Q&A with Creative Handmade Artist Nurul

Nurul, Handmade Artist and Home Décor Maker from Enchanted Pinkdom

The process means so much more than focusing on the end result. While the end result is important, the process teaches us personal life lessons. This was what I discovered throughout the years as an artist and a crafter. Like Nurul, I find peace and joy when I am making and creating, because the process connects me my deeper self that brings out the best in me- kinda' feels like you unleashed your super powers. -Shia Lynn

Hi Nurul! Tell us about you

Hello there, my name is Nurul - I'm a maker and designer for a brand I established a year ago, Enchanted Pinkdom. I specialize in handmade yarn and wire words- first of its kind in Malaysia, for home and kids room décor. I am self-taught maker, and a DIY enthusiast since my childhood days. Growing up with my parents who were Art Teachers inspired me in many ways. It pretty much brought me here to where I am today. I started investing some time to learn and create handmade projects in October 2019 and within a year, I' have created more than 100 art pieces including personalized baby gift sets, yarn wordings and embroidered wall decors. I find peace when I am making and creating, and connecting with art is my therapy. I believe in the saying, "in whatever you do, just make sure you enjoy the journey", and so far I'm in love with arts and crafts. 

How did you turn your handmade passion into a business?

Prior to being a full time maker, I was in corporate world for 10 years and exactly a year ago I exited my company and chose this unconventional path of pursuing my passion. The perks of being a stay at home, I have a little bit more of extra time to spend on doing what I love. Learning only from YouTube and my mom as my Mentor, I started to explore and fell in love in creating handmade items, mostly for self collection at the beginning of my journey. I started small embroidery, sewing and knitting projects. 

When I posted my work on social media, a few friends and followers showed their interests in purchasing my artwork, creating demand. To be honest at first I didn't have the confidence to sell my artwork and always have the fear of not meeting others' expectations. I'm blessed because I have my family, besties and a few other makers, who really supported me to go further. That's when my passion turned into business.

How did you create a niche in the handmade products and services that you offer?

I have identified my interest and passion in handmade long ago. Since I was still in corporate world, I connected myself with other makers and DIY enthusiasts. I followed décor accounts and continuously look for inspirations and exchange of ideas. From there I've made a little research and I narrowed down to personalized home décor items like yarn wordings; it is trending in the US, Europe and Australia but can't be found here locally. 

I was so keen in testing my ideas so I started learning how to make and I've created a personal collection for my own kids. It took me around half a year before I came out with the very first yarn wording. When I finally have the confidence to fulfill orders, I leveled up to make and create for my friends and followers. This, in a way helped me practice to improve my work; at the same time gather enough materials to showcase and market my work to broader audience. 

When I regularly posted my artwork on my Instagram account, I slowly gained followers and customers. After several months, I achieved another milestone by listing out my work on Shopee as an effort to offer my customers a better shopping experience.

What inspires you as a maker?
My parents and grandma inspire me the most, their love for arts and DIY lives within me. They have taught me that arts is something that gives emotional impact - it is how you make people feel about the things you have created. 

My family stayed with my grandma until I was 13. She was a classic example of an Asian Bree Van De Kamp. She sewed and DIYed almost everything I could remember - from curtains, to cushion covers, to clothes and so on. My grandma had this tradition of having tea time with us sitting on the floor every evening, and she served us using a metal tray with floral engraving by my dad with his signature on it. My siblings and I would admire this work and effort so much.

My mom on the other hand loves sewing, cross-stitching, and painting. She's good and a natural too. I recall, whenever I think of their artwork, I feel a sense of contentment and love. I believe it's the same feeling I experience when I started making things for my own kids. How they appreciate the personalized details and how special they feel - it lifts my spirit to thrive better.

What are the valuable lessons that you have learned during this handmade business journey?
Throughout this handmade business journey, I learned a lot. I used to be a perfectionist, everything has to be in perfect order or look perfect so I tend to be workaholic especially when I am passionate about something. To one point, it became pretty hectic and overwhelming when I need to attend to 3 small kids, doing the house chores and managing orders and other commitments. Trying to make everything perfect also delays my work.

I realized that handmade business requires specific working hours too - having a day off and time for yourself. Setting boundaries is important. Never set a very high par for yourself, never push your limits too far. And that arts is subjective, so handmade doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be as perfect as machine-made items. That's what makes handmade items special and unique.
Another important lesson I have learned is to limit my options. Instead of focusing on too many products, I stick to only 3 products for now - yarn wordings/signs, hand embroidered wall decor that I named it as "Noah the Lion" and yarn wordings/signs on hoops. 

Having a specific list of color options for my yarns and not going blindly based on what customers demand also helps me a lot. Other than my products, I also limit my screen time to better focus on my work, I even limit the things I want to see on social media as certain things will easily affect my mood and feelings, which will then affect my work.
Setting up daily and weekly goals is very very helpful for me. I'll assign myself specific tasks to complete each day, with reasonable timeline to follow. For example, Mondays and Wednesdays are my Shipping Days. So other days in between are to focus on completing orders - on first come first served basis.
Creative Advice

Tips for Small Handmade Business Owners on How to Effectively Maintain a Good After-Sales Relationship with Your Customers

Empathize and go above and beyond than just providing a service. 

Imagine yourself as the customer, what would you like to experience when you purchase something other than the item itself? It has to be great service too.

Human touch experience is key in providing your customers an after-sales experience.
Include Process & Progress. 

Completing a personalized order takes time, therefore I will constantly update them on the progress and will give a sneak peak too. This way, I could also confirm that both parties are on the same page, and build trust.
Keep them posted. 

When items have been shipped out, I will update them of the transit of their items. If there's any delay or no movement, I'll follow up with the shipping company and will make sure to keep my customers informed. Next, when the tracking shows delivered, I'll follow up to know if the received item is in perfect condition. 

After investing hours and days making the best piece, my greatest fear is that my item is damaged during transit, therefore labeling the parcel is just as important. It will minimize the risk of improper handling, at the same time will provide extra guidance to my customers on where to open the parcel, how to carefully pull out the item and so on. I do understand that unboxing is an important experience especially to small businesses like mine.
Extra Assistance. 

I give my new customers additional details and assistance on how to install. I include tips on how to style the handmade item with sample pictures or explanations. My ultimate goal is to ensure that I work well with my customers before, during and after sale.
Honest feedback. 

I welcome feedback from my customers because it helps me with evaluating my work. I usually make sure I will drop them a message to provide a rating and feedback.
Build Friendship. 

Create a strong bond with them, drop them a message once in a while to say Hi. I have several customers who are now my virtual friends. 

There will be times when you encounter a unique situation, it can be anything - bad or good. My advise is always take this opportunity for an empowerment call; take the extra mile for your customers, even if it requires you sacrifices and losses. Based on my experience, 9 in 10 situations will give great outcomes and experience. Trust me, what you'll gain in the end is greater than what you've lost. 

Follow Nurul on her journey as a handmade artist and DIY enthusiast at Enchanted Pinkdom on Instagram


Q&A with Creatives is an interview topic by The Artsy Craftsy to empower fellow artists, crafters and makers with artful life and business tips and advice.

The Artsy Craftsy covers mainly creative arts, crafts and handmade related stories. We welcome content collaboration with creatives, creative lifestyle event invites, including sponsored content and brand partnerships. Or speak to us more about our creative services for corporate brand events and activities. Email theartsycraftsy@gmail.com

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