In 2015, the products we produced were no more than 30 clothes a month. Even though our online store has already been running for about three years, we had never thought making this business as our main income. I started this business as a way to make myself productive in my free time, because that time I was just a honorary teacher who had just graduated from a master degree program in Bandung, while my husband was still pursuing his master degree in Japan.
In one afternoon, I saw so many leftover fabrics in my room. I didn't know what to do about it but bold enough to convince myself that I can turn them into money. So I forced my brain to think out of the box and voila, they became our beloved products: Naima and Khaira. I wasn't confident in selling them at first because they were literally came from leftovers, but I'd rather die trying than doing nothing about it. And BOOM, it felt like a dream at first, our customers LOVED them so much and the order kept coming for these products.
In 2016, when my husband had already come back to Indonesia, we made a pretty big decision: we'd like to make this online store as a brand. This wasn't easy of course, but as long as we work together, we were quite sure that we could deal with any obstacles. I worked so hard to learn how to design clothes, and my husband learnt as much as he could in graphic designs and social media advertisement. By the power of Allah the Almighty, our follower increased by 50k in just a year and we had more and more customers from all over Indonesia (and even south east Asian Countries). And as people know more about our brand, so does the charm of Naima and Khaira, for they have always been our stars in the beginning.
It was in the late of 2017, when I first saw Khaira being endorsed by a famous celebrity in Instagram. But NO, the celebrity didn't mention us, they mentioned other online store. It shook me to my nerve, and told my husband
"I swear to God it's Khaira!!"
I was sad of course, because I designed that outfit myself. But my husband calmed me down and told me that everything's going to be completely just fine. All we need to do is just keep working hard to make our brand bigger and better so people, especially our beloved customers, would know even though there are many other stores out there copying our products.
I admit myself that I did that also, of course. I believe almost every designer had gone through that moment when they were inspired a lot by other's designs. Sometimes I wanted to appologize to those who were coppied by me in the past, I'm telling you the truth. But in my experience, I always tried a lot to modify the design and give at least a little touch of my signature. Not to copy them 100% and use the exact material as what our aspiring designers did. And the most important is, I would never endorsed them as if they were our original design. Well, at least it's my point of view.
Now, as the moment of truth, to answer the question "am I upset about it? and hate these copycats?" no, of course not. It annoyed me at first everytime I see Khaira or Naima being endorsed by some famous celebgrams and the subjects being mentioned were other stores (or brands?). But now, I have started to accept that it's happening not only to us but also to other brands. What we need to do now is to keep working as hard as we can to make new designs, fresh designs that could beat the fam of Naima or Khaira. Insyaa Allah, hardwork will never cheat results, as Syed Sharukh said:
“Nothing Can Beat Hard Work, But Hard Work Itself”
I hope, these stores will soon reach the point where they realize that the true satisfaction in selling fashion products is selling their own designs. I do, really hope they can be sucessful in the future, and be more confident of their own ideas.
I really do.