Meet Kina Hassan, founder of WASIS Studio. She crafts contemporary sculptural jewelry pieces and objects from brass and silver. She grew up in Kuala Terengganu and spent a few years in Istanbul and Bangkok - all of which lent to her experiences that inspired Kina’s designs. This article shares her story on how she kicked things off right before the pandemic, how that has impacted her creative process and her upcoming plans for the WASIS brand.
When Kina first started this venture, her products were more conceptual and unconventional to those in the current market, so she created WASIS as an artistic jewellery brand to make her crafts more accessible for everyday fashion use. It’s minimal, simple, and quirky - “you don’t have to understand the art to like them”. 🌈
Tell us about your journey, transitioning this side-passion into full-time? How did you deal with multitasking?
Back then, doing it on the side meant there were no obligations. I did not feel pressured to sell because I had an income. I was working with my family, where work was pretty much on an ad-hoc basis. It did get frustrating sometimes, because with producing anything creative, you wouldn’t want to rush the process. So I had to multitask a lot. After five years [end of 2019], I said to myself, “Okay, I’ve been doing this on the side, I’m ready to take the jump. I don’t know what’s waiting for me but I’m going to quit my full-time job and focus on this.”
I asked for my husband’s [Ashraf Ishak] help to illustrate WASIS’ logo. Just as I had officially launched the website and first collection, the pandemic happened.
How did the MCO (Movement Control Order) impact your brand and yourself personally?
Uncertainty sucks, I was so overwhelmed by it. I had just quit my job and excitedly had a few bazaars lined up, but then the nationwide lockdown commenced. So when that happened, I was working from a co-working space at Lucy Walker Jewelry, but it had to be closed and I had no access to my tools. In the middle of all that I also had plans to move into my own studio at The Zhongshan Building, but MCO derailed that. At that point, I felt quite lost and stuck. 😞
At the beginning of the MCO I was sharing a room as a studio with my husband with very limited tools and it wasn't the best setup as it's very sempit (imagine two artists with different mediums having to share the same space 😰 ) . It was only recently that we found the opportunity to move out and I decided to turn that whole space into a studio.
The restlessness kicked in, and my husband and I decided to not worry about the business just yet. Let’s distract ourselves and do something else - so we sold ayam percik from home! It worked out pretty well and it helped sustain us throughout the MCO. But towards the end of 2020, I started feeling like something was missing because I didn’t get to do what I initially planned.
And when that hit me, I said, “Okay I have to find a way to make WASIS active again”. After looking out for network and funding opportunities, a few things came through! Hearing opportunities and feedback from peers gave me a boost of confidence that I needed. I’m happy that I reached out and I’m excited to see what’s in store for me and WASIS in the near future! ⭐️
Did you see the difference or any sort of change in your creative process, before and after MCO?
Yeah, I would think that the difference is more by not being able to go out to places. Because everything that I had created was inspired by everyday things and my travel experiences. So by being cooped up at home, it was a different challenge. However, it pushed me to look within and interpret that into my designs for my future projects - I take that as a blessing in disguise. ✨
Is that a sneak peak of your upcoming collection?
I’m not gonna confirm that! *laughs*
I intend to come up with something that is within an entry-level price range. As of now WASIS positions itself on the other end of that spectrum because materials and costs incurred are not easily accessible to begin with. The value of my products are appreciated more from international consumers. So the next step is to build that consumer relationship with the local target audience and create brand value from there.
If you had to choose, what would be your favourite product that you’ve made?
SEDA is part of my first collection of earrings. SEDA is named after a good friend of mine in Istanbul. We were introduced through a mutual friend and we’ve been very close since. I was going through a few things at the time and I was in what I would call a healing stage. It was definitely a significant moment in my life.
Shop SEDA here: https://www.wasisstudio.com/product-page/copy-of-seda-earrings
Each piece created has its own story. Explore them on the website.
What’s your vision for WASIS and yourself as a creative?
I hope to one day work with local brass makers in my hometown, Terengganu. There’s not many of them left, they’re all in their 60s and 70s. I managed to visit and learn from them a while back and hope to be able to see them again soon. I would love to also explore more collaboration opportunities with other local artists and makers and learn from each other.
Where you can find WASIS
🚨 WASIS Studio is having a 35% discount on all earrings from the NUDA collection (purchase via website).
🚨 Free shipping from now till 30th April 2021 with the promo code: BEGOOD2021
The Author's Key Takeaways:
Here’s a little #rinduRIUH moment from Kina.
Her husband, Ashraf Ishak had participated at a RIUH Back to the 90s event in 2018!
Check out his artworks here.
Stay tuned for more interviews and brand write-ups!
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