It is said that discovering yourself is the key to realizing your full potential. Growing up, Malaysian fashion designer Jeffery Goh struggled to find his own identity. At an early age, he saw himself as different and was often bullied as a result.
Art was his means of expression. “Designing was an escape for me as I could unleash my creativity and fantasies in my designs,” the artist said.
Now he’s able to do it full-time after creating his own line of batik clothing called inisaya, which means “it’s me” in Malay.
make a name
After graduating, Jeffery embarked on his journey to find his place in the fashion world. Working with other fashion designers was her way of gaining the necessary visibility in the industry.
When he knew he had greater potential to start a business based on his creativity, Jeffery quit his day job to do it.
The budding designer thought he could create bespoke wedding and evening dresses. But when the pandemic hit, he realized it wasn’t an ideal plan to move forward, given the number of weddings postponed indefinitely as a result of COVID-19 SOPs.
Instead, Jeffery saw his chance to challenge the batik menswear category in Malaysia when he noticed that there was a serious lack of fashionable batik clothes for men in the market.
“Most batik clothes for men are just plain shirts with normal buttons,” he noted, and thought, “I would really like to introduce Malaysian culture in a more fun way, with variations colors and styles or modern ways, but still not too far from the silhouettes and cuts of our traditional clothing.
As clothing alterations became commonplace, Jeffery also wanted to include them in his services. Therefore, for a better fit, people who purchase inisaya clothing can expect free alterations and customizations.
Offer the greatest possible value
Jeffery explained that each garment is handmade. “By placing the patterns in the most effective and prettiest way to show off the prints, every piece of batik we produce is special in its own way,” he said.
To make the brand stand out even more, the designer said that he only buys a certain amount of batik materials and once the materials run out, they will not buy the same prints again, no matter how good they are. of sale.
“We want to guarantee exclusivity to our customers by producing less, and that also helps the environment,” he said. “We try to reduce waste by producing smaller batches, more exclusive and limited pieces so that each piece is unique, and also use the scraps to make pouches, bags and masks.”
Jeffery believes that every brand and every designer has a market. There must be qualities that attract the right group of people.
For inisaya, the size of her clothes is designed for men who prefer oversized clothes and for women who prefer adjustable clothes.
“We try to make sure that our clothes are suitable for all of our customers, and in doing so, we think of different ways to make clothes versatile,” the designer explained. “We’re not just catering to a niche group, but rather trying to be more inclusive of all shapes and sizes.”
I love the Wira top myself. The oversized look gives me a lot of room and mystery to my overall look. Not only does it hide most of my insecurities, but it also creates stylish silhouettes that differ depending on what you pair it with or how you accessorize.
The inisaya team now typically creates between 20 and 30 pieces of each design, and sometimes even less, which shows their intention to create exclusivity.
A small but passionate team
The cost of running his business is not only monetary, but also time. “Most creations take about a few hours to draw, cut and sew,” Jeffery revealed. “When I was doing it alone, I managed to do over 50 pieces in a week, and that’s without getting enough sleep.”
Currently, the person helping Jeffery produce more fabrics is his production assistant, Ain, who joined the team to learn how the fashion industry works.
Meanwhile, Audrey, Jeffery’s assistant, assists him with managing social media accounts and does the majority of the styling for shoots.
Customers usually had to pre-order their clothes two to four weeks in advance. However, the team fulfills rush orders for an additional fee. These commands will be prioritized before dealing with other commands.
But even with such a lengthy process, Jeffery told Vulcan Post that there are still plenty of people who understand this and appreciate the craftsmanship of each piece.
The main challenge for inisaya is production, which is expected to increase in the near future. Finding more people to join the team is also crucial for the long-term growth and viability of the business.
“Creating a piece takes time, especially when using batik/prints in general, as some designs require you to match prints to look better,” the designer said. “Also, due to the overwhelming orders and demands, it’s quite difficult to do much with limited manpower and time.”
Usually, the scarcity of a product causes most business owners to raise the price as demand increases. However, a price increase would go against Jeffery’s core values, as he wants his clothes to be accessible to as many people as possible.
Instead, he would focus on increasing the startup’s productivity. His strategy is to pre-cut the fabric pieces and outsource them to home tailors, single mothers and anyone else interested in taking up the offer. He strongly believes that by doing so, the economy would be given more opportunities.
Jeffrey hopes to find freelancers to take on some of the remaining responsibilities of inisaya’s operations, including social media marketing, inventory, logistics, customer service, and accounting, and learn from them as well.
Valuable lessons that couldn’t be bought
One of the most valuable lessons Jeffery learned was the importance of putting his heart and soul into crafting his artistic creations. He believes his clients can feel the passion he has for what he does.
The entrepreneur also learned that there is no perfect time to start a business; rather, it is important to be able to seize opportunities when they arise.
“When I launched my first collection, I didn’t give it much thought. I also thought there was no harm in giving it a try as I had nothing to lose either. If it doesn’t work, at least I know I tried. he theorized. “Amazingly, [the collection] was well received. From there, I gained more confidence to create more designs! »
And he did, launching a total of four collections in less than a year. For this and other achievements with inisaya, he gratefully thanked his parents, friends and team.
In the future, we can expect to see inisaya’s first brick and mortar store. The designer hinted that he intends to develop his own prints, which will not be limited to batik themes, but will also include other Malaysian-inspired prints.
Jeffery’s story is one that shows the result of putting your passion into your work. When it results in a good end product, there will be customers willing to pay an appropriate price and wait for it to be completed.
- Learn more about inisaya here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: inisaya