Tastefully designed in the cutest of colours and patterns with a nod to the Malaysian culture, we look into two artisans and their adorable take on local souvenirs. No more fridge magnets and keychains here.
Gadis Manis takes Malaysia’s diversity and designing them into charming gifts and accessories. Its creator Florence Lambert Lee has spent more than 2 decades in Malaysia where her designs feature 3 girls, Gowry the Indian, Yati the Malay and Ah Chik the Chinese. The 3 girls make quite an appearance and are stitched onto wristlets, painted on t-shirts and carved into silver bookmarks. For a taste of Malaysia in your everyday knick knacks that are made in Malaysia, Gadis Manis is the shop to visit before heading home.
Where to get: Main store in Central Market, the Petronas Gift shop in KLCC and selected hotels in Penang and Langkawi.
The name means ‘successful’ in Swahili but Nala’s contemporary design stems from the wealth of Malaysia’s melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. The bright colours are reminiscent of the tropical hues of the Malaysian shores that are tastefully incorporated into whimsical patterns on everything from shopper bags to notebooks. Founder Lisette Scheer began the company as a way to revive the art of letter-writing that grew into a stationary collection. Now the Nala brand has expanded into home décor and even fashion items.
Extra: The Nala store shares a roof with one of KL’s chicest coffee joints, DR.Inc (pronounced ‘drink’) where the serve a mean cup of joe and foods like key lime pie and quiche. Check out their Facebook as they do monthly food markets catered to the artisanal palette.
Where to get: Main store at 8A, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar and selected gift shops in Penang, Langkawi and Melaka.