1. What does DH Artful Décor do exactly?
A: DH mainly focuses on beautifying events. We create and curate bespoke decorations for all your whims and fancies. We handcraft most of our decorations making it unique and one-of-a-kind for all of our clients. As there are many decor agencies to compete with, we needed a unique selling point to stand out – and this is where we come in. That is where I come in. I’m literally exploiting Dora’s talents and creative hunger. (winks* at Dora)
D: She has the creative instinct – she’s able to create and build beautiful things with just paper, paint and paste. Just imagine what she’s able to produce with other materials at hand. So with her talents, I’ve managed to position our brand as the pioneer in KL by providing ‘Handcrafted Artisan Décor’. There will be pre-designed seasonal packages for events and soirees for those who would like to add some aesthetics to their social events.
There is also the bespoke option, which will cater to those with a concept in mind and would like to beautify it – or add on some artistry / life to their concept. We will conceptualize and create an ID of its own without having to share it with anyone else. Event companies, venue owners can engage us as a décor partner or to make it easy, they can hire us for event services as well.
2. What kind of events would be suitable for the likes of DH?
A: It does not matter; it can be for all kinds of events. For weddings, birthday parties, soirees, corporate events or even photo shoots.
D: I would prefer to do events which allow us the creative freedom to express ourselves fully.
A: We’ve experienced a variety of clients, some are fairly easy to work with, some a little harder. There are some who already has a solid plan and idea of what they want already, which would work best with most décor agencies as they are able to put two-and-two together. But for us, we’d appreciate it more if the clients are more open to allowing us to create an identity for them.
D: I dream of a time where we would be able to help friends, brands, fully express their campaigns and needs through art.
3. What does a typical day look like for DHAD?
D: There are 2 departments – creative and marketing. I head the creative & production side while Aainaa heads marketing & operations. We are fortunate to already have a few briefs – and it’s looking toward heading to bigger briefs. Daily, I focus on developing new concepts and exploring new ideas. We explore on developing prototypes and there’s a lot of trial and error involved. Most times, designs don’t turn out quite right. My department also deals with the headache of sourcing for materials. There is a lot of driving around, hunting and meeting suppliers.
A: For me, I’ve been strategically planning and strategizing the brand’s direction. The types of clients to approach, the packages to provide, and the rates to ensure profits are being made. As we are currently undergoing re-branding / re-vamping, a lot of internal work is being constructed at the moment. Lots and lots of paperwork!
4. What sets you apart from a regular event decorator?
A: Aha, we actually work like a regular event decorator. We all have our own assets, we mix and match, and we create and curate what we already have for individual clients. However, what sets us apart from a regular event decorator is that most of our decorations are being handcrafted in-house. We may use manufactured / ready-made items, the same as every other. But most of our décor is produced with our blood, sweat and tears.
5. Do you girls have any favourite Celebrity Decorator?
D: Well, when I started, Martha Stewart was a reference, especially the business side. She’s also a really good crafter and a reference for running a business. Artistically, I follow a few international designers I admire, D’Art Design Gruppe – Exhibition designer Kara Paslay – set decorator. (She did an amazing job for Anthropologie!)
6. Can you share with us, some of your past work?
D: With DH, we’ve worked with Harper’s Bazaar for their annual Fashion Party celebrating their supersized issue, Andrews Models and private VIP clients. I’ve collaborated with Isetan KLCC, IRDA (Iskandar Regional Dev. Authority), ETIQA, Bombardier, MIFA, NAZA Italia & Cervello Tres.
A: Recently with DH, we’ve worked with Andrews Models for their IP annual event ‘Gaya Koleksi Raya 2016’ which was held at Publika, and the prelaunch for KLFW in Avenue K. Fashion Valet is also one of our clients now as we did their window display for their store in Bangsar Village 2.
I’ve managed mostly fashion and lifestyle events, being attached to Andrews Models provided me with the opportunity to experience how high-end brands work. I’ve worked with Cartier, Thomas Sabo, Swarovski, MIFA (where we first experienced working together), IFF (Islamic Fashion Festival), and much more.
7. What materials do you work with?
D: Paper, high-quality paper.
A: Hahaha, you don’t believe us do you? You aren’t the only one. For example, when we did GKR, some of the guests actually didn’t believe it was paper until they touched and felt it.
D: I do however would love the opportunity to explore using other materials.
8. Moving forward, what are your long-term plans for DH Artful Decor?
A: It is to bring artistry back into lifestyle events. In my experience, most events I’ve been to lacks life and aesthetics. It’s fun and entertaining no doubt, but the décor of most is more or less the same. I realized that people appreciate that extra oomph that makes them go ‘Wow’ and we can provide that to our clients.
I think in our industry right now, everyone is money driven and only a few who would actually like to create art & culture. Who could blame them though seeing as our current economy limits our creative exploration. We want to be able to bring Malaysia to another level by harnessing all kinds of creative talents. Not just in the areas of batik painting or songket making.
And hopefully, one day we’d like to be able to create an identity event of our own, incorporating both traditional and modern art. Stay tuned because we have big plans!
9. What do you do in your free time?
D: Free time? I clean! I also have a chatty son to attend to (free time or not!), talk over coffee with my husband, spending time with my mother, catching up with my close friends & I have so many cats too! So as you can see my free time is mainly sharing the love!
But ever since we started this, it’s been non-stop working. Even our conversations revolve around work.
A: Yeah, we work every day. However, if I do come across some free time, I would indulge in watching series and playing volleyball (check out Sports Bandits ;)) It’s the only form of exercise I get these days. Haha.
10. Last question, what would you advise young artists out there who are looking to take the path less travelled?
A: My advice is to never give up and to look for someone who compliments your weakness and strengths. Like us, I compliment her weaknesses as she is more creatively driven and I am more “business savvy” hehe.
D: Stay humble, focus, be patient, its okay to fall but get up fast & keep believing in yourself… and your dreams.
A: I’ve always thought that doing something creative like this is not sustainable as the lifestyle in KL is so expensive, but times are changing and people appreciate these little things. And technology has made it easier for us to use our passion as a tool. So, take advantage of it and don’t give up!