MANY locally made products, especially handicrafts, have long been stigmatised as being not good enough for the foreign market.
But that is now a thing of the past; the trend in gift-giving these days is to present not only to Malaysians but also foreigners handicraft that are truly Malaysian and represent some form of Malaysian culture or arts.
The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry, through its agencies, has embarked on an extensive campaign to showcase Malaysian handicrafts through in-store promotions.
The first of these promotions, which is are being held in conjunction with the country’s 50th anni-versary of independence and Visit Malaysia Year 2007 (VMY07), was launched at the Jaya Jusco store in Taman Equine, Seri Kembangan, recently.
“The promotion is aimed at creating a world-class tourism attraction which showcases Malaysian handicrafts and cultural elements,’’ said Handicrafts Malaysia Promotions, Development and Marketing director Sabrina Mohd Taufek.
She said a total of 16 entrepreneurs were involved in the first promotion, adding that the In-Store 2007 campaign, would be held throughout the year in different locations.
Sabrina added that the Handi-crafts Malaysia Promotions' cam-paign to popularise local handicrafts had been in place since 2004, with several shopping complexes – namely Jusco, Mid Valley Megamall, Berjaya Times Square, The Weld and Great Eastern Mall – as partners.
“The handicraft promotion at Jusco Seri Kembangan is the first for the year. The idea is to reach out to the surrounding communities of Serdang, Kajang and Cheras,’’ Sabrina said, adding that the promotion would move to The Weld in Kuala Lumpur from June 11 to 23, featuring a new group of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur Fauzi Tahir of Studio Pena runs a one-man operation making stoneware ceramics from clay and wood ash.
“I started the business only three years ago with a small capital, and I decided to run it as a one-man operation until I am more established,” said Fauzi, from Felda Gunung Be-sout in Sungkai, Perak.
In contrast, Azizah Ahmad of Zafialno Enterprise in Taman Ping-giran Senawang, Seremban, employs five single mothers to help her in her woven craft business.
“It is a family business which started seven years ago. When the business started growing, I decided to employ five single mothers from the surrounding areas who work from home,’’ said Azizah.
Choong Seow Hing of CCP-Design Sdn Bhd aims to brighten homes with his handcrafted lampshades.
“There are four sizes available and they sport unique designs. They are easy to carry as they are light, and make perfect festive and wedding gifts,’’ said Choong, from Sg Chua, Kajang.
The in-store promotion runs from 10am to 10pm daily until May 20, and activities related to the promotion will be held from 11.30am to 9.30pm daily.