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New Sewing Centre Launch

Batik Boutique proudly launched our new sewing training centre in Kota Damansara, which will help provide training to more seamstresses with sewing and other marketable skills. The official launch was attended by industry partners, NGOs, our seamstresses, and friends, and the launch was officiated by the Kota Damansara children's drum group.

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5 Reasons To Travel to Malaysia in 2017

5 Reasons To Travel to Malaysia in 2017

Now a top choice for luxurious holidays, Southeast Asia in recent years has not only been a backpacker favourite but also has resorts that can rival that of the Maldives. Known for its eclectic mixture of different ancient cultures and modern Western influences, it’s a charming corner of the world that has something for everyone.  With the first round of school holidays in 2017 coming up, it’s the perfect time to plan your holidays for the year and book your flights early.  Here’s why Malaysia should be on your list this year:

 

1. SEA Games

Occurring bi-annually, the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games is happening in Kuala Lumpur this year. It’s been 16 years since Malaysia lasted hosted the games, and this year it will be held in conjunction the 60th celebration of Malaysian Independence on August 31st!

From a recent surge of nationwide enthusiasm about sports from a successful Olympics game last summer, you can bet that KL2017 will be an event you don’t want to miss.

 

2. Food to die for

While Malaysian food has been heralded as life-changing by world-renowned chefs like

Anthony Bourdain for years, recently Malaysia has seen Melbourne-inspired cafes, vegan restaurants, and Scandinavian-style bakeries pop up across its cities. Now Malaysia can truly be called a food heaven as it keeps up global food trends and further diversifies its international food scene.

Don’t skip out on the nasi lemak or char kuey teow, but if you feel a little homesick, you can be sure to find some comfort food from home during your visit.

 

smoothie bowl kuala lumpur

 

3. Blossoming Art Scene

Malaysia has exporting world-renown artists such as Jimmy Choo and H. H. Lim for many decades. However, Malaysia has been witnessing a sudden influx of international artists that are attracted to Malaysia’s interesting mix of traditional and modern cultures.

The street art of Georgetown, Penang is no stranger to the global audience, but Malaysians themselves are becoming more interested in creating art too. Craft workshops, from batik painting to brush lettering, are becoming increasingly popular. You can sign up for a batik workshop where you can make your own batik scarf or even learn how to use the ancient Japanese dyeing technique of shibori here.

 

batik class workshop kuala lumpur

 

 4. Breathtaking nature

After you’ve experienced the culture, don’t forget about the nature. Other than spicy food and the art of batik, Malaysia is well known for its beaches, highlands, and rainforests too. Now more than ever, Malaysia is dedicated to rainforest conservation and raising environmental awareness.

Challenge yourself with a 2-day hike to Malaysia’s tallest mountain Mount Kinabalu. Or take a trip to The Habitat on Penang Hill via cable car and see the Malaysian rainforest without breaking a sweat. Stop by their shop and buy some batik fashion products too to make it a truly Malaysian experience.

 

5. Affordable Flight Options

Any seasoned global traveller will tell you that Southeast Asia has the cheapest domestic and international flights you can find anywhere. With many budget airlines to choose from, you could fly from Peninsular Malaysia to Borneo for US$50 or from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok for less than US$100.

If you’re looking for a more comfortable trip, Malaysian Airlines offers unbeatable prices for world-class service. With the ease of inflight shopping, leaving something at home is no longer a worry. Check out the inflight magazine Temptations, where you can read more about the story of the Batik Boutique and bring a piece of Malaysia with you to wherever you choose to explore next.

 

batik malaysia airlines

 

Don't forget to check out our Summer Travel Collection. Happy travels!

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Things To Do in KL: Petronas Twin Towers

Things To Do in KL: Petronas Twin Towers

Look up the meaning of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, and you might raise an eyebrow or even two. Why in the world does Malaysia’s biggest city and one of fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia have a name like “muddy confluence”? 

