with more and more brands going zero waste and adopting an earth-friendly approach to their products, there’s definitely more awareness on the issue. We’re finding more businesses in Malaysia jumping on the eco bandwagon, too. Unfortunately, the market for it in the country is still relatively small, as the amount of resources to run a business for ethical brands is quite limited, even if they chose to be more conscious.
Najmia Zulkarnain, 31 and Atiyya Zulkarnain, 28 are sisters and business partners wanting to change that. They launched Unplug, a conscious select store just earlier this year. It’s a platform that houses local and international brands that are conscious-driven, meaning the brands they curate give back environmentally or socially.
Being business owners themselves, they’ve been running Realm, an ethical lifestyle brand in Malaysia and are well aware of the struggles of having a conscious brand in Malaysia. With marketing budget limits, there wasn’t much to work with to spread the word. After collaborating with other brands and being in the business for a while, Mia and Atiyya realised that there needs to be more commercial platforms that are able to give the brands more exposure.
This is where the efforts of some can make a huge change in the way we carry out business and create tweaks that make the environment happier in the long run.
That’s how the inspiration for Unplug started. They decided to open the store on the first floor of Bangsar Village 2. What’s great about the open store concept is that people can see the products and test them out on the spot.
There are a number of qualities that Mia and Atiyya look for in choosing a brand to display in their store. They created metrics where a brand has to fall under at least two out of eight criteria
- The brand uses using environmental friendly materials
- The brand uses sustainable procurement and processes
- The brand uses environmental friendly packaging
- The brand involves zero-waste innovation
- The brand is making social impact
- The brand is supporting fair trade
- The brand is supporting local made things; and
- The brand is preserving traditional skills.
After discovering these brands up close, #TeamCLEO has curated our faves from the 13 brands Unplug currently has. Scroll through to learn more about them.
An ethical lifestyle brand started by the two sisters themselves, Mia and Atiyya envisioned the brand to re-introduce fabrics made from all-natural fibres. The brand has a collection of clothing and home living textiles to choose from. They also come in a range of colours like warm, earthy tones to cool blues.
The products are sourced in a sustainable way to showcase traditional handicraft textile, using natural and sustainable materials like bamboo, non-GMO cotton and vegetable dyes.
It’s a great resource for home living items and clothing where you’ll know the brand uses eco-friendly processes in making the products.