Faces Behind the Business: Arts and Crafts in Healing (Common Craft Essence Global)
Arts and Crafts in Healing
Specializing in providing services and products related to Arts & Crafts, Miss Annabelle runs a business known as Common Craft Essence Global.
A keen crafter, Miss Annabelle fell in love with crafting from a very young age. In her primary school years, she used to make ribbon foldings and key chains to sell to her friends. Her usual teacher was the craft shop “aunty” who taught her unique crafting methods, such as making crafts with soap foam. In her secondary school years, Miss Annabelle, a science stream student, was in love with Batik art, and studied art modules. She would join in Batik and sewing lessons, just for the fun of it.
Her business, initially named “House of Dreams”, kicked off in May 2010. Her idea was to provide an opportunity for anyone and everyone to give arts and crafts a try. This year, the business was re-branded to Common Craft Essence Global, with a workshop in PV2, Setapak, where she conducts in-person leisure classes. Her classes focus on clay arty, integrated with mind, body and soul healing for stressed individuals, and providing children with confidence issues a chance to work on their confidence.
Common Craft also includes classes on mandala and zentangle arts, which are renowned internationally- with black ink pens normally used for zentangles. As of this year, Miss Annabelle has also expanded her repertoire to include classes for the “paint on the water” technique, commonly seen in Europe. All paints used are eco-friendly.
She also mentioned the inspiration behind her business name, explaining that Common Craft referred to simple art, which everyone could join in and experience. Essence, on the other hand, was described as being a speciality of Art. Miss Annabelle explained:
‘You don’t have to be an artist to paint, or a well-trained teacher to make art- common craft is so common that you can just experience it and enjoy the moment. Any piece of art is a work of art.”
The business itself is managed by two partners (Ms. Annabelle and her partner), who run operations. Figurines sold by the store are usually bade by herself, her partner, or teachers of the organization. For luxury orders however, such as Buddha statues, she highlighted that those handled by her master. (Orders from that specific category, she noted, could come up to around RM30k, as the materials used to complete them could be costly.)
Other services apart from art and craft store
Apart from her art store and making figurines, Miss Annabelle also offers other services under the Common Craft umbrella, such as conducting Clay Art classes, and customising Cartoon figurines. She also conducts events for painting sites, and is a certified healing consultant for the practice of Aura Soma (where she studies and understands individual personalities through their choices in colour).
For Clay Art, Miss Annabelle recommended several types of clay which can be used. This included air dry clay (which is readily available under many brands), polymer clay (which must be baked to retain its shape, rubber clay (which is used for aquarium decorations), as well as soft clay and resin clay.
Ideas and duration on making the figurines
When it comes to ideas/ inspiration for clay figurines, Miss Annabelle prefers to study common trends- for instance, phone case decorations. Alternatively, clients will place their orders and make their own design suggestions- following which she consults and corrects accordingly, then teaches.
The overall duration of sculpting usually depends on whether the work is down in a physical class, a project, or via Zoom. Physical classes usually do not have a time limit in place, while projects normally take up to a month or a year. Students in Zoom classes, on the other hand, are given two hours to work with.
When asked about her business management process, Miss Annabelle explained that she had ready made products available for purchase on platforms such as Shopee and Lazada. In the case of customisable orders, she would normally require a week to confirm the artwork, and 2 weeks to sculpt the clay. Existing customers have been full of praise for her talent and skills.
Challenges faced making the figurines and managing the business
On challenges faced in sculpting the figurines, she mentioned that, initially, it could get rather costly as it could come up to RM12 for one block of coloured clay. Nowadays, the price is less exorbitant, and the clay itself is of better quality due to being manufactured. A lack of teachers is an additional concern as not many possess a talent for crafting. Besides that, parents also have high expectations for their children- expecting the art produced by them to be on par with the teachers almost at once!
In 2015, Miss Annabelle made the first step in expanding her business out of state- to Penang where she had some partners. Unfortunately, the expansion did not pan out as expected due to deteriorating health concerns, and the business resumed operations online, with all classes currently held via Zoom. The younger students have easily adapted to online lessons, and they all enjoy their sessions.
As a majority of businesses have been affected by the pandemic, Miss Annabelle was grateful that her business was not severely affected as most classes have been online. This made it easier for more students to join her class without any fear.
Plans for the business in 5 years
Her plans for the next 5 years include having more teachers, and welcoming more students to join in her classes- as long as they have the right mindset and energy.
To anyone looking to start a business, Miss Annabelle had some advice to share:
‘If you have the right mindset and positive intentions, then go for it. As long as it benefits you.”
If you have a passion for arts and crafts, look up her website and/or social media (listed below)- and check out the gorgeous art pieces available! Classes are currently open for enrolment, and interested parties are more than welcome to sign up if interested. Miss Annabelle is on hand to guide you throughout your process, and to help you customise your own unique pieces. And remember- the sky’s the limit!
Visit Common Craft Essence Global at:
Do you know that you can put up a listing on our MCO Mart website for FREE? Register now to enjoy free online marketing and seize your future!
#Kitajagakita #SupportLocal #MCOMart