PETALING JAYA: Samantha Yee may be petite in size, but she has enormous amounts of talent and creativity.
The 28-year-old sells meticulously handsewn scrunchies and pouches under the brand ‘The Petite One’.
Speaking with FMT Lifestyle, Yee shared that her passion for sewing developed at a young age as she spent much of her time at Yee Button, a shop her parents owned that sold fabric, tools, and of course, buttons for needlework craft.
It was the perfect place to nurture her talent. “When we were kids, there were no iPhones or iPads, so what we did was craft,” she said.
At only 12 years old, she started using the edging sewing machine and worked on clothing that customers brought to the shop.
“When I was a kid, it was a huge machine to me. And some of the customers weren’t aware that it was a kid that was sewing,” she shared with a laugh.
Beyond sewing, she also helped her parents with customer service, a skill that eventually sparked an interest in entrepreneurship.
Back to needle and thread
Despite her obvious love for craft, she furthered her studies in culinary arts yet found herself joining her parents full-time at their shop after several years working in cafés.
There, surrounded by a gorgeous array of fabrics and tools, she felt inspired to start sewing again.
And then, one day in early 2021, she made a scrunchie. “I saw some scrap fabrics in the shop, and I wanted to do something for my hair,” she recalled.
She subsequently posted the finished scrunchie online and was surprised by the positive reaction from friends who wanted to know if they were for sale. She decided to give it a go.
Before she knew it, orders kept streaming in. And, with the encouragement of her husband, Yee started ‘The Petite One’ within the same year.
Today, apart from scrunchies, Yee sews pouches, reversible tote bags, scrunchie key fobs and reusable face pads. All are meticulously sewn, either by machine or hand, and made using imported cotton fabrics.
The face pads, Yee revealed, were inspired by something she saw on Pinterest. ““I thought that it was a good idea and it’s eco-friendly,”
Meanwhile, the pouches are made using YKK zippers, a well-known Japanese zipper manufacturer highly regarded for their good-quality zippers.
Additionally, she also takes custom orders from those who prefer to choose their own fabric.
Big plans for ‘The Petite One’
These days, her customers come from throughout Peninsular Malaysia and Yee finds much joy in making her products for them. She also loves sharing her knowledge and conducts workshops for those interested in learning how to make a tote bag.
But admittedly, finding enough time is a challenge as she is still working full-time at her parents’ shop and juggling the various aspects of running her own business.
Hence, she is thankful for the support of Persatuan Pembangunan Artisans (PPA), an NGO that helps local artisans promote their products through an online platform, physical stores in the Klang Valley and pop-up events.
“I’m grateful for them, because without them, I don’t think I’ll be able to widen my customer base,” she said.
Today, Yee has big plans for the future of ‘The Petite One’ and someday hopes to ship her products worldwide and establish her brand overseas.
Looking back on her journey from the world of culinary arts to needlework, Yee said she has no regrets.
And the best part? “When customers tell me that they love my product, that is very satisfying,” she said with a smile.
Scrunchies, pouches, and scrunchie key fobs are also available for purchase at Kinokuniya, KLCC.
Read more PPA stories and get to know its artisans here.