Kore Team managed to catch up with Malaysia-based entrepreneur Franki Turner Shaik, the founder of Frankitas. We wanted to find out how her preference and love for traditional textiles grew into a successful altruistic enterprise which helps to sustain the livelihood of traditional weavers around the world.
(1) What is the brand ideology behind Frankitas?
We believe in supporting traditional artisans in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Africa and Central Asia, who have the extensive knowledge of age-old techniques of weaving and tie dying. We use textile motifs such as Ikat, Batik, Songket, Tenun Rangrang, which are synonymous to the signature statement of a FRANKITAS. At the heart of it lies our ethos.
Frankitas aims to build a working community by creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged crafters in remote areas so that they may continue to create traditional works of art.
(2) What is the motivation for starting a sustainable brand to include bags and home furnishing?
It has always been about our textiles. Since 2014, when I founded Frankitas, I worked with my Aunt Titin, who is still involved with Frankitas today, to launch our Signature Titin Clutch. Frankitas gives Titin an opportunity to showcase her beautiful work as well as providing for her family. Being brought up in a village in Indonesia where working opportunities are scarce, Frankitas aims to build opportunities in areas of creative art. This is something that is close to my heart and this is what motivates me every day.In 2015, we wanted to expand and further showcase the versatility of traditional textile to people’s home, so it was natural that we launched our home and décor range, Frankitas Home. We simply want to brighten and add a burst of colour to our customers’ homes.
(3) Frankitas is revolutionizing fashion by using fabric and textiles purchased at fair trade prices directly from weavers or through NGO’s that represent them. How did the opportunity for getting in touch with these weavers arise?
I wouldn’t call it revolutionizing really as it is such a big word for such a small brand like us.
The opportunity came when a friend put me in touch with an NGO in Indonesia, who work closely with the weavers and ensuring that they are paid fairly for the work they produce. This made a lot of sense to me as I value the craftsmanship and time which is required to produce something so intricate and beautiful. Since then, we have bought some of our textiles through them. In addition, we also purchase our fabrics directly with weaver families across Asia.
(4) Besides Indonesia, where does Frankitas source their fabric and textiles from?
We purchase materials which catches my eye. The materials are the core of our business and it supports local artisians, who are the weavers. They are the true heroes behind Frankitas and the stunning materials which you see through our collection of clutches, bags and home decor.
(5) Besides Tangs in Singapore, where do you retail Frankitas bags and accessories?
We are happy to announce that we now have a permanent space with Quintessential at Mandarin Gallery on Orchard. Our range at Mandarin Gallery is our most extensive as it also includes our home collection. We also work closely with Tangs Orchard, multi-label boutiques such as Willow & Huxley, and hotels such as Shangrila Hotel Sentosa and the Four Seasons Hotel.
You can view Frankitas brilliant and vibrant designs from their website at www.frankitas.com.