The name refers to the junction where the Klang and Gombak rivers meet, where the first tin mines in the area were established. A 15-minute drive away and 150 years later, Malaysia built a 452-metre tall building that quickly became an international icon after its completion in 1996.

I promise you that the splendor of these towers never disappoints. I have found myself in wonder of the Twin Towers ever since I was a child on short family holidays to even now as an adult working in Kuala Lumpur.

batik Malaysia twin towers

You always need a good, reliable bag to fit all your stuff for a day out! Today I brought my Malaysian batik tote bag from The Batik Boutique. If you love the look bright-coloured batik, Malaysia is the perfect place to visit!

As soon as you arrive, you’ll start to see how fitting of a metaphor “muddy confluence” is. Hurried office workers grab takeaway lunches impressively chatting while still walking in perfect formation. Other families are out for a meal together on their day off. A foreign business man hurries from shop to shop trying to find a gift for his wife before his flight out from KLIA. And definitely tourists. Both the large boisterous groups and that one confused couple whisper-arguing in the corner.

batik malaysia things to do in KL

Before taking this photo, an older Korean tourist in her visor instructed me to hold up peace signs. “You have to do it! It’s cuter!” she explains. 

 

Going Up The Towers

The observation deck on the 86th floor is the tallest view you can get of Kuala Lumpur. There are guided tours that take you to the Skybridge that connects the Twin Towers on the 41st floor and the observation deck. Find out more information here if you that interests you. Booking ahead is recommended on weekends and if you wish to go during sunset hours.

But here’s a secret: a view of the Towers is just as much of a novelty than a view from the Towers.

Don’t just take my word for it, but Madonna was absolutely right in saying, “You can tell how fun a city is going to be if Nobu is in it.” The reputable Japanese restaurant chain opened up a branch in on the 56th floor of Petronas Tower 3, located just a three-minute walk southwest of the Twin Towers. There is also a bar on the 57th floor which accepts walk-in customers to their bar and lounge called Marini’s on 57
So go ahead and splurge a little. The view is worth it.

batik scarf Malaysia

My beautiful mother enjoying the view of KLCC Park Marini’s on 57. Of course she stole my eco-dyed mangosteen scarf, it matched her 3-Way Clutch… which she also borrowed.  

 

Things To Do In The Twin Towers Other Than Shopping

But let’s be honest for a second. As much fun as it is to have a luxurious night out, there are days we don’t feel like dressing up just to be ushered into a dark restaurant where no one can really tell what anyone else looks like anyway.This is why I love the Twin Towers. There’s something for everyone. Take a few steps outside of the crowded shopping centre, and you can enjoy the greenery of the 50-acre park and a fountain show on Lake Symphony while enjoying a drink at one of the ground-level restaurants.

batik Malaysia journal

Even when I’m on the go, I still make the effort to spend a few minutes enjoying the sun in front of the fountain. There’s just something so calming about the sound of moving water.

A place I consistently recommend is Kinokuniya, a bookstore with an extensive range that is unmatched in all of Malaysia. If you have kids who hate reading, plop them here and watch them turn into booklovers. Just remind them that they need to take their book to the counter to take of the plastic wrapping before they start reading away!

bookstore KL Malaysia batik


There is also an art gallery on the third floor. The Petronas Gallery provides a look through the keyhole of the city’s obscure art world. Currently, a free exhibition on indigenous art and culture with a few installations by Malaysian artists.

batik clutch Malaysia

Can you spot my batik clutch?

 

My Malaysian batik clutch fits in so well because much of contemporary Malaysian fashion today still keeps its roots
in the ancient craft of batik. Practiced in Southeast Asia for over 2,000 years, batik painting and blocking is still prevalent all across Malaysia. You can learn more about batik fashion here.

After learning about the art traditions of different regions in Malaysia, it can feel a bit disheartening to walk back into a mall where global brands reign. It makes anyone feel a bit detached from the excitement of travel and exploration.

