RAN & NONG Creations is no ordinary business. There’s no work politics or sales targets to be achieved here.
Instead, it is a prime example of how one housewife’s pastime, her insightful children and the Internet can spiral outwards across communities to touch other women and rejuvenate a craft that seems outdated — knitwear.
“It all started as a hobby,” Nur Rahmah Ranong Abdullah said in the backroom of her workshop at Twin Tower Centre in Kuching.
With a hubby whose career requires the family to travel, she found herself in Capetown, South Africa, with nothing to do. After nine years in the hotel industry, she wasn’t prepared to just let her mind go idle. Although she didn’t know how to knit or crochet, she found friends and discovered the art.
“Raw materials were so accessible there,” she said.
The next chapter in her exodus would be Jakarta, Indonesia, the home of artistic traditions.
She worked on baby booties initially, drawing inspiration from her children.
“I didn’t think anything of it at first but when my children saw them, they asked’ Mum! Why don’t you sell it online?”
They created a website for her with her youngest daughter, Nadin, as her model. Much like any good idea, a simple sale of baby booties to a woman in Mexico grew into creating adult-sized shawls, and then creating to order.
Before long, her hobby turned into a viable, personal business.
“Since then, knitting has blossomed into something more than just a passion,” Ranong said.
From crocheting and knitting, she also adds other skills to the list like smocking and tatting — skills she uses today to train and teach others.
“It’s an on-going project. We got to know more people and I began teaching working mothers, housewives and adults of all ages.”
When she noticed the trend of mothers bringing their children with them to her centre, she got the inspiration to open up to children as well.
“My husband and I learned that knitting, especially for kids, not only has a calming effect but also a physiological effect that enhances your motor skills,” she said.
With the coming school holidays, her centre is open for children.
“What we want are the skills we can produce from here for the European market. That’s our long-term direction. The shop is a spin-off from that. I also create my own designs and am looking to trademark my creations — Ran & Nong Creations.”