PETALING JAYA: A fashion mask made by Komuniti Tukang Jahit Malaysia (KTJ) raised RM16,000 for charity, possibly creating a record for the most expensive face mask ever sold here.
Dubbed the Glam Mask, it sports sequins and beads and took several days to make, said KTJ CEO Yap Sue Yii.
The publicity-shy buyer only wanted to be known as Rabbit 63, she said.
“We took part in this initiative to help those who are in need, including social enterprises, during the Covid-19 pandemic through our participation in the Social Enterprise Sustainability Initiative (SESI), ” she said.
SESI is a collaboration between SocioBiz by the Alliance Islamic Bank, Citrine Capital, an impact investor, NGOhub as a charity partner, and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government agency that supports creativity and innovation development in Malaysia.
“This initiative is a true reflection of our Malaysian spirit as it allowed us to forge meaningful partnerships to solve social issues.
“In this case, by infusing the elements of colour and glitter in the midst of a pandemic, KTJ managed to create the Glam Mask to help raise funds to support these worthwhile causes.
“By coming together, these partners have only one goal in mind – to provide aid to the communities in need, ” said Yap.
KTJ supports home-based tailors by providing them job opportunities so that they can earn an income.
However, the social enterprise that is reliant on making hand-sewn corporate gifts was badly hit in the early days of the pandemic when orders dried up.
“We already face many challenges in the gifts industry, where we have to compete with the big boys, and come up with quality products at price points that companies are comfortable with, while also helping the community at the same time, ” she said.
With about 50 tailors, KTJ is now adding more tailors to its network.
“At just two years old, KTJ is rather young, and we are still learning a lot of things. When Covid-19 arrived, a lot of things changed, and we had to figure out how to help our tailors who were stuck at home.
“It was a blessing in disguise at it forced us to reform our fundamentals overnight. If we don’t pivot in time, we die, ” said Yap.
“On the business side, people needed fabric masks quickly because at that time, three-ply masks were too expensive to be used daily.”
KTJ’s best-selling product now is the fabric face mask that uses the batik motif.
On the Glam Mask, Yap said it was an idea that came from one of KTJ’s beneficiaries, the SocioBiz, which was set up to crowdfund to help the disadvantaged earn a livelihood.
“KTJ wants to do more by supporting this campaign, and so we designed a mask with lots of glitter and shiny things.
“This is not a gimmick, but has a purpose behind it, with the most important being the impact it creates, ” said Yap.