KUALA LUMPUR: The gorgeous array of handmade products by Memory’s Collection is bound to leave a lasting impression on you.
Elegant bags, pouches, spectacles cases and lipstick cases – these fashion accessories immediately catch your attention with its stunning fabric and neat workmanship.
This is the exquisite handiwork of Sharon Thong, the founder of Memory’s Collection.
Speaking with FMT Lifestyle, the 59-year-old shared that she has been a tailor for more than half her life. In fact, she was only 23 years old when she started sewing clothes until her fascination with bags sparked in 2017.
The following year, she signed up for classes, believing that she had nothing to lose and a new skill to gain.
The very first product she made was a fabric sling bag, about which she modestly shared: “When I started, [the bags I made] weren’t very nice. I was still learning.”
But practice, she knew, makes perfect, so she kept at it whenever time permitted. When there were certain aspects of bag-making that puzzled her, she looked to videos online for help.
As her skills improved, her confidence grew, and she started making other products such as coin pouches and patchwork cushion covers.
In 2019, she started Memory’s Collection. To grow her business, she set up booths in various shopping malls throughout the Klang Valley.
Fast forward to today, and she has since expanded her product range to include ‘onigiri’ pouches which are cute triangle-shaped purses resembling Japanese rice balls; Japanese knot bags, an eye-catching tote bag with asymmetrical handles; pocket mirror cases; key fobs; face masks, card holders and eco print bags.
Silk, cotton and satin brocade are her fabrics of choice, which she sources locally and overseas.
“I produce the fabrics for the eco-print bags myself,” she shared, adding that this is a long process that can take up to 10 days.
The process involves first mordanting the cotton fabric, a process of preparing fabric to absorb the natural dye from leaves.
She subsequently places the leaves on the fabric before carefully rolling and tying it. Next, it is steamed, unrolled, and left to dry.
The result is a lovely imprint of natural dye from the leaves on the fabric that she subsequently turns into bags.
Thong said she regularly introduces new products, scouring the internet for inspiration. Once she finds something unique, she learns how to make it.
She also takes custom orders if someone wants a matching set of items such as cases for their spectacles or lipsticks, or even pocket mirrors. These make beautiful gifts she said.
A fulfilling, memorable experience
Thong said that as her number of orders increased, finding time to make her products proved a challenge, given that she was still running her tailoring business. So, she roped in her friend and son.
And while she still sets up booths to promote her business, she doesn’t do this on a regular basis any longer.
That is why she is immensely grateful for the assistance of Persatuan Pembangunan Artisans (PPA), an NGO that helps artisans market their products through an online platform, as well as physical stores in the Klang Valley and pop-up events.
Thong said her customer base has since grown and even tourists have purchased her products through PPA. “Previously, my customers were only from Malaysia,” she revealed.
“I am tired, yes, but my heart is happy. Especially when customers tell me that they love my work,” she shared with a smile.
As for the future, she concluded: “I hope that customers will always have my handicrafts in their minds, just like the name of my business.”
If you wish to place an order, WhatsApp Sharon Thong at 012-209 9483. Learn more about Memory’s Collection on Facebook.
Read more PPA stories and get to know its artisans here.