Photo Credit: Cleo.com
Frankitas, a modern Malaysian ethical fashion brand, combines modern style and vibrant colors with traditional, environmentally sustainable techniques to make fashion accessories such as bags, clutches, and jewelry. Using traditional textiles, she refrains from employing modern textile-making techniques such as heavy machinery and chemicals which cause significant environmental damage.
After quitting her reporter job to start a family, Francisca Turner soon desired to begin working again as her children grew up. With knowledge she gained from co-founding Francisca & D, a custom tailored clothing company, she established Frankitas. Since the start of the business, she has focused on keeping with tradition, using naturally sourced materials and methods that have been in place for centuries. Francisca has noted that “there is this dying heritage which needs to be preserved. The world today believes in volume and mass production, which leads to wastage and consumerism.”
Although Francisca is responsible for placing orders for textiles, she says the artisans are the real stars of the show. While she occasionally suggests certain colors to her producers, the artisans are the ones who have the final say regarding color and design. Many of her products are outsourced from locations where the product is more authentic, such as her ikat which comes from Uzbekistan and her handbag and accessory designs which come from her home country of Indonesia.
Frankitas’s website operates as an e-commerce marketplace, similar to visiting retailer websites such as Macy’s or Target. After sourcing fabrics from traditional, sustainable sources, local artisans in Malaysia and Indonesia craft bags, purses, and other accessories. These items are then listed for sale on the Frankitas website. The website is also mobile friendly, an important aspect to stay relevant in the current market. To allow the easiest access to products from a global standpoint, consumers pay via PayPal and worldwide shipping is offered. One advantage of e-commerce is that the artisans Francisca works with can show their work to a much larger consumer base.
Since it’s conception in 2014, Frankitas has quickly expanded, shipping to include over 10 countries, including Singapore, the USA, Australia, and Italy. Frankitas actively uses Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest mainly as platforms to showcase new products, designs and colorways. In addition to advertising their products, they actively respond to customer questions regarding shipping or pricing on social media. When asked to give advice to prospective entrepreneurs, she said “my one big piece of advice or knowledge I would like to impart is that social media is an amazing platform. It’s the easiest and least expensive way to to showcase your brand to the world!”