Mukah handicraft maker dreams big

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DALAT: Handicraft maker Lawrence Dan may be unfamiliar to many but his wood products have made their way into a number of homes, including the home of former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in Putrajaya.

The wood handicraft was specially ordered from him where he was requested to design it as a souvenir for Wan Azizah.

Lawrence, owner of Perusahaan Uren Customade Woodworks Enterprise at Kampung Tanam here, started from zero in May 2018 after quitting his job in a company in Kuching. He specialises in wood-based handicrafts.

The 49-year-old revealed that he inherited his wood carving skills from his late grandfather, and carried out his trade single-handedly.

“I obtain loans for the purchase of machines through Skim Pinjaman PUTEK from Mara at the end of 2019,” he said during a visit from Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah recently.

Fatimah, who is also Dalat assemblywoman, said data on enterpreneurs such as Lawrence and others in the district would be collected for reference and relevant action in future.

Lawrence said he promoted his products through social media platforms such as Facebook.

Initially, his target market was Dalat District only, but somehow this extended to as far as Malaya.

He revealed that his next target would be to ensure his products are well known throughout Malaysia so that the Melanau heritage would live on.

On the challenges, he said the main one was in terms of rolling capital.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic had also impacted his trade as there was low demand for products such as tables, cupboards, racks and so on.

“I attempted to diversify my wood products too, in an effort to challenge my ability.”

Lawrence also hoped that his home-based enterprise would expand and be able to provide employment opportunities to locals and enhance their economic wellbeing.

He also aimed to expand his business globally while focusing on ways to produce higher quality products using advanced technology.

Among the handicrafts produced by Lawrence.

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