By Aisha Hassan on July 27th, 2021
If someone is wearing Envet in a crowd, chances are your eyes will be drawn to them. From voluminous earrings to beaded mask chains, the Singapore-based accessories brand is unapologetic about its loud and colorful creations. For Anita, the founder and self-proclaimed “Thinkerbell'' of Envet, this boldness is intrinsic to her identity.
“In building a business there has to be a balance between demand and authenticity,” Anita says. “For me, authenticity has to do with how much I love color...Every day when you’re working there’s instability, but the fact that I’m looking at colors is enough to make me happy,” she continues. “I tend to go for bold colors, weird combinations and silhouettes, and the bigger, the better.”
Anita spent her childhood in Sumatra and currently works with Roreta Natalia, her cousin based in Yogyakarta, to handcraft Envet’s bright pieces. Roreta is a stay-at-home mother who has garnered craft skills and a different form of livelihood through Envet. “I want to build a community of stay-at-home moms who feel like they can make and sell something of their own,” Anita says. Amidst traditional gender conventions in Indonesia where many mothers are expected to sacrifice their professional lives, Anita seeks to encourage upskilling and financial independence for those who wish to work. “I truly hope this will happen,” she says.
Fruits of her labor
Despite Envet’s dazzling designs and Anita’s vision for the future, the brand has humble beginnings. Envet grew out of Anita’s school project at the LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore where she came to understand both the value of handmade goods and the difficulty in marketing them. After taking “a leap of faith” to pursue Envet full time in 2017, and without financial support from anyone, Anita remembers constant anxiety about rent (she ended up staying in a friend’s bunk bed) and the business’ survival.
“The anxiety was there, the uncertainty was there, the instability was there,” Anita says. “But,” she continues with a smile in her voice: “...It was pretty exciting.”
Anita credits her consistent work ethic for making it out of that time, and this trait is also something Anita admires in her father. The Bees Collection was actually inspired by her father’s commitment to his orchard and extensive knowledge of cross pollination and plants. “I live in a fast-paced city, but when I think of my dad gardening, it’s so peaceful and reminds me of a simpler time...it reminds me to remember my roots,” Anita says. In tribute, she transformed her father’s garden in true Envet style. The Bumblebee Earrings, for instance, feature banana-shaped wire emblazoned with bees and cobalt blue beads. “I wanted to represent fruits but I wanted it to be a bit crazy,” Anita says.
Anita continues to follow her instincts — that is, to be daring and bold — even during dark times. Prior to the pandemic she sourced beads from Bali, and even after lockdown hit and there were zero occasions to dress up, she still used them to create the Bali Earrings that feature huge, event-worthy loops of color. “All of us are dreaming of traveling and I just wanted to give people that glimpse of what you can feel of Bali even when staying at home,” she says. Anita even used the Bali beads to create stunning sunglasses and mask chains to bring more good vibes to sullen times. “I don’t care if you have to wear a mask,” Anita says. “I still want it to be as bright as possible.”
These unabashed displays of color and flamboyant shapes feel like a salve with everything happening in the world. And feeling good, Anita says, directs her design anyway. “I know if I wear the pieces I’ll be very confident and happy to wear them,” she says. One of the regular pieces of feedback she gratefully receives, in fact, is that her customers constantly get complimented on their Envet accessories.
“I think it’s because they are comfortable wearing such a big earring, and I know Envet is not for everybody...When you get that compliment, it makes you feel more comfortable with what you wear,” Anita says. “And then, you doubt yourself less.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aisha Hassan is a writer, journalist, and co-founder of Dia. Previously, Aisha worked for Quartz in New York and Harper’s Bazaar in Malaysia. Her fiction has been published in international literary magazines. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Oxford, and a master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.