From colourful earrings inspired by the flower garden from Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” to whimsically adorable artisan keycaps, Dk Fatnin Syahirah Pg Mohd Shah has turned her passion for polymer clay sculpting into a full-time business.
The Instagram-based business, Chimamo Artisan was founded by Fatnin in September 2022 during her final years of university.
When the 23-year-old first started, sculpting to baking polymer clay was just a therapeutic hobby. However, as she entered her final year as a Sociology-Anthropology student at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), it became a way for her to earn some money.
“Initially I wanted to make this business reality as a way for me to fill my time and earn money when I graduate and in between finding a career. But, as a person who always gives 100 per cent in my passion and in everything I do, I shoved the idea of getting a corporate job immediately and shifted my passion into growing this business,” she said.
Fatnin started her crafting journey when she attended a course for therapeutic art-making online.
“I have only picked up my hobby as a crafter back in my final year of University. It was inspired by an online program I joined conducted by YSEALI Women and it was on therapeutic art. I learned how much fun art was and such a healing activity, that is why I continued doing my hobby,” she shared.
The 23-year-old quickly developed a passion for the craft. She enjoyed the creative process behind the art of polymer clay because it is very relaxing and also therapeutic.
Fatnin would also learn the different types of techniques working with clay through social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram serving as a source of inspiration for her.
Moreover, according to the budding entrepreneur, the name “Chimamo” was inspired by her childhood name.
“When I was a toddler who had a minimal grasp of language, I would scream “Chimamo” every time I wanted ice-cream. Ever since then, it stuck to me in my family,” she said.
“I wanted to name my business Chimamo because I wanted to create child-like (not childish) items for both children and adults to feel connected again with their inner child. I wanted to mimic that feeling to my potential customers of Chimamo, no matter what age they are,” she added.
Since establishing Chimamo Artisan as a business, the 23-year-old started experimenting with polymer clay and resin churning out her favourite childhood movies.
Her first creation was the Studio Ghibli characters’ artisan keycaps, from No-Face from Spirited Away. Ghibli characters often take center stage in most of her designs.
The business currently focuses on creating custom pieces, such as trinket artisan keycaps, coasters, earrings and keychain.
Fatnin has produced and sold over 320 pieces since the business first started. “Keychains and earrings are my bestsellers. I’ve also released around nine collections and most of them were inspired by holiday seasons,” she said.
In January, Chimamo Artisan launched its website Chimamo.cococart.co which is expected to make it easier for customers to browse and order their products.
“Every month I would join at least one pop-up event. I am also planning on making my crafts available at a local showroom soon so more customers can view them easily,” she shared.
The creativepreneur said that turning her crafting hobby into a business took a lot of trial and error. As she had no background in business, the founder admits that she had a lot to learn.
“Having no prior experience in entrepreneurship was one of the hardest times for me to adapt, many questions include “how do I price my items?” “How do I market?” “How do I distribute my goods?” “Where do I go next?”,” she shared.
“This is why in my third month of operating, I joined the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs by DARe and the US Embassy, this is where I met many other Entrepreneurs and also learned so much from the classes,” she added
The budding entrepreneur also credits her friends and family for encouraging and supporting her to start the craft business.
“I am slowly getting clear about what to do as an entrepreneur. I cannot also give enough credit to other talented and passionate businesswomen that I met in these six months during the pop-up sales, they have given me so many tips and lessons on what to expect,” she shared.
Looking towards the future, the local creativepreneur has big plans for the budding business. Fatnin hopes to collaborate with more local artists and broaden her list of offerings.
“Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur artist so far, I have met a myriad of inspiring people that had the same passion as I do towards thoughtfulness in their art. I hope that I can collaborate with more like-minded people and express joy in our craft,” she said.
“I also hope to one day reach my goal to expand my home studio and kickstart the next phase of my business which is to open up workshops,” she concluded.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN