Strength is most evident when there is adversity. This adage rings true especially during a crisis. We speak to mumtrepreneur Anseina, founder of Ans.ein, who shares her thoughts on how COVID-19 has impacted her business and how it has reached out to others in need using the competencies it has honed.
Ans.ein’s wearable art has worn attention from many mums here and mums who love to twin with their kids have plenty of options. We find out more about the brand, its latest product offerings and how it has reached out to the frontliners.
Little Day Out Interview with Anseina
Tell us about yourself, your family and your brand Ans.ein.
I am a mother of two daughters (3 years old and a newborn). I had a career in architecture where I met my husband (who is also an architect) and we have been married since 2013.
Since I was a little girl, I have always been in love with designing dresses. I started designing wedding dresses and had my own bridal label while I was still working as an architect until I (Ans) co-founded Ans.Ein with my partner, Erlyn (Ein), in February 2017.
We have different backgrounds, but we complement each other’s strengths. While my background is architecture and wedding dress design, Erlyn has been in retail business, event, media, and clothing manufacturing.
Ans.Ein is unique because of these four things:
1) All our patterns are based on art and come from the inspirational brushes of passionate artists.
2) We design models that suit many people in any kind of body shape and can be worn multiway – our signature style.
3) Being mumtrepreneurs, we value family and our roles as mothers, so we make most of our clothes available for twinning, with the kids and even with the whole family.
4) We design and manufacture our products ourselves, which allows us to fulfill customisation requirements when needed by our customers.
What inspired you to start Ans.ein?
It all started when I saw beautiful paintings made by a friend and tried to make dresses from her paintings.
It just so happened that Erlyn came to my house when I hung the dresses and saw them, instantly we thought “Let’s do this together! Let’s make more of them, so more people can enjoy wearable art. Let’s have more people create art so we can make clothes from their art.”
And so we started Ans.Ein.
How has the current crisis impacted your business?
At the beginning of the crisis, our sales plummeted. The crisis also made us postpone the launch of new designs and caused many of our events to be cancelled. However, this crisis has forced us to open our eyes and ears wider, so we try to see what the society needs and what we can give with what we have.
As a designer and manufacturer, we are doing our part to support the society in the new normal. This pandemic has taught us that fashion and clothing are not only about looking good, but the chief purpose is to protect. We are honoured to do our part in providing that protection, by making medical coveralls and reusable masks.
Ans.ein has also been sewing PPE for the medical workers in Indonesia. How is that going?
Our COVID-19 initiative started in March when we heard news that health workers in Indonesia were lacking protective gears; some of them wore raincoats to protect themselves.
Both of us are Indonesians (my parents are in Jakarta, while Erlyn lives in Jakarta). We realised how blessed we were to be safe at that time, that we were able to stay home with our families all the time. It broke our hearts to see how the front-liners risked their lives in doing their job to protect other people.
So we kept asking ourselves: was there something that we could do, with the resources that we had?
We shifted our production capacity to make hazmat suits for them. We did our research, consulted with doctors, looked for waterproof materials and tested them to give as much protection as needed.
We are very thankful that we have the full support of our customers and friends from Singapore and Indonesia, who donated to this cause so that we are able to give back to the health workers in fighting COVID-19.
The situation in Indonesia seems grave. How is Ans.ein coping with this given that operations are in Indonesia?
Since we have our own production team, we can enforce a strict protocol in order to protect our workers and the products that we make. Fortunately, all of our workers live in our dormitory, so it is easier to adjust.
We love the comfortable masks that you sell. What are the things to look out for when buying a reusable mask?
Our two main focuses are protection and comfort.
Protection: the outer layer is from cotton that has dense fabric to block particles from outside.
The middle layer is from waterproof material (which we use for makeshift medical gears in Indonesia), it works as a filter to block droplets from coming in/out.
This is practical, since you do not have to insert and change the filter all the time.
The waterproof material is also very thin, so it gives you comfort.
Although it is 3-ply, it is also thin enough to help you breathe easily. The inner layer is from softer cotton that is comfortable for the skin.
What words of wisdom would you have for fellow entrepreneurs out there?
In a situation like this, it is okay if we cannot be as productive as before, we just need to survive. But at the same time, always keep our eyes and minds open to find if there is something we can do to help others even with the little things that we have.
Ans.Ein Overcoming Challenges to Help Others In Need
Ans.ein has pivoted to meet the needs of frontliners, as well as sewing masks and protective hats for little ones. Despite the adversity, Anseina has much to share not just in protective clothing but her heart for her people and customers. Thank you Anseina.
For more on her collection, you can visit this site.