knock knock, overseas

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“MATRADE’s awesome, babe! Because of them, I was able to do my trade shows overseas!”

For your info, MATRADE or Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation is a national trade promotion agency under Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

I didn’t hear this once, but many many times when I speak to local designers that we stock on FashionValet. Before this, I’ve never really bothered to find out what this government agency does but being in the fashion industry, our link is fortunately, inevitable. In fact, FashionValet has participated in a lot of MATRADE’s activities and even given talks about the e-commerce industry.

They’re pretty awesome, if you take time to find out what they can help you with!

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Like with dUCk, I have always wanted it to be an international brand, proudly waving the Malaysian flag (or the KL skyline on our scarf haha) to the world.

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And we are somewhat ready for export, if I’m too busy fooling around in our warehouse hehe.

So MATRADE would be the agency I would go to, for further help.

And I think if you have a brand, you too can tap on MATRADE’s expertise and knowledge. The world is a vast and can be scary if you are all alone, so that’s why you need to strategise and not just barge in. Don’t be scared to ask for information and help from MATRADE.

They’re not there to hold your hand to build a startup, but they’re very relevant if your company is export-ready meaning you have enough volume and have the capacity to export your goods overseas, thus growing your brand. With export comes in revenue for the country which leads to the economic well-being of the Malaysian nation.

How does MATRADE help?

1)   Facilitate services for Malaysian enterprises

2)   Formulate strategies to promote Malaysian exports overseas

3)   Give information about the requirements and standards a Malaysian exporter needs to know

4)   Assist Malaysian enterprises to establish presence overseas via international trade fairs, trade matching programmes etc

5)   Give trade advisory and support on up-to-date export matters

6)   Through programmes such as E-Trade, Youth Development Programmes and Outreach Programmes around Malaysia

Some of the activities they have been doing:

Arts Melbourne

Arts exhibition in Melbourne

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Bringing local designers to showcase their collections in international fashion shows such as this one called INTRADE.

Initiative for SMEs photo

Trade fairs for SMEs

Young Exporters Forum

Talks and seminars

Minister MITI - Young Exporters Forum

MITI Minister, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed giving a speech at a forum

MyExportApps

MATRADE’s MyExport app exclusively for MATRADE members

Specialised Marketing Mission on Aerospace to SIngapore

Specialised marketing mission on aerospace in Singapore

 And their latest one is the ASEAN BUSINESS FORUM 2015 which will be officiated by the Minister of International Trade and Industry himself, on this coming March 12th. Programmes involve panel sessions from successful exporters where they will share their challenges entering the overseas market, and even a consultation session focusing on smaller groups of interested exporters. I think it’s definitely worth going for. I would soooo gladly break my pantang period and come in my kain batik all, if my mom and mil would leave me for a few hours!

Get more info from their website, or better yet, give them a call! Never know where it could lead you and your brand to. Paris? London? New York? *drool*

And you know… when you’ve made it there… if you ever need an assistant to carry your bags or anything… I’m free. #justsaying

being a mrs being pregnant love

it’s the second baby

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Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better birthing partner in him. Well, I’d lose the hideous T-shirt, but I’ll find a way to find peace with it. The websites and books always tell you to choose your birthing partner carefully because you need someone you’re reallyyyyy comfortable with (seriously guys, butt-hanging-out-watch-you-pee-kind-of-sexy situation). And everyone just assumes their husbands should be the person, but actually a lot of people choose someone else to take into the labor room.

Anyway, when I’m nervous or scared, I always need someone who is “chill”. I can’t have someone telling me I can do it bla bla bla, because somehow that makes me more nervous. I need someone who changes the subject or act like it’s nothing. This kind of “support” actually helps me a lot – like as if what I’m about to do is no big deal and it’s easy peasy. So it tricks my mind that it’s easy peasy too.

We checked into the ward (#teaminduce) and the first night we settled in, we had so much fun together. We came with our hospital bags and at the counter, I was like “Hi, I’d like to check into my hotel room.” Made Dean laugh (not so much the nurses….) and that was the start of our relaxed, nonchalant night (well, until they stuck the induction pill up my thing at 1 am…). We watched series, we let me have all the ice cubes I wanted and ate KFC together.

And we made jokes about how for first babies, the husbands are always so nice but the niceness level goes down for the second and subsequent babies. So I warned Dean he better not be like that… and automatically he thought it would be funny to make jokes about it.

On the hospital bed, I asked him, “Hey, can you get me the guava juice in the fridge please? I’m thirsty.”

