The Ultimate Journey In Sustainability: The happi.kloth Story

Sustainable, Functional, and Beautiful!
Sustainable, Functional, and Beautiful!
Sustainable, Functional, and Beautiful!

With World Wildlife Day coming up this Friday, we speak to Sarah of happi.kloth to find out more about her amazing collection of Swedish cloths!

Beautifully patterned and super functional, the happi.kloth is EVERYTHING we’ve ever dreamed of, and we are HERE for it! Read on to see what makes this amazing, intrepid entrepreneur tick!

Sarah fell in love with Swedish cloths at first use!
Sarah fell in love with Swedish cloths at first use!

Tell us about your happi.kloth journey! What was your first encounter with this product, and how did you decide to bring it around to Malaysia?

It all began about five years ago, when my husband and I were on a trip abroad. We stumbled upon Swedish cloths and they immediately captured our hearts. It was the perfect ‘ole ole’ (souvenir) to bring back for family, ‘cos it’s pretty! They’re also functional, weightless (easy to slip in our luggage), and most importantly ECO FRIENDLY! Once we got home and I started using them, I had a big WOW moment. It was at that instant that I decided they were too special to be kept in my kitchen drawer. They needed to be shared with everyone! After months of research and testing, we finally launched happi.kloth in July 2021, selling Swedish Cloths in Malaysia and Singapore. 

What sets happi.kloth apart from the good ol’ recycled rag we Asians commonly have laying around?

The absorbency is the WOW factor! It can hold water up to ten times its weight, but it’s also quick drying, which in turn keeps it from developing that damp cloth smell. It will feel like crisp paper when bone dry. However, you need only wet it and it will spring back to life, regaining its spongy and cloth-like texture like magic! It’s also easy to clean as it is machine washable and dishwasher safe! You really need to try it out for yourself to truly appreciate it, and I am confident that you will simply love it! 

These cloths can hold water up to ten times their weight!

Tell us a little bit about the development process of happi.kloth! Was that a large part of why you decided to bring them into Malaysia?

The more I learned about how Swedish cloths are made, the more I respected the process and the humble result. These cloths are made from all-natural materials, YES – cotton and wood pulp – but not just any cotton and wood pulp! Ours are made using repurposed or leftover cotton bits from garment factories and wood chippings from FSC-certified forests.

Invented back in 1949 by a Swedish engineer, this humble, functional piece of cloth is essentially made of scraps! It’s environmentally-friendly in terms of being all-natural, but it is so even in its creation. The cloth has also been certified as being safe-to-use on even the most sensitive skin. I felt that we needed more optionss like happi.kloth in Malaysian homes – environmentally safe, nontoxic, and functional. What’s not to love?

How important is the concept of sustainability to your brand, your business, and your product? How do you ensure your business aligns with green initiatives?

From the get-go, we tried our best to build happi.kloth to have as little negative environmental impact as possible. We opt for recycled boxes, paper adhesive tapes, biodegradable bags or mailers, and where it is not possible, we opt to reuse. The ink used to print the designs are water-based and non-toxic. As a business, it’s not always easy to source these options; in most cases, it is not cheap either, but we go by the motto ‘where we can, we will’. We are a small business, but we still wanted happi.kloth to give back to nature. So, we partnered up with APE Malaysia, and a portion of our sales go towards planting trees in Borneo, and helping preserve the habitat and wildlife. The best part of this all is the positive feedback we get from our customers! They love the fact that we are plastic-free. 

Who do you work with to create the artistic designs of your product?

In the past, we worked with freelance designers and they are located all over the world. One to note is Min Kim, a Korean designer based in Singapore who is also founder and creative director of Atelieroll. We introduced a gifting set with one of Min Kim’s designs: a matching print on a Swedish cloth and a tea towel made from Baltic linen. In the future, we will be looking to work with Malaysian designers. We have had a chance to be in contact with a few and the talent is huge! We hope our collaborations will bring more designs from local designers in the near future! 

What’s your personal favourite memory of using a happi.kloth?

I do have a personal special memory that is truly dear to me! It involves my 2-year-old actually requesting a ‘happi.kloth’ to wipe up his spills and help clean the floor. Branding works! But, I must say, happi.kloth has made life with a toddler way easier! The other memory I must mention was when we put a few used pieces in our dad’s vermicompost box in the garden, and the worms were literally having a party chomping away at the cloths. The next morning, no trace of it was left!

All business owners have that ‘aha’ moment, a memorable and rewarding occasion that reassures them that this is the right path to go down. What’s yours?

For happi.kloth, it’s our customers! Every review or an insta video about us puts us on Cloud 9. We didn’t expect such positive feedback so early in the business, but we managed to get satisfied return customers within the first couple of months of our launching. So that’s definitely rewarding!

How do you balance your personal life and the life of being a busy entrepreneur?

This would be the trickiest for me. Even writing this, I am looking at the time to make sure I’m not late to pick up my son from play school! I must count my blessings and give a huge thanks to my husband, as he has been massively supportive. I wouldn’t be able to juggle life as a full-time mom, wife, and business owner without him. Also, outsourcing some of the work – for example, partnering with a 3PL and having a social media manager – has truly helped happi.kloth grow and reach its milestones. Slowly, but surely!

It’s 2033! How much has happi.kloth grown as a brand?

We are very thankful for all the milestones we’ve reached so far, with the most recent one being an amazing opportunity to collaborate with IPC (Ikano Power Centre) during the Holiday season. We hope that this will open doors for future partnerships with corporate and local brand names. 2033 is a decade from now, but we would love for happi.kloth to become a household brand! We aspire to be available on the shelves of major retail and grocery chains across Malaysia, making it easier for our customers to grab one while grocery shopping. It will take a lot of hard work and daydreaming to get there, but it may just come true. 

It was amazing! We really did feel the #sapotlokal vibe. We’re still very grateful for all the brands that have collaborated and partnered up with us. We launched during the pandemic, but despite our brand being very new, everyone was so positive! We experienced good growth with our Instagram followers, especially during the time.  It truly did help boost our confidence and helped us get our name in the market too! 

Which Poptron merchants do you want to hear from next? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow us on our social channels for more fun content, tips, and stories on your favourite local brands!

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