This Malaysian Muslim Left Her Law Profession To Start Her Own Embroidery Business


Noor Aishah Karim •  Jul 28, 2023

During the challenging times of quarantine in 2020, Nini stumbled upon embroidery, discovering it to be her stress reliever while juggling her final year of law school and job hunting. As someone always passionate about art, she found solace in this traditional craft that reflects her Muslim identity.

Credit: Nini

Discovering Embroidery during Quarantine:

Credit: Nini

"Embroidery became my stress reliever during online classes and job searching," says Nini. She was captivated by the presence of embroidery in her culture and decided to delve deeper into this art form.

Passion for Art and Muslim Identity:

Credit: Nini

Nini's love for art and her Muslim identity also led her to focus on Islamic calligraphy embroidery (also known as Khat) for wedding mahar. She shared how this gave her work more meaning and personal significance!

A Touching Commission and Validation:

Credit: Nini

One of the turning points in Nini's journey was a memorable commission from a client seeking a portrait of his late mother. Combining figures from two different photos proved to be a challenging task, but when she presented the finished piece to her client, the response overwhelmed her. The realisation that her artwork could be a significant remembrance in someone's life touched her deeply."I never thought my artwork would have such a significant impact on someone's life," says Nini, recalling a memorable commission of a late mother's portrait. The client's heartfelt response touched her deeply.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Entrepreneurship:

Facing initial challenges in business management, Nini sought to educate herself through research, podcasts, and consultations with other embroiders. "Proper planning and pricing were key factors in establishing a sustainable business," she shares. Transitioning her passion for embroidery from a hobby to a business was not without its obstacles. Lack of knowledge in business management, undervaluing her work, and struggles with competition were initial setbacks. However, Nini's determination and thirst for knowledge led her to educate herself through research, podcasts, audiobooks, and consultations with other embroiders. With a clear business plan and a better understanding of pricing, she started steering her venture towards a sustainable path.

Finding Motivation in Daily Goals and Skill Development:

As a one-woman show, Nini juggled multiple tasks, which sometimes led to feelings of burnout. However, she discovered that incorporating new crafts and techniques like machine embroidery, keychains, and bookmarks rejuvenated her creativity. Setting daily goals and rewarding herself upon achieving them helped maintain motivation. Her ultimate goal remained to create awareness about handmade embroidery in Malaysia and inspire others to embrace this timeless art form. To combat burnout, Nini explores new crafts like machine embroidery, keychains, and bookmarks, keeping her creativity alive. "Setting daily goals and rewarding myself upon achievement keeps me motivated," she reveals.

Preserving Art and Passing It On:

Nini aspires to create awareness about handmade embroidery in Malaysia and aims to pass down this traditional skill to the next generation, ensuring its preservation.

Nini's journey exemplifies the power of art and self-discovery. Through embroidery, she found a profound connection to her Muslim identity and a passion that fuels her artistic endeavors. Her determination to preserve this timeless art form and inspire others serves as a testament to the rewards of pursuing one's passion with dedication and joy.