If you noticed an enthusiastic crowd at the West Wing of Sunway Pyramid anytime between the 14th of May and mid-July, it is most likely that you have stumbled upon The Good Shop.
Formed by multiple different social entrepreneurs also known as Socents, The Good Shop is a multi-brand retailer that aims to offer high-quality products for their customers. However, unlike most businesses, a large percentage of their earnings will be spent on charitable causes. Launched on the 14th of May, visitors of The Good Shop had the privilege to enjoy a diverse mix of original designs and products ranging from handwoven songkets to tasty and refreshing juices.
Tanoti, one of the many associations of The Good Shop, is a luxury brand formed by a congregation of skilled women weavers and artisans were showcasing their beautifully handwoven songket materials in hopes of reviving the traditional piece as well as increasing its relevance by imparting it into modern fashion. The two main goals of Tanoti is to improve the lives and livelihood of womenfolk in rural communities by providing them a sustainable career with a steady income to support their families at home. Another important goal is to keep the antique art of songket weaving alive.
Another group who were promoting the beauty and distinctiveness of culture were members of The Batik Boutique, whereby carefully tinted batik paintings were available for shoppers. Founded by Amy Blair, The Batik Boutique was formed with the goal of aiding single mothers and low-income earners. Starting off with just aprons and coastersets, The Batik Boutique is now catering to a much wider market and is currently attracting more seamstresses and designers than before.
Keeping creativity alive, visitors were unable to miss the inventive junk-to-jewels upcycling projects hosted by Biji-Biji Initiative, where whatever others perceived as ‘junk’ is magically transformed into treasures. The few more popular products by Biji-Biji Initiative includes their seatbelt bags that are nonetheless created from seatbelts, vertical garden bags and tote bags. Biji-Biji Initiative uses green technology and effective waste management methods to reuse and recycle used materials in hopes of promoting sustainable living and to inspire society to reduce waste, leaving a minimal deteriorative impact on the environment.
Social entrepreneur Magicbird Publishing, on the other hand, is a non-profit entity that carries the belief that every child, regardless of their social background, deserves access to good books. Magicbird Publishing has distributed close to 30,000 books to under-served Malaysian children and built 17 Reading Spaces around Malaysia to date. Following their conviction, Magicbird hosted a storytelling session during their time at The Good Shop, giving children a chance to be critical thinkers and to not shy away from expressing their thoughts and opinions.
Branching off from women to children, The Good Shop also had room to cater for the disabled as DIB (Deaf in Business) Juice Station were out and raising awareness towards people with hearing disabilities. DIB coaches have successfully trained deaf Malaysians in cooking, baking, and skills of being a coffee barista. DIB’s Dr. Allen Teh engaged with the audience by giving free and fun sign language sessions to educate the public on the basics of communicating through sign language. At the end of each session, the fun unfold as visitors were challenged to order their juice from the DIB Juice Station in sign language, whereby the juice station was fully operated by hearing-impaired personnel.
Apart from DIB Juice Station, GOLD (Generating Opportunities for the Learning Disabled), were present to provide classes on rehabilitative vocational training, life skills and supported employment to individuals with learning disabilities with the aim of encouraging them to contribute to society and be a part of it as well. One of their main products for sale, the ceramic goods, were created by individuals who attended the training by GOLD and is the main source of sale that generates the much needed revenues to keep GOLD center running.
Bonded by the desire to make the world a better place, The Good Shop is the perfect example for others to believe that all it takes to make a difference in society is to have a big heart. With the example The Good Shop and many other non-profit organizations are setting, it appears hopeful that our next generation will one day rise above their limitations to be inspiring leaders and heroes for our tomorrows.
*The Good Shop is located at West Wing A, Level LG2 of Sunway Pyramid.