If you have not heard of Frankitas yet, now is a good time as any. Exotic with a touch of classy sophistication, it is definitely a brand to watch out for. Frankitas, which literally means Franki’s purse in Bahasa Indonesia has managed to add that fashion edginess and commercial viability to ethnic artforms which a lot of NGO’s have struggled with in their efforts to help the local indigenous people like the Mah Meri group to promote their art. Frankitas took the ethnic creativity to a new level and managed to bridge that gap and fill our senses with well made retro chic clutches, bags, scarfs and jewelry. Yes, if you are into the beauty of these traditional fabrics like traditional fabrics like batik, ikat, songket, rangrang made by skilled craftsmen/women, you will want to own their colourful artistic collections. All materials are sourced directly from the origins and and handmade by skilled artisans from Malaysia, India, Central Asia, Africa and Indonesia. Franki Turner who is of Javanese origin but with Malaysian sensibilities since she was braought up here shares her heritage journey with emmagem.com..
How did Frankitas come about? A little history …
Frankitas started exactly one year ago, now with a collection of bags & purses, Jewelries and home décor, made from traditional ethnic textiles that are rich in heritage and history.
Growing up in an Indonesian village and having lived in Malaysia for so long, I have always had a strong desire to create a fashion brand that offered a blend of my heritage and ethnicity. I knew there was a gap in the market for a Frankitas brand and when I turned 35 last year, I decided to take a risk and pursue my love for fashion and textile.
How big is the team? Who does the designing and the sourcing? Is it difficult sourcing for the material and what about quality control cross the region?
We’re small and a pretty lean team. I pretty much do all the designs and all the sourcing myself- I am extremely particular about the textile element.
Sourcing for fabrics and quality control can be challenging at times because I can’t really travel as much now with my 3 children who still depend on me. So I rely on trust based on the relationship I’ve developed with my weavers and suppliers.
Your products are made using fair trade products? Please share with us the journey..
The textiles are authentically handwoven by weavers from Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. We loyally buy our raw materials 80% directly from the artisans and will continue to do so. I wanted to build an internal relationship between the weavers and women whom I’d be selling Frankitas’ merchandise to, so there would be a sense of appreciation and respect for the artistry.
What was your marketing strategy when you started, and how has things change with new competition and what are your current strategies?
My initial marketing strategy was focused on social media. It was and still is the best form of advertising, especially for start-ups. Almost a year later, we invested some time and effort into PR to get our brand and message across – we officially launched Frankitas to the media and public. This has really strengthen our brand presence in Malaysia, and now slowly outside of the country.
The strategy today is to remain focus and expand strategically, not only from a distribution perspective, but also on the textile element.
How’s your daily life as an entrepreneur now?
My daily life is pretty hectic crazy (good crazy) at the moment. It is a constant juggle of playing different roles and wearing different hats. But It’s a great journey to be in.
Could you share us a bit about your toughest moment of being an entrepreneur, and what’s your secret key to face the tough times?
Finding the right people and fit for the brand was one of the challenge. The other challenge was balancing on being a wife, a mother of 3 children and an entrepreneur. It was a bit of struggle to start off with, especially with focus, it’s getting better now.
I realized from day one that exercise is key in easing my challenges. Not only does it keep me physically fit, but it keeps me focused. And surrounding yourself with positive people helps big time. I am very fortunate and blessed to have incredible friends in my life that lift me up every time.
What is your most rewarding part as an entrepreneur?
Having full control of my own time is extraordinarily rewarding as well as communicating World’s heritage through textile is such a happy journey.
?What are the future plans for frankitas, which you currently sell on Etsy and also at your gallery?The plan is to research more of the World’s textile and heritage, and to incorporate it to Frankitas. We want to work closer with the weavers and communicate their story even more. And eventually have a wider distribution network, especially hotels and resorts.
What would be your advice for our aspiring entrepreneurs?
Work smart and don’t be afraid to take risks.
Please state your own inspirational quote to inspire Malaysian young entrepreneurs!
Stay true to who you are and where you come from. Essentially, that is your signature.
By appointment at :6010 7021090
All pictures courtesy of frankitas.