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Workshop Hosting is a Creative Process

Interview with Munirah Rimer

Creatives, 

Meet batik artist and mompreneur, Munirah Rimer. She is from Malaysia. She has traveled throughout the world including Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Uganda to expand her knowledge of batik designs, tools, and techniques. She now lives near Miami, Florida, and teaches an online batik hoop painting workshop via Zoom from her home studio. She has also taught a very successful Airbnb Experience to hundreds of travelers who visited her home studio. Her workshops represent a tribute and a commitment to the authentic culture of her birthplace in Malaysia.

Tell us about your workshop business, how did you get started? Were you already a batik artist? What inspired you?

Prior to the pandemic, I taught batik painting workshops in art studios throughout South Florida. In the last three years, I partnered with Airbnb Experiences. I taught three different batik workshops that were typically two to three hours in length. Batik was always an important part of my life as a Malaysian. I was inspired to become a batik teacher as I saw an interest in textile art and Southeast Asian culture emerging. I started with one workshop that was a fundraiser for a local charity and it grew from there!

What do you love about batik as a medium?

There are so many parts of batik that I really adore. I love working and connecting with the hot wax and the tools because it is a skill you can immerse yourself. I love the tools, the material, the look, the different styles and how culture influences the type of batik out there.

Batik has been around for so long –  I think that is what makes batik interesting. Seeing how batik is made in different cultures is what fuels my desire to teach because not everybody has the ability to go out there and seek this knowledge. It’s an exotic side of the textile art world.

Batik is a forgiving medium in the sense that you can use the wax and the color to edit the design as you go. I love that there’s more than one way to remove the wax. There are different types of dye you can use such as natural dye or color fast dye. It’s a very versatile medium. Batik has evolved into a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly medium. I think that’s where the future growth is. It’s really an amazing medium.

For those of us who are just starting out, can you share a little about your Marketing strategy?

For me, understanding the demographic is key to a successful strategy. I definitely noticed specific types of people that were most interested in my batik workshops. These are curious people who have some disposable income and (before the pandemic) were able to travel and love to experience culture. Taking this knowledge, I have been able to create a target audience on Facebook and Instagram that works very effectively for me. My customers are on Facebook and Instagram but not necessarily TikTok. Acknowledging this allows me to manage my marketing budgets more effectively.

I use video in my Facebook ads and this seems to be more effective as well. It helps me tell a more compelling story quickly. They understand the product and experience. I also pay attention to the sales funnel – the entire process from Facebook click to completing their purchase on my website.

You have a website with beautiful photos, how does your website contribute to your business?

Thank you for the compliment. It’s important for an artist’s website to reflect their mission and passion as much as possible. However, making the website simple has also been an important element. The potential student should know what to do quickly – make everything easy to find. I use WordPress and WooCommerce and a few other plugins to make my website operate smoothly. I moved from PayPal to Stripe for my credit card processing.

I work with a WordPress expert (who happens to be my boyfriend). I delegate a lot of the website management to him and I focus more on workshop development, the creative process and the social media content which definitely takes time but is so important.

What advice would you give to other artists and entrepreneurs? Is there any one thing that stands out?

Put your work out there. Be consistent on social media – I post almost everyday – sometimes more than once a day on Facebook and Instagram. Be authentic. Understand who your customer is and learn how to reach out to those people specifically. After allowing them to become part of your journey, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.

You can start by giving free lessons or tips about your creative process. The gift of sharing often comes back to you in the form of more business down the line. This will also allow you to become familiar with Zoom or whatever platform you plan on using. I have so much fun doing these free demos – I continue to do them. Understand your students’ needs. For example, I had to move from a three hour format to a ninety minute format.

From a business perspective, analyze and reevaluate everything occasionally. Where and how do you source your products? How can you reduce shipping costs? Can you simplify the product? Are your instructions accurate? Can you lower the weight of my package without giving up anything important? Are you fulfilling the orders quickly? Workflow is important. Stay organized. I know that’s hard for us artists sometimes, but it’s truly important. 

Munirah thank you for sharing a wealth of knowledge in this interview. I hope this interview has gotten the wheels turning of what is possible when it comes to growing a lifestyle business through your teaching or you art-form. 

Reach out to me at hilarylhahn@gmail.com, if you are ready to jumpstart your business now! 

Be sure to follow Teratai Malaysia on Instagram and visit our Facebook group to gain access to our LIVE interview, which has even more nuggets of wisdom. 

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