Hand-stitched cushions with owl and cat motifs are not only a business venture for a Perak princess, writes Raja Khalidatul Asrin
TWO years ago, Raja Shaidatul Manira Raja Ahmed Sifuddin moved to Langkawi from England, a place she called home for the past 30 years. The Perak princess who goes by the name of Shyda King chose Langkawi for the bohemian lifestyle that she has adopted. Plus, she is a beach bum at heart.
But Shyda, who had worked with Laura Ashley UK, also chose the island as the location for her hand-stitched cushion business. “I normally sew my cushions by the beach because I love listening to the sound of waves while I stitch.”
Her cushions, which carry owl and cat motifs and none are identical, have found their way into palaces and ordinary homes.
She started the business by chance. Her cousin, Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris, had requested for some cushions from her.
“Tuanku saw the cushions on my Facebook account. She was the first to buy my cushions. I was apprehensive at first but, in the end, I made a few owl cushions for her. She loved it. She gave me the idea of selling the cushions to the public so that I can make some money while living here,” Shyda said.
She made good use the sewing lessons she was taught in school. “We had domestic science class back then and it was during that time that I began to love sewing.”
Shyda’s hand-stitched cushions are making waves. She has so far sold 500 cushions of different designs.
“I prefer to hand stitch the cushions because I enjoy seeing the designs come to life through my stitching. I love the cute motifs that I design and threading it may be intricate but it’s therapy for me.”
Orders are taken on the phone and buyers choose the motifs they want. So far, the owl and cat motifs are her bestsellers. She had also made cushions with butterfly motifs for Raja Zarith’s eldest sister, Raja Datuk Seri Nazhatul Shima, as requested by someone for the latter’s birthday.
At RM150 a piece, it is not exactly cheap because Shyda uses high quality fabric and fillings for the cushions. “It will not flatten after a while. It remains as plush as when I made them. My customers are not only members of the royal family but also people who collect hand-stitched cushions. Not all are VIPs and my friends from the UK buy them, too.”
Her customers find out about her cushions through word of mouth and her Facebook account.
She’ll take a few weeks to complete a set of two cushions and send them to her customers via Pos Laju.
“My customers usually order the cushions for themselves and as gifts,” she said, counting one Kedah princess as her regular customer. “She loves the cat motifs and each time she comes to Langkawi, I deliver it to her personally at the hotel.”
She designs, draws the motifs and sews the cushions herself.
“I do not want to use a machine because it becomes too commercial-looking. I sew with lots of love so that they have my identity.”
Shyda will be launching her cushions soon. Meanwhile, she is taking orders on a monthly basis. This keeps her busy in between basking under the sun by the Andaman sea.