OOH! I want that baju kurung
With intricate beading and elaborate embroidery, OOH!’s baju kurung costs only a fraction of what you get from designer labels or high-end department stores. Unique patterns, fine detailing, high-quality fabric... you get all these with OOH!’s selection.
I had a chance to find out more about OOH at a meeting with the girls behind label: Dawn Jeremiah, Wan Puspa Melati Wan Halim and Joanne Ho-Lee.
“I’ve known Melati when we were in university in 2003 and we got to know Joanne through a mutual friend in 2006. Both of us met in San Francisco and we were from the same hometown, Penang.
“We have been friends ever since we came back from the States. We’ve always loved fashion and have worn baju kurung since school. I also like to wear baju kurung to work or special occasions. The real interest began when Melati brought me to buy baju kurung,” said Dawn Jeremiah, who is in charge of the marketing side of OOH!
All three girls have travelled around the globe for work and studies, and have seen different types of traditional wear, fashionable national costumes and contemporary designs. Their taste is eclectic, as shown by what they were wearing at the interview; Dawn in a pop colour baju kurung, Melati in one that was more feminine and floral and Joanne in a classic yet stylish baju kurung.
With fine detailing of beads around the neck, wrists and hemlines, OOH! is about style that goes beyond skin colour, size, age and body shape. Using the Pahang-styled baju kurung which is more flattering to the feminine silhouette, the team behind OOH! are already getting positive response from Malaysia and abroad.
Their site just went “live” on July 7, 2012, and the girls are preparing for the Raya shopping rush despite juggling full-time jobs.
Each founder shared how their love for baju kurung started; Dawn has been wearing it since school and Melati of course grew up wearing baju kurung, be it for Raya or special occasions.
“For me it’s natural because I’m a Malay. I’ve always liked it. However, I found plain baju kurung boring and I’ve always preferred those with intricate beading and embroidery. I admire the unique ones in the shops but the prices were always exorbitant!
“I’m not going to pay RM500-RM800 for abaju kurung with beading and embroidery! I’m pretty sure Malaysians would love to wear this but not everybody can afford it. That’s when I got interested in the site because it could be made affordable and fashionable,” said Melati.
“We don’t want to do something typical or something you can find around here. This is very us,” added Dawn.
For Joanne, who spent some time in China, the cheongsam was more familiar to her. As she began to discover baju kurung and the versatility of the national costume, she started to enjoy wearing it as well.
“This expanded my viewpoint. It definitely opened my eyes and made me appreciate the baju kurung more,” said Joanne, who has a background in IT and design.
The dynamics of the team works for OOH!, with Dawn handling marketing, Melati the products and Joanne in charge of the IT division.
“Some people asked why are we working together. They said friends shouldn’t work with one another because there might be friction in the friendship when things don’t go well,” Melati said. However, the girls spend time hanging out together even after a stressful day at work so it’s all good.
OOH! has two lines, OOH! Kurung and OOH! Kain where customers can buy ready-made baju kurung or cloth to custom make their own baju kurung or baju kebaya.
There are plans to add more Malaysian-centric costumes, perhaps baju kebaya and the myriad of traditional wear from different parts of the country.
As online shoppers themselves, Dawn, Melati and Joanne hope to give the best customer experience and they had a tea party in March to test the market. Even Melati’s aunts have purchased OOH!’s baju kurung!
“There was a baju kurung design that I really wanted but there was only one-piece. Our baju kurung comes in limited quantities so you won’t find someone else wearing the same thing on the street. I wish I could have kept that particular baju kurung for myself but reality set in,” said Dawn.
“We cater to women of all ages and sizes, which ranges from XS up to XL. A major plus point that sets us apart from all the other online stores selling baju kurung is that our designs are only available in very limited quantities. For instance, if you like a particular baju kurung from OOH!, that exact design might only have three pieces in each size, at best. This ensures that our customers have a much lesser chance of stumbling onto someone else with the same outfit around town!” said Joanne.
Priced between RM159 to RM219 for OOH! Kurung and RM249 for OOH! Kain, you can check out the items at their site at www.ooh.com.my.
Payment methods include PayPal, Maybank2u, CIMBClicks, MEPS, Visa and Mastercard.
Visitors who sign up for OOH!’s online newsletter will receive a RM10 voucher on their first order this Ramadan and Hari Raya. From now till August 31, 2012, shoppers can enjoy free shipping nationwide and all purchases have a 30-day returns policy for store credit.
Do check out their Facebook site on www.facebook.com/OOH.com.my and follow their Twitter and Instagram account @OOHcommy