KOTA BARU: For the past 30 years, Fauzi Zakaria eked out a meagre living sewing baju melayu from his little shop at Chabang Tiga, Pengkalan Chepa, near here.
The 55-year-old physically disabled man has always dreamed about opening a boutique.
Despite his ability to sew creative and fashionable outfits, he more or less resigned himself to a difficult life.
“Many people overlooked my creations maybe because they felt put off by a handicapped tailor. I had to struggle but I never gave up,” he said.
His fortunes changed last year when a local community leader spotted his fashionable baju melayu and ordered several from him.
Word got around that Fauzi had a lot of talent. His pricing was also reasonable compared to other tailors.
Fauzi has so far received 200 orders for this Hari Raya and has had to hire two assistants to help him.
His wife, Fatimah Abdullah, 59, and two children also help him in his shop.
He works from 8.30am till 9pm daily except for Fridays.
“I thank God for this,” he said recently.
Despite his disability, Fauzi goes out of the way to give the best service to his customers. He regularly makes home visits on his three-wheeled motorcycle to take measurements and deliver clothes.
He said with the people of Kelantan having more money now, he has noticed that many of them, especially the men, were interested in donning fashionable baju melayu.
He charges RM70 per outfit for adults and RM40 for children. Most of his clients are government officers, community leaders and teachers.
Some of them live in Kuala Lumpur but would order their baju melayu from him.
Fauzi learned sewing in the 1970s when he was a student at the state-run disabled centre in Pengkalan Chepa where he was also thought basic fashion design.
With things looking good at last, Fauzi believes he is on the way to fulfilling his lifelong dream of opening a boutique.