He gave me a pftttt face, “Get it yourself. It’s the second baby, don’t be lazy.”

He did the same thing when he dropped me off at the hospital entrance. “Here, take your bag. It’s the second baby, you don’t get special treatment anymore.”

Then while walking to the hotel room ward, Dean who was ahead of me, turned back and said, “Why you walking so slow? It’s the second baby, you should be walking faster.”

-___________-”

Don’t worry, I smacked the guava juice at him real good.

being a mom being pregnant

introducing baby mariam

She finally came out and she’s beautiful!!!!!!

It’s so so surreal…. I have so much to thank Allah swt for.

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Assalamualaikum, Aunties and Uncles.

My name is Mariam Iman Shah.

being a mom yummy tummy

carrots at dinner

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I felt like such a winner at the dinner table yesterday.

Dean brought back chicken rice for all of us and I shared mine with Daniel. It’s so hard to get him to eat vegetables (inherited from his Mommy, I know….) but yesterday, I cut up the carrots reallllllll small and snuck it in with the rice and chicken. And guess what!! He didn’t throw it out!!

I obviously had a smirk on my face because Dean asked, “Why do you look like that?”

“Daniel has no idea I’m feeding him carrots! WIN!!!!!” I gloated.

“Oh, he’s eating carrots right now? That’s really good!” Dean was impressed.

“I know, right…” Still gloating.

“Why don’t you have some too?” Dean suggested, raising his eyebrows at my plate full of cut-up carrots.

Darn. Did not see that coming.

“Oh errr… obviously I need to keep them for Daniel! How selfish of a mother do you think I am to take all the nutrition for myself? Sheesh, baby.”

Dean kept quiet.

Phew, dodged that bullet.

Then he came to me with his carrots from his chicken rice. “Oh it’s ok, I’ll give you some of mine. Here.”

Darn. This totally backfired.

being pregnant

the dreaded hibernation

Oh gosh I had such a good relaxing weekend with my family. I’ve stopped going for events or even going out with friends; this period I want it to be all about my family especially Daniel. Together, we settled everything we needed for Baby M’s arrival, Insyaallah, including diapers (big mistake overlooking that when Daniel was born, remember?). She’s got enough clothes and shoes that well.. let’s face it, only I care about haha. Swaddles, check. Milk bottles, check. Towels, check. Blankets, check. Mittens, checks. I think that’s it, I can’t really think of anything else.

This longgggg weekend was exactly what I needed to soak up some manja with husband time and of course, time with my little boy. The three of us spent so much time together that I think Daniel was relieved to see his nanny tonight. -___-” I have to admit, I’m getting a little nervous about going through confinement again and not being able to go out for 44 days! Despite not needing to buy anything, I’ve been going out every single day just to eat out with Dean and “see the world”. Kinda like getting it out of my system before the dreaded hibernation starts. So so nervous about how I’ll handle “prison time”, guys. No going out, no iced drinks… ohhhh, I’m going to be one grumpy soul!

The last time, I was so bored that I watched the clock for Dean’s coming home time. And I would cry a little when he’s late. Hormone level at its peak there, guys. Psycho wife alert.

I really hope I’ll take confinement better this time round. In addition to the new angel I can’t wait to meet in a few days, I’ll also have Daniel around to entertain Mommy 24-7!

Any suggestions on what else to do during confinement?

What did you do during yours?

growing up

aiyaiyai….

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First of all, please let me clarify that I don’t hate this person writing it.

I’m quite grateful that I was never the type to get upset over negative comments, even from the start of my blogging days. Cos honest to God, I always take the good from it to improve myself. And the bad and plain nasty bits, I just disregard quite easily because I know it’s not about me anymore. It’s probably because the “hater” has areas in her own life she is unhappy about so seeing others happy might be hard to see. If this ever happens to you, I’m telling you… don’t let it get to you. Because it’s about the person’s character and it’s her own battle already, not yours. I mean, look at this comment; using zikir and giving Islamic advice, in the same paragraph she uses the the F word. Any sane person would realise the anger and bitterness in this piece of advice, that instead of being annoyed at her, I actually made doa that God softens her heart to throw away hatred towards others. I mean, she writes all that and will probably continue to be angry for the rest of the night throwing imaginary darts to my pictures. While I read this comment, show my husband, shake our heads and then go to the kitchen to make dinner together as our lives still have to go on.

I wouldn’t usually blog about this but just a few days ago, this kind of hatred also happened to one of my friends. And I’m hearing so much of this women hating other women issue that I felt the need to voice out how I feel about it. I know a lot of young women read Proudduck and I just want to give you a piece of advice.

