Decorative enamel pins have been a trend among youth, wearing them as accessories on their bags, clothings and other personal belongings giving pleasing aesthetics.
Local brand Lunanid sees the opportunity in producing the pins for the niche market, incorporating Brunei’s culture and traditions into its designs.
Creator and business owner Nazhirah Rahimin enjoys learning and experiencing various arts and crafts from animation to crochet. The lecturer who is also a graphic designer has always been looking for new things to learn.
For her, Lunanid came from the idea of creating more awareness about the sultanate and was keen to share more of Brunei’s culture with everyone.
Nazhirah’s drive to feature local motifs was inspired by the fact that she grew up in a foreign country from a young age and only came back to Brunei in 2015.
During her time living abroad, it was difficult for her to share Bruneian words, phrases, cultures, and traditions with friends and acquaintances due to her limited knowledge and exposure to the local context.
“My knowledge came from my parents and my experience was only when I visited Brunei to see my extended family, and interactions with some locals in Brunei and abroad,” said Nazhirah
As she became older and often back in the country for the holidays, she would visit museums and local places that fascinate her.
This is when came to realise the wonders that the country holds and questions why Brunei was not represented much around the world.
One day, Nazhirah was browsing through YouTube and came across a pin designer showcasing her designs. From then on, the entrepreneur knew that enamel pins are slowly becoming a business trend.
“For some reason that day, I finally put two and two together. Why don’t I design enamel pins to showcase Brunei? Not only are they easy to bring as gifts while travelling, but great conversation starters,” said the entrepreneur.
Lunanid launched its first signature collection back in January 2019. In the beginning, the youthpreneur had doubts about pursuing the business due to her lack of knowledge about Brunei.
Nevertheless, Nazhirah knew that deep down, it is her identity, and she wants to learn more about her culture, tradition and heritage, through these little treasures.
The process of Lunanid products starts from brainstorming the aspect of Brunei that Nazhirah would like to highlight and picking the top two ideas.
“I would open a poll on Instagram and our mailing list and have our Astros (what we call our customers) take a vote. The highest voted theme is where I’ll explore further,” she added.
After the votings are done, the homegrown brand will then do their research, experiment with design concepts and discuss with the team which designs will stay in the collection while interacting with their Astros for their opinions.
“Having our Astros participation matters a lot to us because we wouldn’t be where we are today without them,” said the entrepreneur.
One thing that separates Lunanid from other businesses is that they are the first in Brunei to introduce Pin Trading, which is the act of trading one Lunanid Pins with the Lunanid team to get exclusive pins.
The criteria for pin tradings are that the trader must own a Lunyard, a Lunanid lanyard product and a Lunanid pin.
“In each of our enamel pin collections, one pin will be dedicated to a good cause or charity in Brunei. One example is our Sayang Pin Set where 100% of sales will be donated to Derma Anak Yatim Pekerti,” said the founder.
Lunanid also offers interactive products to ensure that their items are all the more fun and one of the most popular pins is their ‘Antah’ pin which glows in the dark.
The brand does most of its sales through its website www.lunanid.com and also via pop-up events and expos.
They have also set up a mailing list that interested individuals can sign up for free and those who do sign up will get exclusive discounts, sneak peeks and additional perks.
Nazhirah’s lack of knowledge about the local lifestyle and context at the beginning of her business did not stop her from moving forward with the initiative. With patience and perseverance, she was able to pull through and stay in the business until today.
However, due to the hit of the pandemic, Lunanid is still struggling to cope with the aftermath and find ways to solve the problem.
“I’m quite an introvert but being able to just interact with my customers and create more awareness of our little country makes me happy when I see how psyched our customers are,” said the entrepreneur.
Nazhirah started out not knowing what she was getting herself into and she did not know anyone in the industry but the start-up and joining events have allowed her to meet and connect with other incredible individuals from the creative industry.
Give their Instagram @lunanid a follow to keep up on their latest collection, the 3rd Pinversary Collection and their limited edition The Bubble Princess & the Stone Heart Collection in collaboration with Parabelle Studios.
This article was first published on 16 April 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 189 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN