Inspiring Enterprise

Fashion with a conscience

The Tamil word for thread is `nul’ நூல் and both Evlyn and Anne have made South Asia (India and Sri Lanka) their initial hunting grounds for all things crafty and artisanal.

Their new enterprise is aptly called `Southern Nools’ (threads from the south) and the long-term plan is to sustain the business by making it a social enterprise which is aimed at empowering women.

For a start, the siblings are offering quirky and fun items like yoga bags, healthy copper mugs, book covers, meditation cushions, cheerful mandala-inspired totes and a host of other colourful and quality merchandise.

Their debut at the Straits Quay weekend market last week served as a good test-bed to gauge consumer trends and interest and they will be back there on Saturday and Sunday (March 24-25, 2018) with more offerings.

The girls share their story below, and the photos weave more colours and tales:

“At Southern Nools we draw our inspirations from the elements of Mother Earth and the four beautiful seasons of the year to bring you and the rest of the world our eclectic array of designs,” they say.

‘Nools’ or ‘Nul’ means thread in most parts of Southern India and Sri Lanka. The thread is the central point in retaining the fabrics outlook, appearance and lifespan although it only represents less than 1% of the entire outfit., they share.

“While the fabric captures the essence of bringing alive its tapestry of colours, the thread remains the spindle that spools it together. “

Handloom weaving is a heritage handed down from generations. Masterpieces are created from the blessed and creative hands of skilled weavers. These hands represent the simple and humble artisans who brings alive the fabric that adorns its wearer. Southern Nools celebrates all designers through the richness and diversity of traditional and classic fabrics.

“We take pride in weaving together the magic of Mystical India and the Wonder of Sri Lanka through the windows of exotic exuberance set in the splendour and grandiose British era.

“Our passage of timeless collections is designed with fine attention to detail. At Southern Nools we believe in quality, uniqueness, comfort and sophistication with a flair. Our clothiers and collections carry the proud trademark of stitcheries and the spontaneous placement of colours and designs inspired by the eccentric brilliance of Mother Earth.

“Our philosophy is rooted in integrity, simplicity and contemporary elegance handcrafted with a conscience.”

The Southern Nools story goes beyond threads and spools.

“At the heart of Southern Nools is the mission to empower and create unlimited potential with life skills, entrepreneurial growth and leadership for the marginalised and the differently abled in society. We hope to not only empower our local community in Malaysia and beyond, but also to enrich their lives with dignified earnings and a life changing future.

“At Southern Nools we strongly support and promote Fair Trade as a path towards a sustainable economic development for these communities and their families.”

At Southern Nools “There Is A Season For Everything” and “There Is Something For Every Season”.

“Southern Nools is about making a difference in people’s lives. Each smile, each little thing, each blessing, each gratitude is an affirmation of our purpose and mission,” is the promise of Evlyn and Anne.

Watch this space …..

#southernools #thereisaseasonforverything #pb2j #blessingsinlife #fairtrade #empowerment #threadsandspools #india #srilanka #socialenterprise


Let’s go luxe

Luxe shoppers take note!

Michelle the magical queen of happening events, is uplifting Penang’s retail scene by a notch this coming weekend.

The Luxury Shopping Showcase event takes place on 9 Feb (Friday) from 3pm-7pm and 10 Feb (Saturday) from 10am-5pm at

Suite 010, Heritage Wing at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel on Farquhar Street in George Town.

After her successful debut in presenting global label Cocoon by Randi Kristoffersen to us last year, Michelle is now bringing it back to Penang shoppers.

This designed and made-in-Malaysia export, is one of the world’s premier nightwear brands – think silk, satin, silk-velvet and the finest cashmere (www.cocoonbyrandikristoffersen)

Discerning shoppers are also in for a treat with the launching of a new collection from luxury linen brand, The Sinclair Company by Anne Sinclair.

The collection is said to include easy-to-wear dresses and separates in lightweight European linen and available in limited quantities in sizes ranging from 4 to 14.

“No appointment necessary, admission is free and credit cards are accepted,” says Michelle.

“Call us on +60164570221 if you can’t find us! We’re in the old wing, ground floor of the E&O Hotel.”

