Nobody expected to kick off 2020 with a global pandemic. The world was forced to change gears and many industries had to start thinking on their feet. The cry for supporting local businesses has also become more pronounced as establishments struggle to stay afloat. But thanks to movements like #supportlocal and #kitajagakita, coupled with changing consumer habits and the extra screen time, Malaysians have discovered more local businesses to shop from.
Online shopping and delivery services have become highly recommended options, even by those who were once intimidated. These days, traditional business owners are digitising their ventures while the older generation are sharing, if not adcovating, online services to one another. Apart from updates on the Movement Control Order (MCO), group chats are now filled with contact numbers for groceries directly from farmers, links to nifty hand-made products and food delivery menus from local restaurants.
We're now at the mid-year mark and Malaysia has finally entered its recovery phase. But as we slowly ease back to our pre-MCO routines, let us not forget the affected local businesses that sustained us. For example, PichaEats and Table & Apron assisted and supported frontliners and vulnerable communities by raising funds and distributing food during the imperative weeks of controlling the outbreak while ensuring their customers' orders were met.
The sentiment of remembering these companies is the core of A Piece of Malaysia’s (Apom) campaign, which developed a platform to share stories of homegrown brands and local artists so consumers can get to know them better.
“There are currently over 30 brands being featured and more in the pipeline as they write their stories and shoot their videos and photos”, said Kelvin Long, who founded Apom with his wife, Chantelle Teoh.
Some of the brands and artists featured include social enterprise Langit, which promotes agricultural produce by smallholder farmers in East Malaysia; snack company Kintry, which makes healthy snacks from scratch with natural ingredients; #KadsForKawans, an initiative by illustrator Choy Yuin Quan that raises awareness and funds for victims of domestic abuse by selling postcards; and Salang Design, which creates Malaysian-inspired embroidered iron-on patches.
Apom's ground stores carry the products of many local brands, but there wasn't a platform that recounted the inception of the businesses. “Many a times when we see a product or visit an establishment, we know the name of the shop or the name of the brand, but we rarely get to hear the heart, soul and the meaning behind what these founders go through and how and why they started their businesses”, shared Long.
“In this digital age the shout to support local is vastly different from our ‘Beli Barangan Buatan Malaysia’ days. People consume and think differently now, especially the new generation. It's our hope that by sharing the stories behind the local brands via an interesting and refreshing platform, the new generation will feel more connected, thus reigniting a sense of patriotism.”
The #JomSupportLocalLah campaign, launched last Merdeka, was simply to rally Malaysians to support local industries. This year’s version has a more focused intent. “We hope to help break the consumer habit, and get them to consciously buy local, travel local and consume local because we believe putting our money back into the local economy is the best and fastest way to boost it especially after the Covid-19 crisis,” Long explained.
A video was produced to reintroduce the #JomSupportLocalLah campaign, where the founders of 10 brands including Penny Choo from Bloom This, Kim Lim form PichaEats, Ameera Fazla from Wok It and Marcus Low from Table & Apron, shared their struggles during the MCO. Watch the full video below:
Get to know more local brands at A Piece of Malaysia’s website.