We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah, Sandra and Samantha Gomes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, Sandra and Samantha, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The Sisterhood Studios is a small local business founded in June 2020 by us 3 sisters, Sarah, Sandra and Samantha. We started with Hand-embroidered and Batik facemasks in hopes to provide an environmentally friendly option to disposable masks. Since then, we have grown and expanded into other products that are made in small batches, keeping sustainability and the wearer in mind. It’s a joy to create garments that have stories behind them, with good intention and longevity. We want to change the life cycle of garments, preventing them from ending up in landfills. Our products are made in house by us and the tailors we work with. From the process of being designed, toile, test fitted, fabric picking, sewn and made; all the magic happens in our humble little studio.
I (Sarah) graduated in fashion design in 2020 mid-pandemic, things were very uncertain and as we would recall disposable surgical masks were flying off the shelves quickly. So I decided to experiment making protective fabric masks to use as a more environmentally friendly option, since it could be washed and used repeatedly. It all began with batik and embroidered face masks, and at that time I was only selling to friends and family.
Sandra and I have always wanted to begin our journey in retail but never thought it would be this way. Never in a million years would we have guessed face masks to be our first products either!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Something we are most excited about is upcycling vintage and preloved textiles from different corners of the world, incorporating them into our garments in an effort to repurpose fabrics that are still in mint condition or just in need of minor repairing. Some of our garments that are made from these upcycled textiles are our Reversible Bianca Halter Tops, and our Peachy mini dress. We also have special jewelry such as our Mahjong necklaces, which is made with actual vintage hand-carved mahjong tiles from the 1950s. We’d like to think that these are what makes some of our products special as they carry a little background story with them. While we upcycle and repurpose vintage from around the globe, we also love incorporating Batik prints and fabrics into our designs that give a local touch.
The whole production process from the start – designed, drafted drape and toile to test fitting happens in our humble little studio. Since we’re all people and people come in all shapes and sizes, we test fit on different body types when we can and get measurements from friends to get a more realistic gauge. Our small but mighty team consist of a family of tailors, local seamstresses and friends who specialize in handiwork and crafts other than the three of us. It’s really all hands on deck for us sisters juggling from A to Z. Somedays we handle production, textile sourcing and making patterns, other days we’re also cleaning crew, customer service, handling social media and packing up orders.
The journey in making garments utilizing more sustainable and ethical methods definitely has it’s challenges, but it also allows us to think outside the box and stretch our creativity and imagination to different lengths which I am always up to. Just like the tide, there’s always ups and downs and we are just learning to take everything as it is. We’d like to think that each new challenge presented to us would be a valuable lesson for us to learn and grow from.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start by bringing them to the heart of Kuala Lumpur to walk about on a sunny day and travel out to the other states from there. Whenever I’m near Petaling Street in KL, I won’t miss the chance for a piping hot, comforting bowl of beef noodles. Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities, other states and towns that would also be great to visit for a mini road trip for a few days especially if you’re a big foodie include Penang, Malacca, Ipoh and many other states and towns that have their own specialties and beautiful heritage buildings to be inspired by.
I personally enjoy cooler weather (or maybe just missing it since the past few days have been a little scorching haha) so hiking in the highlands like Cameron’s surrounded by nature, and eating freshly grown produce from garden to table, having tea with a scenic view of the hills would be most refreshing. Otherwise, a relaxing day at one of our many beaches here catching sunrise and sunsets and that summer glow would be just as rejuvenating. I’ve yet to visit Sabah and Sarawak (on my bucket list!) which make up East Malaysia, but I hear the mountains and beaches there are beautiful. There’s really plenty to explore here, my list could go on!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of, we are glad to have each other to lean on and be each other’s support and cheerleaders on this journey. After all…a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. We are also thankful for the support from our dearest friends and family especially our mom and dad, whom have been here with us from Day One and believe in us and our little business. Of course not forgetting the lovely customers, small business owners and people we have met both via online and physically through our Pop Up Markets. The growth thus far stems from the tremendous love and support we have received.
Other: Or you may also connect with us via WhatsApp : +60103096065 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Zachary Vong 2. Sarah Jane Gomes