CHECK OUT – ONE HALF X ILAIKA
A wonderland of curated artisanal goods and a cafe serving great coffee.
IN THE SUBURBS OF SEAPARK RESTS A CHARMING SPOT FILLED WITH ARTISANAL HOME DECORATIONS, CURATED WITH A MEASURED HAND TO WELL PIQUE THE INTEREST OF ALL WHO WALK THROUGH.
Inspired by random and beautiful things, Ilaika first came to be in October of 2016. “We felt there wasn’t a place or platform for showcasing local artisanal hand-crafted items,” says Manager Yeoson Ng. “Most of (these crafters) have full time jobs and their brands are their side businesses, so they usually sell their products in pop up marketplaces or online stores.”
In unearthing this predicament, the brains behind Ilaika decided to take the bull by the literal horns, and to take the plunge in setting up shop. The team looked to the brands that they liked for Ilaika, curating a look and feel that ultimately speaks of quality, quirkiness, and a dedication to the finer, beautiful things in life. “We’re a platform for local artisans to promote their products,” Yeoson says. “Customers always look surprised when we tell them that a certain product is locally made, but they are supportive and keep coming back to get them.”
The Seapark shop, as it stands, is brilliantly put together, leveraging both bright Malaysian sunshine and the inherent chill demeanour of Petaling Jaya’s inhabitants to find a pleasing aesthetic. Striking green walls meet the eye at the entrance, shrouded in delightful shrubbery in the form of hanging and standing plants – more of Yeoson’s work. The simple and minimalist interiors, however, give off classic discovery vibes – from beautiful terrariums and vivariums by the door to a myriad of pretty and interesting things spread out over shelves and surfaces. “We
change our layout and arrangements once a month,” Yeoson says. This in turn allows for a fresh experience every time a customer steps in – something new to discover and love.
For all its artful, measured design, Ilaika’s products do truly speak of a careful selecting eye. Each product feels considered and weighed, down to the last minute detail in production and its place in the shop. “Even though most of our vendors have products in a variety of colours, we curate the colours and designs that suit Ilaika,” Yeoson says. He points to scented soy candles as his favourite products in the shop – which, incidentally, are also one of Ilaika’s most popular products alongside solid colognes and clothing. “The customers like the minimalist, simple designs.”
Further adding to the charm of Ilaika is their collaboration with One Half Coffee Bar. “We were originally from Taman Paramount,” says Operations Manager Jiale Ng. As fate would have it, the One Half folks were doing their first collaboration project a few doors down, a stint that lasted four months. “We’ve (since) opened a new place in Damansara Uptown,” Jiale adds, “But our customers insisted that we reopened in Seapark. We saw this particular vacant spot inside Ilaika, and decided to propose a collaboration.”
The proposal was received with great interest. As Jiale tells it, it’s been two years since the collaboration, with no signs of change in the foreseeable future. “We’re extending our operation coverage from Ilaika to Awesome Canteen,” Jiale adds. From where it stands, it looks like exciting things are in store! ONE HALF COFFEE BAR WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN THE WORLD BARISTA CHAMPIONSHIP 2018. COME MID-JULY, ONE HALF X ILAIKA WILL ALSO BE PARTICIPATING IN THE TIAN KONG MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE CAMERON HIGHLANDS.
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