The Journey of a Breadwinner Transforming Into a Loving MotherBy Eric Lian · 8th May, 2019
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads or accommodations.
With the passing of her father, Afiqah has to bear the responsibility of taking care of her family. It was hard supporting her mother and 4 younger siblings with 2 of them studying abroad, but she never gave up.
With the hardship she was facing, she managed to turn her passion to making baby booties and send a message to the mommies about damaging hard sole shoes and the importance of providing the right footwear for newborns.
Afiqah from Pikalula might be selling baby booties, but the story behind was touching and inspiring. Today, I'm sharing how a breadwinner of a family turns her passion for sewing baby booties into an online business.
Without further ado, let’s look into the inspiring story of the founder of Pikalula.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and how did your brand come about?
My full name is Nur Afiqah Mohammad Aidid. I’m 31 years old, graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia in Bachelor of Engineering (Civil & Infrastructure). 'Pika' comes from 'Kak Pika', which is my nickname. The only thing that I love to do, and really good at it, is to sing lullabies to babies. Before I have my own daughter, I used to sing lullabies to my baby cousins. So my baby cousins would call me 'kak pika, lulla!!' So there you go, that's how we got the name Pikalula.
Being a mother with my child’s image as a big concern, socks apparently don’t fit the bill. So, I came up with a few designs and started sewing baby booties for my baby. The booties are sewn together with soft fabric and feature soft soles which are perfect for the growth of their tiny feet and grasping action of their toes. Not just pretty, the booties are also a healthy choice for babies’ feet development. Now, the baby is happy, so is mommy.
2. Can you tell us what inspired you to sell baby booties?
After 3 years of practicing engineering & doing online business part-time, I got married to an entrepreneur. He runs his family’s 40-year-old tailoring business in KL. So I moved to KL ( I was from Seremban) after getting married and left engineering & my online business to be a full-time housewife.
I enjoyed doing business very much and started missing interacting with my agents & customers. So I helped my husband with his tailoring business. But it’s a very traditional & conventional business, they focus more on their 8 physical stores instead of selling online. I wasn’t able to be in all 8 stores at a time, so I came out with the idea of selling their products online.
Then I got pregnant, my husband asked me to stop the online business. After delivering my first born, I had trouble looking for soft sole shoes, that’s how I started with Pikalula Baby Booties.
3. Before entering into the Ecommerce scene, what was the formal occupation?
Upon graduation, my father passed away and I had to take over his company after the passing (my father was a civil engineer too). Life was hard back then as I had to be the breadwinner, caring for my mother and 4 younger siblings. 2 of my siblings were still studying in Australia at that time so I worked really hard to pay for their tuition fees & expenses and started doing online business in 2011. I started by selling fragrances on blog, Facebook & Instagram. After having like 100+ dropship agents, I hired someone to build a website for my fragrance business.
4. What was the most memorable experience that you had so far in your business?
I started Pikalula in 2015. We were just a small homegrown business which sells 20 pairs of booties a month in the beginning. I am still in disbelief now to see my own brand in 8 of Happikiddo baby stores in Klang Valley and we managed to sell a thousand pairs of booties in a year now (including online).
5. Are there any challenges throughout the journey? And how do you overcome it?
Pikalula baby booties are all handmade. As demand grows, I need more supplies. But my workers are not able to sew much because I am very fussy in ensuring the good quality of my product. I did try to find other sewists but ended up being cheated. This happened in 2017 when I was pregnant with my second child. Imagine I was 8 months pregnant and had to go to the police station to solve the problem. In the end, I did get back some amount of my money but all the sewing materials were returned in bad condition. I lost quite a lot at that time so I decided to just stick with my current workers. I learned my lesson- it is quality rather than quantity that matters. After all, I’m not doing this business for money.
6. Why do you choose EasyStore?
Corresponding to its name ‘EasyStore’, it is indeed very easy to use. I used to hire web designers for my previous businesses. I had trouble delivering my thoughts and ideas. In the end, I paid for things that I don’t like. But with EasyStore, I am able to create my own webshop easily & happily. With all the available themes , I am able to change the look of my website whenever I like. Even though I am not a web designer, whenever I have trouble with my website, I will get instant help from the EasyStore team. With EasyStore, my inventory list and sales reports are more manageable. I can also synchronize my website to other platforms like Shopee and Lazada easily and that saves me a lot of time!
7. What is the aim or goal for your brand?
My goal is to create awareness to parents out there about how harmful hard sole shoes can be to their babies. My aim is to produce high-quality soft sole shoes which are affordable.
8. Is there anything you want to share with those who want to start their own business online?
Never give up. If I were to give up from the beginning at the time my father passed away, I don’t think I will be able to live the life I am living now. And as the breadwinner, giving up is actually a selfish act. If I gave up, I might have ‘killed’ my whole family at that time. I am grateful for the support they have given me thought out the years too.
*One of their satisfied customer*
When life gives you lemons, you made lemonade out of it. Check out their stores and social media at the links below!
Website : http://www.pikalula.com/
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