 

Making Your Shopping Count 

But what you must know is that there is a section unique in the Petronas Gift shop located on the concourse level which features products that are sponsored by Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre, or MaGIC. Here you can find products made exclusively by Malaysian startups.

batik Malaysia souvenir kl

Checking out the Petronas gift shop at the beginning of your trip is recommended because it’s located a floor down from the Philharmonic Hall entrance. Once you arrive, just turn left after you enter the building. There will be escalators on your right to head down to the concourse level. The gift shop will be on your right next to the check-in for the tours.

 

Pick up a Malaysian-blocked batik scarf or a pouch with an intricate batik pattern, which are all made ethically and by people who envision a stronger entrepreneurial spirit in Malaysia. Through your support and purchase, you’ll leave the Malaysian fashion scene a better place than you found it.

batik scarf Malaysia

Good to see that I have good taste. There’s only one left! This specific scarf is hand-dyed with mangosteen leaves, so each scarf is unique. If you’re looking for a batik scarf, Malaysia has shops selling them at almost every corner. However, be mindful that you pick up a hand-painted or hand-blocked one rather than a printed one. 

malaysia batik gift shop

I’m so incredibly proud of how far our artisans have come along, having their work displayed at the most famous building in the country. You can meet them here.

If you’re feeling especially inspired and creative, come try your hand at batik painting or blocking at a batik workshop. You can read reviews of our batik painting or blocking workshops before you make a decision.

While Kuala Lumpur is no longer a muddy confluence, its name symbolizes Malaysia’s dedication to remembering and honoring its humble beginnings. Similarly, when you look at The Batik Boutique products and other budding Malaysian ethical fashion brands, be reminded that each product was made by hands that believe in preserving Malaysian history through creating a sustainable future. 

 

You can find all the products featured in the blog post at www.thebatikboutique.comOr pop by our studio at:

The Batik Boutique
3, Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Hours:
Monday-Friday
8:30 am – 5:30pm

Call or e-mail us about arranging a batik workshop at +60 3-2303 6052 / info@thebatikboutique.com

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Empowering women entrepreneurship

Zarina Zainal Abidin is the Malaysian artisan behind Zarina Craft, an online business where she shares all her crafting. Zarina worked at The Batik Boutique and is a good friend of ours. In 2011 she lost her full-time job and was forced to look for other sources of income. Since she was able to sew, she thought to work part-time for TBB while looking for ways to expand her then side business, Zarina Craft.

Since I lost my job, I had to find something to earn an income. Getting a full time job now is difficult due to the world’s economic issues. The Batik Boutique helped me regain my confidence to push for my handmade products. In addition, TBB has been very generous in sharing their experience and expertise with me. With this help, I had a stronger platform to make my online business more successful – Zarina remembers.

zarina_batik_artisan

Zarina was the one who came up with our table runner and coasters set designs, which became one of TBB bestsellers. She also designed prototypes for our notebook covers and bookmarks.

Partly raised in the US until she was 12 years old, she found many common grounds with TBB CEO, Amy Blair. Talking to an American was second nature to her and the two ladies built a good rapport. The empowerment Zarina experienced through working at TBB pushed her to pursue her dream of running her own online business on a full-time basis.

Zarina’s dedication for sewing came from a very early age. Her mum was passionate about crafts and took many crafting classes. In the beginning, her mum would not allow her to go anywhere near a sewing machine, but later when she was 12 she managed to make two blouses for herself using purchased paper patterns.

zarina_quilt_handmade

From all the techniques she was exposed to, she was drawn to quilting the most; she loves sewing anything with straight edges! She developed her quilting skills to the point she decided to write a book. Zarina’s book is entirely written in Bahasa Malaysia, so it’s perfect for starters who don’t speak English well. She feels fortunate that the leading publisher in Malaysia, Karangkraf, liked her idea. Her book, titled Seni Asas Jahitan Quilt, is available in all major bookstores in Kuala Lumpur, and can be purchased directly from her for a signed copy. Additionally, she offers complimentary copies to everyone who takes patchwork lessons from her. Many of the fabrics that Zarina uses in the book are batiks from TBB, so check it out to explore new applications of beautiful Malaysian batik. We couldn’t be more proud of her!

zarina_book_quilting

Zarina never thought she would end up with an online business. She always wanted to be a teacher and she hasn’t given up on that:

I don’t have any background for teaching and getting teaching jobs now is a bit difficult. However, starting this year I will be going back to my beloved career – as a quilting/patchwork instructor. I am able to get places to teach at Bandar Baru Bangi, all the three Spotlight branches, Shah Alam, and Subang – Zarina says.

