Tuesday, July 29, 2008

no more shopping please..

it's been exhausting shopping, preparing and anticipating... but now that all the official dinners are over, i feel much more relaxed eventhough the actual award presentation is still yet to be completed.. hubby says it's some time before puasa, but as long as i know already what i'm going to be wearing that day, i'm ok with any day/date..

who says shopping is every girl's best friend?? my girl-friends huda and azu may totally embrace this statement, and maybe sherry and zana too.. but i have always been shopping-with-a-purpose type of girl.. shirts/baby-Ts/no-frill-blouses are my regular fashion-styles..black/brown/earth-tones are my colour staples.. subdued yet rugged/funky appearances are my close acquaintances.. with chunky pendants/earings/bracelets as my only loud advertisers..

upgrading eh, changing my styles to suit certain protocols and fit certain societal norms are stressful on me.. no wonder my vertigos have kept lurking around to attack me the past 1 week in-between both weekend functions..

okay, okay, no more shopping for me.. but ooppss, hariraya is coming soon...????!!! oh well, let me just rest for a while and enjoy this snapshot of this new acquaintance in my new environment..

Monday, July 21, 2008

why talk about failures 4/7..

Saturday, February 01, 2003, 9:45pm..
Endurance tests came in various forms from various directions. Limited resources, weak cashflows, late payments, late deliveries, technical breakdowns, staffing problems, product rejections and the like were regular tests on a monthly basis. These taught me to be more prudent, always making full use of existing resources, always trying to make-do, always improvising, always coming up with simpler & cheaper ways of doing things. But at the same time, always trying not to compromise on the standards that I've set myself to...

Endurance tests on my personal life, however, were more damaging and required much more mental energy. Being weekend wife to dear hubby who was also running and expanding his construction business the same time I was developing my own business identity, meant that pent-up angers and frustrations were common exchanges between us for a while. I failed to be a loving wife and an understanding friend during those turbulent years..

Morning sickness that went on for seven months during my second pregnancy, and an extended long leave after birth that left my business and workers basically unsupervised, put a big dent into the business coffers. I failed to manage my cashflows miserably. The incomes of the first four years were gone to sustain the next two years of inactivity on my part...

The revelation of the existence of a possible third party in my long-distance marriage immediately after I delivered my 2nd child, meant that most of my energy & resources in retaliation to that, were misdirected to wasted causes. I failed to follow my head and think rationally. Instead I became too emotionally-wrought and refused to listen between the lines. I refused to admit that I could be misjudging the whole situation. I failed to be a good listener to my husband. My marriage suffered along with my business..

My children were also not spared from my frustrations. I was both mother & father for most of their weekdays, and with helpers that kept coming & going, I eventually had to bear most of the child-rearing duties and housekeeping chores on my own. On many occassions during the 7 & a half years of weekday-single-parenting, I failed to be loving, considerate and understanding towards my 2 daughters..

A little essay written by my then 4 years old daughter who is now 6, described me as some kind of a wicked stepmother who was always scolding them around. I was dumbfounded reading it...

continue here

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


more like random thots in my head, but i want to immitate my favourite doc, dr. M.. so there!! ;))

1. have started producing the pyramid teapots again, eventhough their downpayment hasn't been cleared.. update 21 july: payment cleared, casting and blue glazing completed, darkbrown glaze arriving, expected delivery 28 july, to invoice before delivery..

2. have accepted 40% deposit for the e-shop items, but haven't advised my production team as yet.. update 21 july: casting commencing, check existing stocks/boxes/acryllic/metallic colours?, clear glaze?, expected delivery 4-6weeks..

3. have received verbal confirmation of 12,000 greenkaca handmade tiles, but still haven't figured out how to complete them in 4 weeks.. update 21 july: to meet up with mark, to get 2 additional workers, start tiling?, check clear glaze/greenkaca/etc..

4. have made the expensive mug-sample, but still haven't shared the outcome with the client.. update 21 july: client loves it, quoting and haggling price & delivery schedule, may reduce mug-size..

5. have told rosalind my old friend cum furniture designer that i can do her difficult order, but still clueless of how.. update 21 july: i'm still clueless..

6. have told her colleague duncan that i can do his ceramic eggs, but still haven't furnished formal quotation.. update 21 july: i'm still hopeless..

7. have been pursued relentlessly the past week for my spa-items, but avoiding their endless non-committal inquiries.. update 21 july: i should start looking at this..

8. i'm cluttered and hopeless sometimes, i know.. update 21 july: i'm less cluttered, yaayy..!!

teh tarik with me, anyone...???? ;)
update 21 july: yeah, yeah, yeah.. i'm sorting out my head and my work here today.. in between running around being superwife and supermum in my not so superbody!! thank God for the internet, smses and mmses, or else this no longer superwoman would just give up running this business!! ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

those 40 e-shopping items..

i've neglected my e-shopping activities for some time now till somebody came knocking by interested in buying bulk/direct instead of purchasing retail/online..

i've been planning to move all these items into another website that focus solely on online-selling, but before all that can finally happen with me being the IT-novice and all.. any direct bulk-purchasings are most welcome!! i'm definitely happier moving my handmade ceramic handicrafted products in bulk, yaayy...

aussiegals BLUE-luncheon..

everybody was supposed to wear any tones of blue.. but as what happened last year when we first introduced this dress colour-theme, some gals still turned up in different colors..
yeah, yeah, yeah regardless of that.. here we are the aussiegals posing in our best bluesy-attires!! this time around there were only 11 of us who can make it to this 'annual' lunch-gathering as compared to 16 last year..
'aussiegals' was loosely formed sometime in 2001/2002 to consist of (zaida's & rosmah's) former aussiemates whilst they studied and goofed around in sydney australia between the years of 1982-1990.. over time as we get more excited of being reunited with more and more mates, anybody's mates become everybody's mates too..
for gals in our (early?) forties.. we don't look so bad, huh??? ;)))

Monday, July 14, 2008

why talk about failures? 3/7..

Monday January 27, 2003, 2:35pm..
So that's how my ceramic design & manufacturing business was started. By co-incidence!!

I had to come up with product samples, therefore I had to turn my kitchen table into a design workshop. I had to prepare invoices for products sold bearing my brandname, therefore I had to formally register a business. I had to run around promoting my designs, therefore I had to come up with credible marketing plans. I had to produce accordingly to quality standards, therefore I had to open a factory and supervise it myself..

I had totally zero experience in design let alone ceramic design, or marketing, or ceramic production, or human resources, but the desire to proudly claim 'that's my brandname' was enough force to spur me on to overcome all obstacle that seemed to keep hurtling at me during those formative years. That was the power of my simple dream...

I survived the challenges, expanded in knowledge and grew in thinking. Without planning, I suddenly have a business that was expanding and making new inroads in the local ceramic handicraft industry. Who would have thought that an urban planner could manufacture better ceramic designs than those hard-core technically-trained ceramists? Who would have thought that playing with dirty clay could be more professionally satisfying than planning the layouts and developments of new townships? Who would have thought that the once-very-timid-and-shy girl could pull it off well? Who would have thought that jumping into the river could make you a much better swimmer?

I was proud of myself. But not too proud as to let it go to my head. I was always criticising my 'unplanned' achievements. I was always looking for better things to do next. My dreams were getting bigger, less idealistic and more real and achievable. But I was starting to ignore all the important little details that make and sustain the business. By around the fouth year, starting a business was no longer the big challenge. Sustaining and growing the business were the real endurance tests...

continue here

why talk about failures? 1/7 & 2/7..

friday january 24, 2003 10:35pm...
Why talk about failures when you want to achieve something? Shouldn't we be talking about success stories to motivate us to go that extra mile towards achieving our goals? Why should we bother reading about any ventures or undertakings that failed?

Success never comes easy. It requires hardwork, perserverance and patience. It doesn't just fall onto your lap. That's why you need to be realistic about your journey towards it. There'd be various hurdles, hiccups. bumps and distractions along the way. You just have to be prepared mentally. Do not give up easily. You will fail, you will succeed, you will fail again, you will succeed yet again. Just keep telling yourself to hold on. Don't give up so soon.

That's why we should talk about failures..

Monday January 27, 2003 12:21pm...

I have a business that's still surviving after ten years in operation. It's a small business. Enough to sustain my monthly overheads that include a factory, a showroom and a home office. It's small but it's all mine. That's what important...

So why do I keep talking about failures?? Why shouldn't I just look and move ahead?? Why keep looking back??

It's just that after ten years of valuable experiences no amount of money can buy, and after all the wisdom & strength that I've derived from my countless trials, mistakes and little successes, I suddenly find myself thinking of giving it all up...

Why?? That's the most frequently-asked question from dear husband, friends & families and whoever I've been feeling like pouring my heart to lately...

My dear better-half has been my tower of strength, the motivator and recent mentor whenever things didn't turned out as well as planned. He's my most rocky shoulders to cry on. He's been 100% supportive in whatever I've wanted to do for the past ten years in business, and the past 20 years of us knowing each other. He's the one to survive all my ups & downs, my temper tantrums, my angers and frustrations. He's also the one to share my jubilations, excitements, achievements and satisfactions...

My friends & families have been the ones watching from a distant; recovering from their initial shocks & dismays of finding their friend/sister/daughter suddenly quit good-paying professional job to play with clay and do arts & crafts from scratch; and later on admiring and supporting my courage to do what my heart desired; wishing now that they have the same guts and tenacity to follow their own unfulfilled dreams...

I was 29 and dreamt of having my own brandname that is internationally distributed. It did not matter what product as long as it could bear my name or identity or signature. I was an idealistic dreamer. A foolish romantic at heart. No calculated risks were involved. I just jumped into the river. And basically taught myself to swim...

Having a business was never in my vocabulary. I just wanted to play around with colours & patterns and put my signature brandname on the finished product. That was all that I wanted and dreamt of. I was so naive not to think that having a brandname would also mean having to run a business which manages that brandname. Huh???

continue here

Thursday, July 10, 2008

my accidental business journey: part 1

it was the month of january in the year 2003..

my 39th birthday would just be a few weeks away in february.. my accidental business venture would turn 10 years old about that same time.. and i was confused, tired, lost, tormented, feeling like a failure and thinking of giving it all up..

so i started writing down my predicaments on my pc.. one issue after another was poured out and analysed.. the writings were originally meant for my own consumption and understandings.. but by just a click of the button, i'd let a weekly lifestyle publication editor had a peek into my predicaments..

was i crying for help?? or was i hoping to get their attention to my so-so writing skills?? being a contributive writer to some respected weekly magazines had always been one of my 'secret' dreams anyway, mmm...

so there i was writing intensely, rigorously and passionately.. within the period of 12 days.. in 7 separate emails.. forwarded to and shared with

these were the 1st and 2nd emails.. followed by the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th.. and finally the 7th email..

i did get an interested reply from nuance, but of course after all issues had been poured out from my cluttered head, i felt so much clearer in mind and better in outlook that i never bothered to pursue their interests in publishing my 'articles'..

now fast forward 5 years to the present time.. as i struggle yet and yet again to find back my motivation and focus to continue pursuing my accidental business, i've found myself looking back for those 'articles' to guide me back towards my goals..

now that i blog, i therefore publish these 'articles' myself for the consumption of the masses.. ;)

i was then feeling like a failure for thinking of giving it all up, therefore i titled my articles 'why talk about failures?'...

lets keep looking at these lotuses..

i've been looking at the lotuses in my garden the past 2 and a half years.. thinking that i should design something based on them.. maybe a covered ceramic bowl?? or ceramic ashtray?? a ceramic teapot, maybe??
other plants in my garden are also waving and swaying towards my direction every time i pass by.. hoping to catch my creative-attention, you think??? ;)
i'm posting these photos & link into my blog so that i will not forget to do something later on..
soon my dear plants, soon..

i know, i know...

now you don't have to tilt your head sideways, eh?? i forgot to rotate the mug-photos before uploading to the blog!! silly me...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

lets talk about the handcrafted mugs..

every now and then over the years, we'd be asked whether we could do mugs.. and every time i'd say yes, but only the more expensive mugs!! i'd be saying that rather apologetically within the first few years of being asked, but over time and as we became more selective of the things that we wanted to be involved in, i'd say that rather uprightly..

we're a small ceramic manufacturing set-up, specialising in handcrafted/handpainted details not many big set-ups would be interested in. we've wanted to grow bigger of course, but as time passed by we've been proven again and again that there are many beautiful aspects of keeping things simple and small..

one thing for sure, i'd have less headaches!! ;)

ceramic mugs are such sought-after souvenir items that many companies especially from china, mass-produce and export them on very regular basis. these mugs would come in standard sizes and shapes and customers are always expected to order them in certain minimum quantities, usually 1000pc and above or depending on surplus/stationary stocks that the distributors need to dispose off...

mass-produced mugs that are exported/distributed widely are actually half-finished mugs (ceramic term: bisquewares).. once the customers have decided on the size, shape, colour/finishing, and the inclusion of any printed logos/inscriptions and so forth, only the second and third parts (the less messier parts) of the production processes commence.. most malaysian mug-suppliers are actually importing ready-made bisquewares from china at very cheap costs and completing the next 2 stages of finishing works (glaze-colouring and decal-printing) in their local warehouse/factories.. and would sell these mugs at or below rm5 per piece..

our ceramic handrafted mugs on the other hand, are custom-made.. every step of the way.. almost 100% labour-intensive.. tender loving care at every stage of production.. individually handcrafted to look similar but yet not the same..

so that's why our mugs are more expensive.. ;)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

struggling to get back my focus..

i've wanted to blog as regularly as possible but somehow or rather other matters keep criss-crossing my path.. one matter in particular: catching up with my work which had been neglected recently!! eh, but isn't this blogging 'work' as well...??? with me under house-arrest and slaving away in my own castle full-time for three months, blogging during those times felt more like venting out my frustrations, however 'blissfull' i felt..

sure i luuurrrvvee working from the comforts of home.. but not being able to leave my kids behind and venture out alone to do whatever was necessary, be it work-related or otherwise, had given me some kind of 'mental block'.. a mental block that wouldn't go away until i stop and do something about it...

maybe i should get a new haircut? do some facial treatments? buy new clothes & pants? re-visit my acupuncturist? have long lunches with friends? do my 2hr body massages? attend the 'alleycats' concert?? re-start my yoga stretches? kroak my lungs out with my girl-friends??

or i can just simply spend some quite time alone sorting out my mind in some wifi-provided cafes nearby.. brainstorming with me and myself could work wonders... it has never failed before to help me get back into focus...

one iced cappucino please?? and a glass of warm water too...