INSPIRASEE OF THE MONTH:
Siti nur izzati qurratu'ain binti rahim
Siti Nur Izzati Qurratu’ain binti Rahim, who goes by Zati is a second year Design and Creative Industries(DCI) major. Zati is the woman behind Qarya Seni, a booming online business selling personalised illustrations and merchandise that has amassed over 4.4K followers on Instagram.
Zati knew early in life that she wanted to be independent and have her own source of income. Her business venture began at the tender age of 14 when she sold bookmarks and other miscellaneous items. During her high school years, she accepted commissions for her hand-drawn portraits, other artwork, T-shirts and caps. It was during this time that she made a name for herself. She initially planned to stop to focus on her A-Levels. However, things did not go to plan! Moosethetics Co, a widely known business selling pins was the brainchild of Zati and 2 of her close friends, Aiman and Ibrahim(who came up with the initial idea).
As all 3 of them are now studying in different tertiary institutions in different countries, Moosethetics is currently being run by another friend of theirs. Looking back on their start-up, Zati still finds it funny that their business was actually brought to life. “I thought it was going to be a joke,” she said. “Just 3 good friends, sitting in class,tired and looking for ways to earn money.” The success and thrill she got from being involved in Moosethetics further ignited her hunger of progressing in the business field as the satisfaction she gets from achieving a business goal is unmatched.
She attributes her triumph in entrepreneurship to her independence and strong self motivation. “As long as I have two hands and feet, I believe I am capable of anything,” she says shrewdly. She is also very passionate about what she does, she finds solace in art and painting, so that is another factor that has enabled her to keep going. Additionally, Zati likes to keep herself busy (after a good long beauty sleep, of course!) so she strives to use her time to be productive and try new things. She credits her mother, siblings and close friends for being her pillar of strength and support, having been there since the beginning of her journey.
As mentioned before, Zati likes to make full use of her time. Apart from being the CEO of Qarya Seni, she is also an instructor at BenchLab, which she enjoys very much as she loves teaching. Furthermore, she holds a part-time job as a salesgirl in one of the local boutiques. To keep herself energised and active, she enjoys playing rugby with the UBD Sharks as well.
When the multifaceted businesswoman was asked how she manages her time, she reveals that she has an employee to assist with managing Qarya Seni, allowing her to make time for her university assignments and activities. For sports, she would squeeze in time after she is done with other tasks or do it during her off-days.
During the course of running her business, there have been instances when there were disagreements with designs and materials for customers’ orders. She explains that this gets resolved by communicating with customers to know their preferred design and requests. When she is not on the same page with her employee on any matter, they strive to understand where each other is coming from and reach a middle ground.
Zati recalls a very funny and interesting experience Qarya Seni had. A man contacted them to order an illustration of him and his girlfriend. The next day, a woman also wanted to order an illustration. When Zati was shown the photo that the female customer wanted them to illustrate, she was amused and surprised! The people in the photo were the same people in the photo the man showed the day before. Fortunately, the couple did not decide to have the same photo illustrated. However, they both wanted their orders done on the same day to commemorate their anniversary, so Qarya Seni had to be sneaky with the time to pick up their orders separately so they had no chance of running into each other and ruining the surprise. Other amusing orders include a customer who wanted to have a chicken painted around his head. Impressively, Qarya Seni has also prepared VIP orders. Zati was surprised with how polite and trusting they were with Qarya Seni.
Being an entrepreneur has morphed Zati to be very career-minded. She endeavours to make strides and loves the hustle it takes to run a business. Interestingly, although Zati loves all things art, she hates drawing straight lines. In fact, that is the only thing she despises about drawing. She also eats ice like it’s a piece of keropok, and can fall asleep in any situation, even when there is construction work taking place outside her house.
Sometimes, Zati puts off releasing new products as she has doubts. Is the product ready to be released? Is it perfect? What needs to be changed? She eventually realised that the longer she dwells on it, the longer the product will be put on hold, so might as well just release it, see what the general feedback is and improve from there.
Zati is a self-taught artist. Art is a skill that she has honed over a long period of time. This reflects in Qarya Seni’s work as well, as her earlier works are very different from what she puts out today. As the business of accepting commissions for artwork such as illustrations is very saturated here, Zati sees her “rivals” as healthy competition. It gives her the extra push to be better, constantly improve and not be bitter by the success of others.
She admits that the work had been overwhelming before. There was a time when she received 12 orders in a week. That led to burnout and questioning if it was even worth it. Thankfully, she persevered and made changes to her business strategy. To avoid receiving a too high volume of orders, Qarya Seni now operates on a limited number of slots for orders each week. Zati is grateful for the support she has received from her mother, siblings and friends. She also appreciates her customers and people who do not know her personally for their encouragement and valuing what she does.
Zati’s hopes for Qarya Seni is to ultimately bring it to greater heights- she wants to do more than illustrations. She would love to be involved in the manufacturing industry. When asked if she would ever consider venturing into other industries, she would perhaps tap into the food or modest fashion industry. However, she does realise that running multiple businesses at once will be very hectic and take up a lot of time so it will likely remain a vision for the foreseeable future. Zati believes it is vital for an entrepreneur to have a clear vision of success, because everyone aims for different things. Her life goal is to be able to settle down and not having to worry about financial issues- that is her vision of success.
Her advice for anyone that wishes to begin their own business:
“It is okay to start slow. It is okay to fail many times. What matters is standing back up after each fall. All successful people are built from hard work, and failure. If you are afraid of failing, then you are not ready for success.”
Visit @qaryaseni on Instagram to learn more. Qarya Seni is also offering internship opportunities.