Try to be sincerely happy for others.

And not the “Oh I’m so happy for you” but inside you’re thinking “Why you and not me?” kind of fake happy. These girls are worse than the ones who tell you straight up that they hate you. Because the hypocrisy and silent hatred towards you whilst being your friend, you will never know.

Wish for people’s happiness and goodness, because when you do that, God will give you the same, if not more. If not in this life, God will reward you in the afterlife. Toots and Asma’ always tell me that if you make good doa for others, the angels will make the same doa for you. Just have faith. I know that emotion is a very difficult thing to control, but everytime you see someone getting married or getting a new house or getting an award or anything at all that you want for yourself… breathe and remind yourself that Rezeki has already been written and everyone’s lives’ ups and downs are different. Everyone has goodness and badness in their lives, it’s just whether they choose to tell you or not. So don’t let social media control your life. Enjoy social media, but don’t take it too seriously! Just chilllllll…

Remember that life is not a competition between you and that girl or anything. We all want to go to one place in the end, and all of us can go there together! There’s room for everyone there so stop the hating and let’s wish only good things for one another. The more we love each other for the sake of Allah swt, the more at peace we become and best of all, Allah swt acknowledges it! And that’s all that matters in the end.

Of course, some of you will say “Ala cakap nama Allah swt tapi pakai seluar ketat jugak.”

These kind of people will always strive to find a bad in others. They’re the kind of people who will always be bitter about your success or happiness, no matter what you do. You breathe also, they want to slap you. Hehe. The kind of people who will see you get something and find 10 reasons why you never deserved it. –> Please don’t be one of these people because (a) you get free dosa (b) that person freely gets your pahala and (c) you will never be happy or peaceful, and unfortunately it has no impact on that person’s life.

If you really feel that way, what you should do instead is to make doa for that person. That way, (a) you get pahala (b) the person might get hidayah to improve, from your sincere doa and (c) the world becomes a place of love and not hate.

Think about it.

Why do women love to hate other women?

It’s honestly a waste of time and it would be so much better to purify our hearts to be happy for each other instead. If you hate on someone because they’re rich, there are thousands of people richer than them. If you hate on someone because they’re pretty, there are thousands of people prettier than them. Are you supposed to hate all those people too? Won’t that be too tiring?

And for anyone else in my position receiving the negativity, always always be patient, keep your cool and forgive with a sincere heart. But never think you’re always right so open your heart to listen and improve yourself. God will reward you abundantly, Insyaallah. And that’s a million times more awesome than anything you can get in this world.

blogging growing up working girl

a meaningful picture

I was scrolling through old photos and found this one meaningful picture.

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This was taken by Dean exactly a year ago when we were driving by a gorgeous glass building available for rent. We were both thinking the same thing; what a dream it would be to have the FashionValet office here.

A year later, we were moving boxes into this new space we now call home. This very space I was standing in this picture… is now ours.

We just moved recently and are still trying to slowly do up the place. It’s definitely improved staff morale and some even feel like they’re working in New York with the beautiful buildings and views around us. Makes them want to stay in the office longer. Haha.

It’s so so surreal and I am so grateful to God of course for blessing us, but also to Dean as the CEO always strategising to improve to bring FV and all of us to greater heights in the business world. In 2014, our revenue tripled under his leadership and I can only see it improving year to year, Insyaallah. Of course we had a lot of tough times, internally trying to grow almost 50 different characters under one roof and externally too, with plans falling through and also having to cut ties with certain vendors we found too difficult to work with. In business, real characters will come out and sometimes you will never see it coming. Oh, the disappointments Dean and I have had together, I wish I could tell you all of em! We’ve learnt so much in 2014. These may seem like really down times at the time, but looking back, it just made everything easier and smoother in the long run. So that’s a lesson for Dean and I to always focus on the bigger picture and our company direction, and never whine and complain. When you mix business with emotion too much, it clouds your judgment and you can never see objectively.

Keep working, be alert at all times and trust in God.

2015 is going to be an exciting year for sure. We made major changes in our outfit in order to evolve, and we are about to announce very big news sometime this month. I’m dyinggggg to spill the beans but I can’t yet until everything has been completed.

Anyway, I feel the need to share my happiness with you guys because it’s from this very blog that I got the confidence to start FV. I know it’s because of my followers, my customers and your support all these years that I’m able to grow. So, thank you and I hope you will continue to be here for me and keep me in your prayers always. God bless you!