- RIUH is a multi-day bazaar held every month by a team from MyCreative Ventures—a government initiative started to help build the local creative scene.
- The event brings together artists, performers, and artisanal businesses to showcase their talents and products in a setting prime for family outings.
- The aim of RIUH is to help elevate the local creative scene to a point where it can become self-sustaining.
Over the past couple of years or so, Malaysia has seen its scene for pop-up stores and flea markets develop from rudimentary to something quite elaborate and nuanced.
As a result, many local businesses have seen success by way of public exposure, much of it to do with how much traction they’ve garnered by being at a happening pop-up bazaar.
One of the key players here is RIUH In The City—or more commonly just referred to as RIUH.
With its inception close to two years ago, RIUH was founded as part of MyCreative Ventures—a government initiative started over six years ago to help provide funding to the local creative scene across pillars such as performing arts, fashion, literature, and culinary arts.
But over time, the venture saw that despite the amount of funding being poured into the scene, there was a gap in terms of how the players in the scene could get themselves noticed by the everyday consumer.
“We saw that even though there was funding for production and marketing, there was a void in terms of distribution,” said Head of RIUH Melissa Low.
“We noticed that to hold events in places like shopping malls would be very costly, so we decided to start a distribution platform.”
“We were inspired by other similar markets happening internationally such as the Finders Keepers Market in Australia, and we decided to start RIUH.”
Creativity Is The Priority
As part of a government initiative, RIUH’s aim is to make itself a creative platform first and foremost, with the retail segment of their event covering the first of four pillars, the other three being education, live performances, and artistic exhibitions.
“The idea is to bridge the gap between the community and the creatives,” Melissa said. “And each time we have a RIUH event, we change the contents so everyone gets an equal opportunity.”
Explaining this policy of switching things up, Melissa elaborated that with every iteration of RIUH there would be a distinct theme, such as their most recent “rhapsody” theme that featured plenty of throwback elements from the 70’s.
And with each theme, there would be mini events scattered throughout the two days that would befit the theme, calling on artisans and businesses to conduct workshops, performances, or sell products somewhat related to the theme.
“Through these performances and workshops, we hope people will begin to appreciate what’s on offer, and therefore start buying the products sold by these vendors,” Melissa said.
“Ultimately, we want to become more than just a physical platform, and create other opportunities for these artists and artisan businesses.”
True to form, Melissa also explained that for RIUH, the objective has always been sustainability rather than profits, and that the long-term vision was for things to get to a point where markets and events like these can keep on running without the need for governmental support.
“Because we’re an initiative, we’re just trying out best to keep it sustainable,” Melissa explained. “As it is, it’s good to see this sort of aid for the creative community considering how under-supported it is.”
“But at the end of the day, what we really want is for more private entities to come in and help keep things going, and we’ve already been seeing more and more support from these private bodies, which is a good sign.”
So far, RIUH has seen the attendance for its monthly event experience significantly positive reception and growth. When they first kicked off, their first RIUH In The City Event saw 6,500 visitors, which now pales in comparison with the 17,000 crowd that they can sometimes manage to pull in at their latest Sentul Depot venue.
And more impressively, they’ve cumulatively (since starting out) helped local artisanal vendors make over RM3.2 million in sales.
According to Melissa, this positive growth has given them the impetus to expand and grow—geographically and collaboratively. This year, RIUH has plans to host similar events outside of the Klang Valley, with Kuching and Ipoh slated as upcoming destinations, and they’re also making efforts to partner with e-wallets such as Maybank’s MAE to make payments in their markets much easier.
RIUH In The Future
Looking ahead, the challenge for RIUH will now be to constantly manage expectations for an event that is held only once every month.
But with so many artisanal businesses wanting to get a slice of the RIUH pie, Melissa and her team now have the unenviable task of regularly picking through thousands of applications to see which ones do get invited to the next RIUH, and to more crucially ensure that each one gets a chance eventually.
“Also, people get bored easily, so it’s another challenge for us to keep RIUH fresh and exciting with new concepts and ideas to keep visitors interested,” Melissa noted, adding that she feels the hard work now will eventually lead to a brighter future for Malaysia’s creative scene.
“It must be said that Malaysians are kind of slow to pick up on trends, but I think if events like these can do well, they’ll be here to stay for a long time.”
- To know more about RIUH and their upcoming events, check out their website or social media feeds on Facebook and Instagram.
Feature Image Credit: RIUH