Her plans for the future? She will continue striving to make Zarina Craft a successful business, focusing on doing workshops and selling quilted products. In addition to that, her publishing house is requesting a follow up of the book. She has some ideas, but what’s for sure is that she will continue using TBB batiks, and we love that!

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Just an Amazin' Collaboration


This Ramadan season for the entire month of June, the Batik Boutique and Amazin' Graze have teamed up together to give you a healthy way to give back to the community. We are offering four different gift sets (A, B, C, and D) that range in price from RM15-250 in order to meet everyone’s budget this festive season.

Gift set A costs RM15 and includes a Rose Skinny Cookies Snack Pack (50g) and a cotton pouch with a printed design. It can be for yourself, your family or as a thoughtful gift for company staff, especially during or at the end of a Ramadan dinner.

Gift set B costs RM25 to attain the perfect present to offer guests or people that deserve a small token of appreciation. It is made up of a cotton, printed pouch and a jar of Pandan Skinny cookies (100g).

Gift set C costs RM100 for a Sticky Date Granola Pack (250g), a Satay Lemongrass Nut Mix Pack (120g), a Rose Skinny Cookies Jar (100g) and two hand-printed tea towels.

Gift set D costs RM250 for a Sticky Date Granola Pack (250g), a Satay Lemongrass Nut Mix Pack (120g), a Rendang Coconut Nut Mix Pack (120g), Rose Skinny Cookies (100g), a Pandan Skinny Cookies Jar (100g), and either a hand-dyed, batik, silk scarf or a hand-drawn, batik neck tie.

What could be better than two local Malaysian brands working together? Two local Malaysian brands working together in order to better the community.

Amazin’ Graze is a healthy snacks start-up providing delectable treats without refined sugar, flour, artificial preservatives and colouring so that you gain the most nutritional content possible with each and every bite. The Batik Boutique is a social enterprise with a heart for real change by providing reliable, sustainable sources of income, skills training and giving the gift of hope to low income individuals.  

So join us now in breaking the cycle of poverty and unhealthy snacking today by immersing yourself in the Malaysian cultural heritage of batik and Southeast Asian energy boosting nibbles. Let’s eat better and give back together!  

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Truly Malaysian Corporate Gifts

Traditional batik is something that says “Truly Malaysia” unlike any other product on the market today. However, sourcing customized hand-made gifts for conference attendees, clients or employees can be a difficult task. The Batik Boutique offers a wide range of personalized gifts including but not limited to: scarves, key fobs, customized notebooks and business card holders.

The corporate gift market is saturated with corporate premiums like pens, notebooks, office supplies and gadgets. Companies will often distribute these promotional products as a “thank you” for attending a conference or participating in an event. Many times these items are made cheaply and are sourced from companies who operate primarily for the sake of turning a profit rather than to better their communities.

 

A gift sourced from The Batik Boutique not only makes the recipient feel appreciated and valued, but it also contributes to alleviating the cycle of poverty right here in Malaysia. Each of our products are made from fabrics sourced from sustainable suppliers around Malaysia and are hand-crafted by our skilled artisans. While we take great pride in these premium products, and in our artisans.

No longer do companies have to decide between making clients and employees happy and doing a social justice. At The Batik Boutique, we provide an avenue to do both at the same time.

Our vision is to transform communities in Malaysia through producing high-quality batik gift and fashion products, and by having your premium gifts customized and produced by The Batik Boutique, you have the opportunity to take part in the transformation of the community, the environment and the lives of real people.

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