With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’ve been getting many ads on Instagram promoting bouquets upon bouquets of flowers. While any girl would like to be on the receiving end of them, it made me realise that it’s harder to shop gifts for men.
It’s quite common to default back to the usual presents for men, such as wallets, neckties, and even video games.
But these lack a personal touch in comparison to the kinds of gifts women typically receive. So I went down a rabbit hole looking for something beyond the ordinary.
That’s how I found Pakanira, a boutique workshop for couples to hand-make each other rings.
There’s a first time for everything
Now, you might think, what’s so special about jewellery? It’s been a traditional gift for centuries, after all. But what Pakanira is offering isn’t just about the jewellery itself.
Rather, it’s the experience; it’s the opportunity to personally craft jewellery for your significant other, with them. It’s in this spirit of love that Pakanira opened its doors to the public on Valentine’s Day last year (February 14, 2023).
Located at Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara in PJ, the brand’s workshop is a cosy space run by 23-year-old interior design graduate, Sofeea. And much to my surprise, this is actually her first professional job.
“After I graduated, I took a gap year trying out different arts and crafts and I felt like jewellery-making is quite a unique thing in Malaysia,” she shared. “I’ve always wanted to try out jewellery-making [here], but unfortunately there’s not much. Mostly it’s in the USA or Indonesia.”
While there are many local sellers making beaded jewellery and accessories, Sofeea also realised that silversmithing is a less common trade. There are only a few workshops available that can teach you the craft, like Fine Metal Studio in KL.
So she took matters into her own hands.
From interior designing to jewellery making
But before that, Sofeea had to get her skills from somewhere. Figuring that she would like to dabble in the craft of ring-making specifically, she decided to join a silversmith company.
That’s how she ended up working at Zo Craft for a few months.
Established in 2019, Zo Craft is another brand that offers customised jewellery services and jewellery-making workshops.
According to its website, the brand offers classes for couples to make their own wedding rings too, which isn’t far off from what Pakanira does. So you could say that she was inspired by her short stint at Zo Craft.
On the side, Sofeea continued to learn the craft herself by experimenting with different silversmith techniques. This led to learning new designs and her own process of crafting jewellery.
It wasn’t long afterwards that she decided to venture out on her own and started Pakanira, with the main goal of promoting and teaching hands-on crafting experience to others.
As for the capital, the now-23-year-old shared with us that it came from a joint venture with another company, Foqus AKY Sdn Bhd.
Crafting her own space in the jewellery industry
Mainly a one-woman show, Sofeea takes inspiration from similar workshops in Korea by focusing on catering to couples. For context, ring-making for couples is quite popular there.
That said, non-romantic duos are also highly welcomed. You could bring your peers to create friendship rings or even family members like a mother-daughter (or father-son) date. For two people, there’s a combo price of RM570.
But if you’re interested in learning silversmithing alone or just can’t seem to find someone to tag along, there’s also the solo package which is RM330.
As Sofeea put it, “Our jewellery making sessions are an ideal combination of fun and challenging which creates a memorable bonding experience to the client. Plus we are very open to the jewellery design if it’s possible for us to craft it.”
There are currently six ring designs to choose from—Melati, Mawar, Kemboja, Widuri, Seroja, and Cempaka. All of them are minimalist in nature and are made from 925 sterling silver.
As the space is still quite limited, Pakanira can only host four people in one session with each workshop lasting for two hours. All bookings can be made on Pakanira’s website, where they also offer Atome’s BNPL scheme.
Providing hands-on guidance to students
Throughout the workshop, Sofeea will guide participants on the ring-making process. So don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner, as realistically most other participants would be too.
The silversmith broke down the process into nine simple steps. First is the annealing process, which is where you heat up the 925 sterling silver wire or sheet to make it soft and pliable.
Next is the flattening step that gives the silver a smooth or curved surface. This is followed by engraving, where participants can include personalised engraving on the interior part of the ring.
Afterwards, you’ll need to bend the silver wire or sheet according to your ring size. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about that yet as Sofeea can help you measure it. Then you’ll have to trim the excess silver.
Once that’s done, the soldering process comes next, which is how you connect the ends together to form a ring band. Following that, you boil the ring to eliminate any flaws before polishing it for a shiny finish.
The last step? To put it on either yourself or each other’s hands.
No plans of abandoning her original career path
To ensure that all her customers are happy with the finished product, Pakanira actually offers “100% satisfaction guarantee”. What this means is that Sofeea will do her best to help participants perfect the rings to their satisfaction.
And so far, this has worked out quite well for the brand. Sofeea shared that there haven’t been any incidents where customers have had to remake the rings from scratch.
On average, Sofeea shared that Pakanira hosts about 40 customers a month. As such, she’s planning to eventually expand the workshop space so that more participants can join one session at a time.
Aside from that, the future plan is to include more kinds of jewelleries in its workshop catalogue, such as pendants, bangles, and earrings.
That said, despite this being her full-time career for now, Sofeea has bigger dreams for herself. “I do [plan on going into the interior design industry] in the future because I still have passion for interior design. But for now, I want to focus on Pakanira.”
Featured Image Credit: Pakanira