Artist finds making money packets may make a packet

Izzati with some of her Hari Raya ‘ang pow’ packets she designed.

SHAH ALAM: Melaka artist Izzati Suza was feeling bored after her sahur pre-dawn meal, when she suddenly felt inspired to sketch designs for her Hari Raya Aidilfitri money packets.

The 24-year-old started doodling designs featuring Hari Raya village scenes.

In Malaysia, as part of the Hari Raya celebrations, parents and elders give token sums of money known as duit raya to children. The money is presented in envelopes or packets, often with patterns or drawings on them.

“My mother had suggested designing money packets for Raya. I thought that was a good idea,” she recently told FMT.

She just needed to draw simple pictures that would capture the spirit of Hari Raya, and perhaps be good enough to sell.

Soon, she had produced five different designs.

They included someone making dodol (a sweet sticky toffee-like candy); a woman dressed in a baju kurung, wearing “Selamat Hari Raya” jewellery; and a typical kampung scene on the first day of Hari Raya.

“After finishing the drawings, I sent them to the printers. I initially ordered 30 sets, each containing the five different designs,” she said.

She then set about cutting and pasting the 150 packets together. This proved to be more time-consuming than expected.

After posting images of her finished packets on Instagram and Twitter, she soon began receiving enquiries about the sets.

“I was surprised by how many people wanted to buy some.

“I went from 30 sets to 200 sets. For three weeks, I hardly slept but just cut and pasted together packet after packet.

“I used to glance over at my mother sleeping, and wish I was asleep too,” she said with a laugh.

When morning finally came, off she would go to the post office to mail the sets to her customers.

There were times, Izzati said, when she felt like giving up, as it was becoming more of an uphill task. But she persevered, believing the old Islamic saying that, “Pure intentions will bring you contentment.”

“I have been drawing since I was little. I love observing and sketching people. Since I don’t travel a lot, my opportunities come when I go to local malls and meet friends,” she said.

She credits her late father as her inspiration to take up art, and her mother as her biggest cheerleader, by suggesting she pursue art on a full-time basis.

While she was studying architecture in 2015, her father, a policeman stationed in Kemaman, Terengganu, was involved in a car accident which left him bedridden and unable to speak due to a brain injury.

She dropped out of college to take care of him, which she did for three years until he died in 2018 at the age of 59.

Izzati now runs a shop in Melaka, selling stickers, badges, customised shoes, t-shirts and bags. She called the shop Kedai Suza, in memory of her father.

“My mother is still my biggest supporter. I call her my ‘mamager’. She believes in me and always tells me to be different,” she said.

With the unexpected success of her Hari Raya packets, she is already thinking ahead, designing money packets for Deepavali and Chinese New Year.

So while she may not yet be making a packet out of her packet making, her future looks bright.

Limited sets may still be available through her Instagram and Twitter accounts. To see more of her work search YouTube for kobismenghijo.