry, most business owners travel quite often to look for the latest designs that will appeal to prospective customers.
Sharifah Abdul Rahim is one example, but she is not a designer as such.
Inspired by a friend, who has been in the home decor business industry for more than 20 years, Sharifah started a boutique business — D’Qalbu Collection.
“I started two years ago, when I joined a group of people and travelled to Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia in search of business opportunities.
“I was amazed at what I saw. The Indonesians had amazing ideas and they were good at running a business,” said Sharifah, who previously worked with PLUS for 22 years.
“My intention was only to look for home decor items and the market was definitely huge in Jakarta. However, upon my return I realised that it would be tough venturing into this field,” said Sharifah, who then opted to go into the fashion industry.
D’Qalbu Collection occupies a 2,000sq ft space at Space U8 Shopping Mall in Taman Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam and offers a variety of baju kurung, jubah, sampin, maxi skirts, trendy three-tone chiffon tops, kaftan tops, long dresses and palazzo pants.
Some of the baju kurung are embellished with Swarovski stones while some blouses are designed with tiny beads for elegance.
Sharifah said those who love their jeans and pants, could pair them with loose tops, flowy kaftans, kebaya tops or the three-tone chiffon tops.
“By the end of the day it is all about fashion and everyone wants to look their best in whatever they wear. As such, I make it an effort to travel to other countries like Vietnam, India and China to look for fashion ideas and fabrics,” said the 50-year-old ambitious woman, adding that majority of her clientele were from the middle-income group.
Sharifah said she was very encouraged by the fact that her customers were happy with her collection, especially in terms of design and fabric quality.
“Fabrics play a pertinent role and it is never an easy task to mix and match as well as find the right colour combination,” said Sharifah, who has the strong support of her husband, Othman Mohammad, 52, since she opened the boutique in January.
Sharifah has also brought some unique sarong from Kelantan and Indonesia. She also invited customers to check out her selection of kerawang (embroidery at the neckline and sleeves).
“The sarong and the kerawang will never go out of fashion; they are evergreen.
On the popular items at her boutique, Sharifah said palazzo pants, three-tone chiffon tops and trendy kebaya tops were famous among her clients.
The jubah, which is imported from Dubai, come in different designs and colours.
Apart from clothing, selendang, tudung and scarves, the boutique offers accessories, brooches, kerongsang and costume jewellery.
There is also a small section for men and children.
Especially for the Raya season, Sharifah has designed creative gift hampers using oval and square cosmetic boxes, vintage-styled square box and vintage-styled book box to fit in Raya cookies, jellies and cakes.
“We have 30 different types of cookies and customers can pick and choose what they like before we pack them,” said Sharifah, adding that in conjunction with the festive season, she had set up a booth at Subang Parade in Subang Jaya.
Sharifah said it took at least 30 minutes to prepare a gift set, with prices ranging from RM60 to RM300.
The cookies include five varieties of jam tarts, biscotti, cornflakes, snow almond, chocolate chip, cashew nut, samprit, bunga dahlia, kuih siput, popiah pedas, dried jellies and simpul kasih.
“It is truly challenging to be in business during the Ramadan month, but it is the challenge that keeps me going,” she said.