By Aisha Hassan on November 4th, 2020
Pink Jambu pieces pay respect to heritage artisanship and the value of limited collections. “We have a team of designers headed by myself who focus on creating one of a kind designs,” Tengku Marina Ibrahim, Pink Jambu’s founder, says. “It is our way of staying special in the sea of abundant retail today.”
Even at the designer brand’s inception in 1992, Tengku Marina, who was working in interior design at the time, focused on combining imaginative prints with traditional batik techniques. “Innovative design is at the core of our business,” she says. The brand concentrates on research and design, and the upside of producing small collections is that Pink Jambu can experiment with different methods at a time.
Beyond the expert craftsmanship itself, the thoughtfulness of every Pink Jambu piece also translates into a distinctive style statement. “We use craft as our medium of expression,” Tengku Marina says. “For us, nothing tells a story better than the hands who created them.”
Crafting with care
Pink Jambu prioritizes the wellbeing of their artisans. “Our artisans are like family, so we take good care of them and continue to incentivize them,” Tengku Marina says. Most Pink Jambu pieces are handcrafted from start to finish, and fair support systems are vital to protect the work and wellbeing of skilled artisans.
“Due to the highly laborious nature of creating one of a kind batik pieces as we do, we stagger the physical work even at the busiest of production times,” Tengku Marina says. “It is to ensure the quality of our artisans’ lives and work.”
All this care also goes towards preserving craftsmanship, like working with batik and tenun, which in Malaysia especially are skills that have been passed down for hundreds of years. “It is so imbued in our culture that it would be sad to lose this heritage,” Tengku Marina says. “There is an intangible value to our history that we must preserve.”
Joy in community
Pink Jambu’s deep customer loyalty is testament to how much their brand ethos and creations have resonated. “We refer to them as ‘friends of Pink Jambu,’ which in many ways has become a sort of insider’s club,” Tengku Marina says. The brand shies away from large events and prefers to host intimate gatherings for their valued clientele.
And beyond providing discerning buyers with authentic artisanship, Pink Jambu’s’s brand identity is also about bringing happiness through its unique pieces. “In Malay, ‘Jambu’ is another word to describe beautiful or alluring, and Fuschia Pink was our corporate colour when Pink Jambu started,” Tengku Marina says. “It is vibrant and joyous, two values we try to maintain in our collections!”
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.