Back in 2018, Sue Yii, the founder of startup, Royale Demure, a fashion production house which also assists designers to crowdfund and start their own fashion line, faced a stumbling block – manufacturers of clothing were operating on a minimum order rather than big bulk orders.
She turned to independent tailors who were willing to sew clothes in small orders and this employment opportunity soon started spreading among the community of women ranging from housewives to single mothers working from home. Soon, there were a group of B40 women who were willing to take up more orders from Royal Demure.
This inspired Sue Yii to set up a social startup to provide employment opportunities for B40 women. Enter Komuniti Tukang Jahit (KTJ) in Kampung Pandan, Ampang, a social enterprise dedicated to empower and provide job opportunities to the sewing community from underprivileged households.
“We are not only giving opportunity to women in the B40 and M40 segment, but we’re also providing opportunity for designers to get their designs made”, she told MALAYSIA SME.
No one succeeds alone – the same goes for Sue Yii, who was soon joined by accountant, Teck Hooi to run the startups where he takes care of finance and business strategies.
Since its inception, KTJ has expanded its range of products and services to include corporate gifts, household décor, duffel bags, premium bowties, and neckties. In fact, the tailors at KTJ are determined that they can sew just about anything!
One of KTJ’s recent design were hand sewn ang pau, multipurpose pouches!
View the captivating design below:
At the end of the day, KTJ ensures that 30% of their sales go to the B40 tailors as wages. In addition, this startup implements a reward-based system, where if the product of these independent tailors receive a demand to be reproduced, they will earn a commission and a fee to train other tailors to sew and take on the order together.
As for KTJ’s future plans, the enterprise hopes to personalise each hand sewn item with the names and faces or even stories of each tailor behind these items.
We wish all the amazing ladies and tailors at KTJ much success!
*Feature image sourced from Komuniti Tukang Jahit (KTJ)