Local handicrafts for premium gifts

The Care United Malaysia, Fashion and Handicraft Gallery carries a line of indigenous art created sustainably in fashion and useful accessories, are handcrafted by tribal women from indigenous tribes in Sarawak.

A section of the featured items in the
Hari Raya Collection

These tribal women are among the indigenous tribes of Malaysia who called the rainforest their home.

They used to rely heavily on the rainforest to supply food and shelter, and while some remain semi-nomadic, many have transitioned into modern life and now live in resettled communities.

Among the skills handed down through generations is weaving with natural fibers harvested from the forests.

This unique skill is now applied to weaving with rattan and recycled materials like compressed paper and polyester straps that can be cleaned and reused sustainably.

Facade of the Care United Fashion and
Handicraft Gallery in Taman Molek, JB

Beautiful handcrafts made by tribal women are now available here for connoisseurs of indigenous art to use and present as premium gifts to friends and guests.

Brought to Johor by Care United, a passion-driven social enterprise, you can partner with them through buying these useful handicrafts because 40% of the profits will be contributed to their Food Aid Projects.

Established in August 2005, Care United is a club made up of a group of people from all walks of life with caring hearts that aim to help the needy survive.

They pledge to focus on the under privileged and assist in charitable undertakings while setting an example in building a more united and socially aware society.

Over the years, I had the privilege to attend and cover numerous events they organized to help the under privileged in our community, published in Streets Johor, a pull-out section of The New Straits Times that ceased publication in 2015.

Tote bags created with
the Sakura weave

Among these social, welfare and fun events were celebrating Merdeka Day with children, Back-to-School Programmes, Golden Years celebrations with the elderly and donations to families affected by seasonal floods.

One of the distinguishing features of the projects by Care United is the principle that their beneficiaries are the needy, regardless of race or religion, and all donations go to them instead of the club’s administrative costs.

Care United is also a charitable organization with tax-exemption status where donations of RM50 and above are entitled to tax exemption.

Based on these noble principles, Care United has fostered unity and friendships among Malaysians, and successfully organized fund-raising events to undertake the club’s annual charity programmes for the under privileged in the community.

After 16 years here, it is timely for Care United to showcase some of the unique and useful handicrafts made by tribal women in a fashion and handicraft gallery opened in Taman Molek.

Wall-to-wall display of attractive bags;
[Far Left] tote bags created with
the intricate grande starweave

Since I was in the neighbourhood for another appointment, I decided to drop by at the gallery for a visit.

In line with the coming festive season, the gallery featured a range of products to celebrate Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, suitable for use by house-proud hosts as well as premium gifts that are a pride to present to others and a joy to receive.

Branded a simple, MY to represent Malaysia to the world, it also means something personal for every individual to proudly claim the unique product as “my bag” or “my mug” or “my-something...”

I must confess that I could not help being distracted by the wall-to-wall display of eye-catching tote and carrier bags.

This bag was woven with compressed paper!

Later, when I met with founder and creative director of Care United Malaysia, Datuk Florence Goh, who pointed out that each bag was identified by a given name.

With her help, I began to notice why each type of bag were so named natural weave, tote baguette, tote crescent, classic mega, tote crisscross, tote Sakura weave, and tote grande starweave.

The natural weave products are original woven products by the indigenous tribes in East Malaysia while the Sakura weave was inspired by the Sakura flower.

Teacup with saucer sets
designed with Malaysian motif
and in Batik motif [Top]

As its name describes, the classic mega is a big bag while the tote baguette and tote crescent resembled the shape of a baguette and a crescent.

As I admired the designs, I began to understand that the grande starweave was a skillful and stylish weave that created and irregular but more interesting pattern.

The Hari Raya Collection features a charming MY Festive Teacups Set made up of four ceramic teacups with matching saucers presented within one MY bag basket.

The collection also features tea sets namely, the Vintage Tea Set with one Teapot with six ceramic mugs within one woven basket, decorated in matching decoupage designs.

Meanwhile the Palazzo Tea Set is made up of one Teapot and six ceramic teacups with matching saucers within one woven basket, decorated in matching decoupage designs.

Trendy footwear designed in 
matching pattern as handbag

With tiffin carriers making a comeback as sustainable takeaway food carriers, the Hari Raya Collection offers an attractive range of MY Superior Tiffins and MY Premium Tiffins, stainless steel carriers in three sizes that are beautifully decorated by vinyl stickers that are heat resistant.

The Vintage Casserole Set – suitable for presenting festive food like rendang – is made up of two casserole dishes within a small classic woven tote bag, all decorated in matching decoupage designs.

Staying close to tradition, the Hari Raya Collection also has a range of tudung saji or traditional food covers woven from rattan.

They come in a choice three sizes and two styles: cone and dome shapes.

Carrier bags for yoga
enthusiasts comes with a mat!
These are handmade with care so the sizes may vary slightly due to the nature of the handicraft.

To create a more cosy and festive ambience this Raya, light up the Hari Raya Collection of MY scented candles in the Travel Series, sold in sets of two candles, and the Wellness Series, sold in sets of three candles.

Besides looking at the featured products for the festive season, I took time to browse around the gallery to see the Normal collection, now on special promotion with good discounts on the listed prices.

There are even carrier bags made with yoga enthusiasts in mind. Best of all, the bag comes with a rolled-up yoga mat in a matching colour.

There are also fashionable clutch bags, specially designed with a ring that can be worn as a bangle when you wish to free your hands from holding the bag.

A range of clutch bags design with a ring/bangle

Sturdy yet stylish carrier bags with strong handle straps are suitable for use as document carriers as they comfortably fit files and documents.

But don’t just take my word for it.

For a better experience of indigenous art designed in useful products, drop by at the gallery for a closer look and feel of each item. Trust me. You will be spoilt for choice.

Cool footwear in designs for men and women

Discover more products on social media: Instagram @mybag.cu and @FloArt.my and on Facebook MYBag.cu and FloArt.my

Visit online shop at https://mybag.kyte.site Prices listed for the Hari Raya Collection are after 20% discount. Receive an additional 10% discount on your receipt when you buy from the Normal collection and Hari Raya collection.

The Fashion and Handicraft Gallery by Care United Malaysia is located at No. 42 Jalan Molek 2/3, Taman Molek, 81100 Johor Baru, Johor. For enquiries, WhatsApp Tel: +6016 – 791 0546.

Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Closed Sunday and Public Holidays.

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