May 15, 2015 | The Malaysian Insider
When Eena Khalil Lim went to Kuching, Sarawak, last year, little did she know that a visit to a songket shop run by local women weavers would result in the birth of a retail outlet that aims to revolutionise the perception of social entrepreneurship and craftsmanship in Malaysia.
“I was blown away by the fine quality and the craftsmanship that went into the weaving of the fabrics, many of which were made by teenage girls,” said Eena.
Her introduction to Tanoti, which started off as a foundation to improve the lives of rural womenfolk through the ancient arts of songket weaving, has led to a year-long labour of love to provide a retail outlet for social entrepreneurs to showcase their crafts and promote their causes.
“I just remembered thinking to myself. ‘Why can’t I find products like these – which are made by social entrepreneurs – in Kuala Lumpur?’ And that’s when the idea of The Good Shop came,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
Eena Khalil Lim, who is the director of MyIntinium, says The Good Shop is where customers can get quality songket products while helping to better lives of the communities that make them.
The Good Shop, which was launched Thursday, hopes to change the common perception that quality is compromised when it comes to products.
The outlet sells products from five different social organisations, including Tanoti, which are in support of the deaf, the learning organisations, including Tanoti, which are in support of the deaf, the learning disabled, sustainable living and cultural preservation.
The shop even has a juice bar run by the Deaf in Business organisation, and the range of goods sold include creatively recycled ecodesigns by BijiBiji Initiative, handmade batik designs from Batik Boutique created by single mothers and low-income women, children’s books by publishers Magicbird and of course, a range of upscale songket products by Tanoti. Products are priced from as low as RM15 for handwoven batik gift cards, to tens of thousands for custom-made songket bags.
“The long term goal of The Good Shop is to become a multi-brand retailer that creates and offers high quality products,” said Eena, who is the director of MyIntinium, the operational partner of The Good Shop.
“We hope to break the perception that it’s just charity, because consumers generally view products sold for that purpose as low in quality.
“If you look at the products sold at The Good Shop, you’ll see the fine craftsmanship that goes into all the work. You are paying market rate for a very good product. “The fact that it is also helping to make someone else life better is a bonus.”
The Good Shop is located at the West Wing A, Level LG2 of Sunway Pyramid.