Juggling business and motherhood

Aqilah Rahman

There’s something special about making something with your own hands instead of buying it, especially if you’re making it for your first newborn.

In addition to being a mother of three, 28-year-old Effa HT is the founder of Ardani Crafts. She focusses on amigurumi – the Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed toys – but she also makes household items.

Effa discovered her passion for crocheting in 2015 when she gave birth to her first child. She wanted to make something special for her daughter, and after giving it some thought, Effa set her mind on crocheting a pair of baby booties to keep her daughter warm.

At the time, she had no prior experience in crocheting.

After teaching herself by watching YouTube tutorials and reading books, she completed her first crochet project.

As her daughter grew, so did Effa’s handmade crochet collection. “She started to walk and play so I started making dresses, blankets and toys. Everything I did was for her,” Effa said.

Amigurumi dolls made by Effa. PHOTO: ARDANI CRAFTS

Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed; she received compliments from her sister and friend and was asked if she could make different patterns.

Encouraged by the positive feedback, Effa started experimenting with different patterns through, taking note of what worked and what didn’t. Back then, the thought of selling her handicrafts didn’t cross her mind, because she treated it as a hobby.

After she was done, she posted her works on her personal Instagram page. To her surprise, she received comments asking for the price. The plushies quickly found new owners but the comments didn’t stop there.

With more requests coming in, Effa’s sister suggested making a separate Instagram account just for amigurumi. She initially named her account Mini Crafts but she later changed it to Ardani Crafts, inspired by her daughter’s name.

Effa started making stuffed toys barely the size of a palm, and steadily progressed to bigger items such as bags, pillows, carpets, stool covers and baby cribs.

One of her largest projects to date was a blanket – not for a baby, but for an adult.

Alhamdulillah, I completed the order. It took me about one month and a half, and I was eight months pregnant with my third child,” she said.

“I have my ups and downs but I still cannot stop because it’s a hobby. I love what I do, plus it makes the children happy. Their smiles are my strength.”

On supplies, Effa makes sure to use high quality yarn. She had trouble finding the right materials at local stores, so she ordered from overseas after researching dozens of suppliers.

The price is high but she said it’s worth it, prioritising the quality of her works over profit.

As a crafter who focusses on custom orders, Effa spends a great deal of time on each item. One of the challenges she faces is order cancellation. “It happens in every business but order cancellations are worse for us crafters, especially at the last minute after the item has been made. But Alhamdulillah, it can still be sold to someone else,” she said.

It gets harder to crochet now that she has three kids running around the house, but Effa is determined to complete her orders on time. She tends to work when her kids are asleep, and she usually stays up until morning depending on the complexity and urgency of the order.

She’s had instances where she went for 24 hours without sleep to complete urgent orders.

“I have to thank my husband for being supportive.

“He’s busy with his work and I work part-time but we divide the house chores equally between us,” she said, while also extending her gratitude to her parents and family for their support.