At Naiise, the focus is not just about creating access to great design, but also to provide local designers a platform to flourish. Founded in 2013 by Singaporean Dennis Tay, Naiise was developed when the marketeer began noticing the wealth of design products available from the creative communities in Singapore, which were hidden from the limelight. To give these designers a platform to sell their products, he began his first online store with SGD3,000 and has not looked back since.
“When we think about local design, there’s a certain perception towards it. People are used to having international household brands and they have the perception that it’s probably not durable, or not of good quality,” said Wen Dee Tan, Managing Director of Naiise.
“The designers that we have are really good at what they do. Yet they’re not recognised in the industry, so we decided to give them a platform in our online store,” she said.
Now with six brick-and-mortar stores in Singapore and over 1,000 brands in the stable, Naiise.com.my has just been launched, with a physical store set to launch later this year at the newly refurbished Zhongshan Building in Jalan Kampung Attap. The brand also has plans to move into the UK market as it represents their second-largest group of customers.
“For the Malaysian online and offline stores, our philosophy remains the same. We believe that design can better people’s lives emotionally or in terms of functionality. While there will be some existing brands in the new online store, there will be more Malaysian brands as we want to nurture the industry,” said Wen Dee.
Highlights of the Malaysian store include a section called ‘Go Local’, with unique products celebrating local heritage, culture and nostalgic childhood experiences.
“The way we curate our items is by ensuring original, well-designed products. We don’t want just transactional relationships with our customers. We want to give them products that will resonate with them, and with the retail store, we also want to give our customers a unique experience,” she added.
The retail store will feature a space for creative workshops, a place for designers to linger and co-create, as well as a cafe.
Until the physical outlet is open, here are 10 things to buy, handpicked (it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to 10!) from the Naiise online store:
Naiise to Have #1: Pineapple Tart Cushion (RM99)
Made by Nom Nom Plush, this whimsical cushion is both familiar yet not something easily found. Yummy-looking and huggable at the same time, this zero-calorie cushion is big on comfort and is a surefire conversation starter.
Naiise to Have #2: Lattice Clutch (RM371)
This charming minaudière by Repleat features an intricate three-dimensional beveled surface that’s striking and minimalist at the same time. It comes with a removable chain so you have the option of keeping it handheld when you enter the party, or slinging it crossbody when it’s time for dancing. The clutch has a magnetic closure, and a contrasting hand-sewn drawstring pouch on the interior, so you can be sure it’s well-made, good-looking and functional too!
Naiise to Have #3: Twiggy Gold Ring (RM59)
This gold-plated brass ring is nickel and lead free, and as minimalist as you can get. Elegant and subtle, you could take it to an engraver’s if you’d like to add your initials up top, or a secret message only you know about on the underside of the plate. Made in Malaysia by Gung Jewellery.
Naiise to Have #4: Desktop Organiser (RM250)
Give your workspace a makeover with this gorgeous organiser, which serves multiple functions whether it’s for organising trinkets, stationery, or displaying pretty things such as a picture of your furkid or your favourite species of succulent. Each Desktop Organiser is carefully handcrafted in Malaysia by MUKK with premium quality wood.
Naiise to Have #5: Gadis Kampung Jawa Lawa Bobby Pins (RM19)
Though the bobby pins probably come from H&M or some manufacturer in China, the packaging is ingenious! Malacca’s first nightlife hub, Kampung Jawa, was a hot bed for gangsterism, opium dens and brothels. The Gadis Kampung Lawa Jawa set of 10 gold bobby pins pays homage to the sophisticated, fashionable and charming beauties of 60’s Malaya-Singapura. Playfully named after the girls from notorious red-light districts of the same decade, including Sassy Chow Kit Darlings and Saucy Love Lane Dolls, the collection offers a subtle glimpse into the historical fabric of our countries while accurately preserving the design language of yesteryear.
These bobby pins are completely SOLD OUT at the time of publication but are available for pre-order with an estimated arrival time of 3 weeks.
Naiise to Have #6: Noir Drinking Chocolate (RM50)
Yes, you can buy food at Naiise! This Noir Drinking Chocolate by Grounded Pleasures is for chocoholics who want a ‘ smooth, complex and nuanced’ experience, without bitterness. Ethically sourced from the great cocoa growing terroirs, it dissolves instantly with no clumping. Dairy and Gluten-free, 100% natural.
Thinking about going into the food business? Book your seats now for BFM’s Entreprise Takeaway to get insights from the top chefs and entrepreneurs in F&B!
Naiise to Have #7: Khan Solid Perfume (RM75)
If you’d like to treat one of the guys in your life to a little gift, try The Apothecary Malaysia’s Khan Solid perfume. Khan features a fresh floral fragrance with the seductive scent of Golden Sandalwood, with notes of Orange, Bergamot, Mahogany, Pine, Juniper Berries, Cinnamon, Vetiver, and Oakmoss. Made with a premium blend of selected fragrance oils, beeswax, shea butter and virgin almond oil.
Naiise to Have #8: Virgin Coconut Oil (RM49)
Root Remedies’ Virgin Coconut Oil is a multi-purpose healing oil for the skin and hair. According to the brand, coconut oil nourishes, moisturises and protects the skin and hair. The unique fatty acid composition of coconut oil enables it to penetrate deeply into the skin and hair, protecting and nourishing at the same time. It’s also an effective moisturiser, preventing and treating skin conditions such as xerosis and eczema, while the lauric acid and anti-bacterial compounds curb harmful bacteria which can cause acne.
We’re sold! Root Remedies products are made using coconuts grown locally in Malaysia, cold-pressed and full of goodness.
Naiise to Have #9: Bulan Sabit Chair-2 (RM450)
Furniture designers were some of the first ever vendors to join Naiise and local design house, MAD3 Studio, carries on the tradition. The Bulan Sabit Chair-2 forges a link between old and new; between traditional craft and contemporary design. Each piece is handmade, one-of-a-kind, and made-to-order within 2-3 weeks.
Naiise to Have #10: Pop-up Postcard-Old Book Store & Florist Shop (RM18)
A postcard and gift rolled into one, Loka Made’s pop-up postcard is a reminder of of our forgotten built heritage, and makes a lovely display in any home. This pop-up piece folds up beautifully, perfect for anyone who appreciates arts and crafts, as well as our history, architecture and culture.
By Maya Tan Abdullah.
All images courtesy of Naiise.
In the mood for a shopping spree? Head over to IOI City Mall for NYX Professional Makeup’s first flagship store in Malaysia. Click here for our top picks!