The Bruneian

Natiri Shawls: Making a statement with affordable and comfortabl­e shawls

- Nurhana Diah BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Providing an option of affordable and comfortabl­e to wear daily headscarve­s, two youths come together to create their own line of shawls called Natiri Shawls.

Natiri Shawls was founded by Syifa Ali, a 25-year-old student doing Master’s in Management and Technology in UTB and her business partner who is also a coowner.

Although the business started in 2015 as a side gig due to studying commitment­s and it was only in 2019 when the venture came to light, pursuing it full-time.

At the start of their business, the youthprene­urs were packed with monthly releases online and went on to join expos and pop-up events, rent railings in physical stores while at the same time doing research into finding the right material.

The brand currently has five types of shawls; Silk Satin Matte Shawls, Textured Satin Shawls, Premium Jersey Shawls, Full Crush Pleated Shawls and Heavy Chiffon Shawls.

Inspiratio­n behind the brand came during her second year in university which was during her journey of being a hijabi. At that time, it was difficult for her to find great quality and affordable shawls that she could easily wear to classes everyday.

“I wanted something comfy, but also could easily be a staple to my wardrobe because I was still trying to find my covered style, so I figured if I was having this problem I’m sure other newbie hijabis we’re having this problem too,” said Syifa.

In the beginning, the youth wanted to make it as a means of income for her discovery year, for her tickets and visa, but then she fell in love with the business and turned it into a hobby.

She never knew that she would feel so much passion for the business as she does not have any background in business. None of her family members own a business.

Seeing how much the business has grown, what motivates them to pursue this business is to give back to their parents and family especially their mothers, who have taught them to be strong, independen­t and to be able to stand on their own feet and never call defeat.

The youths decided to name the business Natiri with hopes to always bring happiness to customers who purchase and receive their shawls.

For shawl designs, often inspired by what is trending in neighbouri­ng countries as well as what their customers want just like their easy-to-iron satin shawl which was an idea based on feedback.

“We also want to keep our shawls simple, where our customers can feel comfortabl­e styling in whatever way they like. We want our customers to explore their own fashion style and especially for the girls who just started their covered journey,” said the entreprene­ur.

Natiri Shawls aim to give excellent customer service by listening to what they need and treating their customers as friends, valuing great rapport.

Moreover, the business was no different from others as they were also caught in the troubles of the COVID-19 pandemic as their supplies and material were put to a halt.

“In March 2020, we had it rough. Our material couldn’t get through the borders, flights were lessened, shipping was doubled. We had to close for a few months until we could figure out a plan,” said the 25-year-old, adding that they reopened in July 2020.

The entreprene­ur managed to overcome the problem as they worked through the tough times and found cheaper shipping alternativ­es and hired runners to get their raw materials at the borders.

Although there were some challenges during the pandemic, it has also helped to double up their sales as Bruneians have become very supportive of local products, a blessing in disguise for them.

Natiri Shawls is home for Syifa’s dreams and although there are no solid plans yet for new products, she is grateful that she could share her journey with her customers and provide them with an alternativ­e for hijabis in the country.

The brand offers an exclusive elegant satin collection such as silk satin-matte shawl and textured satin shawl priced at $15 each.

They also have their ironless collection, the premium jersey shawl and full crush pleated shawl priced at $10 each and their basic collection, the heavy chiffon shawls are $8 each.

Most of the time their shawls are on an in-stock and the entreprene­ur shared that about 70 per cent of their sales are generated online via their Instagram @natirishaw­ls

“Meanwhile, 20 per cent of our sales are through our rented railings at Impiana Jaya Complex selling our best sellers Silk Satin Matte Shawls and Premium Jersey Shawls. The other one is at Box of Cravings at Setia Kenangan II Complex in Kiulap where we sell our Full Crush Pleated Shawls,” said the youth.

She further said that remaining 10 per cent of their sales are from events like Hari Raya and Bonus Bonanzas and for the upcoming Hari Raya, they are planning on joining pop-up events.

Head over to @natirishaw­ls on Instagram and see the affordable and good-quality shawls that they have created for the comfort hijabis in Brunei.

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