(Images courtesy of Michelle Grimsley)

It’s baaaaaaaack!!!

The annual George Town Festival (GTF) returns for its 9th consecutive round with an international and local slew of events from 4 Aug till until 2 Sept this year.

“George Town will be a hub of entertainment and excitement with both free and ticketed shows available to audiences,” a press statement issued today said.

As in previous editions of the annual fest, the Penang Government has appointed Joe Sidek Productions Sdn. Bhd. to oversee the curation and management of GTF.

The appointed contractor today also expressed its thanks to the state authorities, Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang, the Penang Development Corporation, Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Penang Global Tourism, and George Town World Heritage Incorporated for their continued support.

A ‘Call for Proposals’ for the fest which was initiated last October, has seen some 200 proposals both from Malaysia and abroad come in.

“We expect more will be forthcoming during this last week,” said festival director, Joe Sidek.

“In addition to online submissions, we have also been conducting ‘Proposal Clinics’ to encourage local creative individuals or groups to meet with us to help fine-tune their artistic ideas and to help them submit a proposal for the festival,” he added.

Shop for a (fashionable) cause

Retail therapy has taken yet another twist in Penang where you can shop for a cause and stay in fashion.

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) recently unveiled a new and meaningful project in the form of a thrift shop.

WCC is a not-for-profit organisation that supports abused women and children.

The noble intention behind the opening of this shop is for its profits to be ploughed back to further WCC’s work.

The WCC Value Value Shop is located on the mezzanine floor of Island Plaza, where bargains abound.

Quality new and used items have been tastefully grouped and displayed, with prices starting from RM1.

This little Aladdin’s Cave tucked away at the shopping mall, has interesting finds ranging from books, branded apparel, shoes and bags and quirky fashion accessories, to name a few.

The warm and friendly atmosphere found in the shop is so infectious, where strangers end up chatting and laughing with each other.

The WCC Value Shop, says the centre’s president Mariam Lim, is an initiative aimed at not only providing a steady flow of funds for the organisation, but also advocates sustainable living and provides customers with good quality goods at affordable prices.

The store is run by a cheerful band of volunteers who are out to encourage “Every people that change is possible,” notes Lim.

Bargain surprises and cute finds pop up daily, we are told and it is also heart-warming to see donors walking in with quality items to give away.

The candy-striped brand new blouse I walked away with (RM5) was yet another reminder that one should support private and socially meaningful enterprises such these. And the three funky tops picked up by Debbie at equally attractive prices are reason for us to return there, soon.

Thank you Mariam & Susan for a lovely welcome and congratulations on such an innovative enterprise!

More details on operating hours and the latest offers and good buys are found on the WCC Value Shop Facebook page.

(Images courtesy of Mariam Lim)

Celebrating Catholic culture and heritage

The Church of the Assumption in George Town which reopened its doors recently after a restoration exercise, has now a museum on its grounds.

The northern region’s first Roman Catholic Diocese Museum stands tall as yet another historic attraction to those visiting the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A walk through the museum, is a stroll tinged with nostalgia, pride and all things Catholic. It celebrates many stories of how the church was built together by the religious and the laity, the historical artefacts which have been a part of the Eucharistic celebration through the ages, and more.

And please don’t think you have walked into the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus by mistake when you step into the museum.

I sure was proud to see my parish “immortalised” on its walls today!

A glorious icon (almost) restored

Let this place resound with Joy – Edmund Khoo, project architect

The Church of the Assumption along Lebuh Farquhar in George Town, is on the last stretch of its restoration project and set to open her doors officially, come 1 January 2018.

Her ancient bells are ringing again to welcome the birth of Christ and a fresh new year!

Resident pipe organist Leonard Selva Gurunathan shares the spirit of the season with the carol ‘A Thousand Candles.’

The pipe organ which was packed away during the restoration works was unveiled yesterday to continue its good work in giving praise to God.

Congratulations Edmund Khoo for making the Catholics proud and going that extra mile to preserve the heritage integrity of this architectural gem!

(Some Images and video of the bells courtesy of Edmund Khoo and video of Leonard playing courtesy of Michelle Richards)