Looking at the name Noor Arfa, Malaysia’s largest batik producer, one would think that the founder is a female lady by the name of Noor-something. Close call, but not accurate enough.
Noor Arfa is actually a combination name of Noor and Ariffin, a husband-and-wife team by the names of Wan Mohd Ariffin and Noor Hijerah. Ariffin was a former laboratory assistant with Kraftangan Malaysia and the captivating beauty of batik, coupled with his own interest in the business and entrepreneurship world made him quit his job and took a plunge in a batik manufacturing business, grabbing his wife along in the process.
That was almost 30 years ago, and to be exact, 1980. When they first started, they invested RM1000 of their hard earned savings, and obtained financial loan from Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) amounting RM5000. Their very first outlet was set up in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Terengganu, a state where the batik originated. Both Ariffin and Noor Hijerah painted their earlier batches of batik designs, since there was not much money to bring in talented batik designers.
Today, Noor Arfa owns a gigantic 2.5-acre batik manufacturing factory in Chendering, Terengganu, which houses more than 200 workers and produces more than 150 batik products.
The company also has an impressive number of distributors nationwide that ensure their products are delivered to the dealers and customers in speedy and timely fashion. Today, interested entrepreneurs can be part of Noor Arfa family through the franchise business model it offers.
Noor Arfa is also an acclaimed brand in the international scene, and is often, handpicked to become the country’s ambassador for craft and fashion exhibitions and trade shows worldwide, including in London, United Kingdom. It is also a recipient of various awards, including:
- The Asia Pacific Brand Laurette Award by Brand Laurette
- The Biggest Batik Manufacturer Award by the Malaysian Book of Records
- National Excellent Entrepreneur Award by MARA
- Product Quality Award by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, MITI
- Productivity Award by the National Productivity Council
- Entrepreneur Award by the State Government of Terengganu
- Young Entrepreneur Award in the manufacturing sector by the Ministry of Youth and Sport
In the most recent development, Noor Arfa is building a Noor Arfa Craft Complex (NACC) with main objective to become a tourist attraction and destination in Terengganu (pic – construction phase and artist impression). Upon completion, a variety of craft products such as batik, songket, wood engraving will be displayed and sold under one roof in NACC.