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Time-Stamped Tales: The Tofu Studio



2020 //

Like many entrepreneurs, we started out Elsiewithlove in the living room of our home. I still remembered the conversations we had and the decisions we made to start designing our own stamps. The creation of Elsiewithlove really begun when Elsie and her daughter, Emma, were at her journal table, spending some family time during the Covid-19 Pandemic. They imagined that the potted plants on her desk would come to life and play around with their journal supplies. They named them "Kakpoots", which stands for Kaktus (Cactus in Malay) in a Pot! Kakpoot! Eventually this core memory began flourishing when Elsie and Ryan embarked on this adventure, carrying the seeds of Elsie's passion & dreams, and sowing them around the world.


But before we could even set foot on this grand adventure, we needed a space to grow. And the first quest was to set up a small space at home to work on the stamps. We utilized most of our dining table to sand our wooden blocks and it was still sufficient to manage the small batches of blocks we had. Until one day, Cafe-Analog in the Netherlands, found us, and was willing to give us the opportunity to carry our little Kakpoots & forest tunes there. Slowly but surely, we were able to gain many kakpoot foster parents and managed to receive more orders there. From that point on, many other stores across the globe have also extended their opportunities to us, letting us reach further to UK, USA, Philippines, Singapore, Germany & China (and beyond).


Now that we're able to create more stamps, the dining table is no longer suitable to handle the saw dusts from the sanding we did. We decided to find a place to rent and to managed the many orders coming in, thanks to Your support! We shared a small office space with our bro-in-law who was also looking for a place to work when we discovered a tofu-sized office, just enough to cater to the 3 of us and here's where Elsie created the name "Tofu Studio". It was a nice and comfortable spot for a start-up but as the conditions were still uncertain, we had to let go of our very first studio. It was that time of the year, when covid cases were still increasingly high, and vaccinations has yet to roll out. The partial travel restrictions made it even more difficult for us to access our studio because it was in another district from where we lived. But it's okay, we can still make do with what we have.


2021 //

We continued our journey for another year at home, sanding the blocks in our backyard, taking even more space in the living room to store rubbers and wood, working hard to find another studio. We knew at some point, we'd have to separate work from our personal home. We'd have issues with organizing work-related materials to the point where sometimes we'll find random invoices in our bedroom😂. But we never gave up! We know that when one door closes, God will open another door! (Sometimes it may be a window but it depends). Elsie spent most of the time going around Penang, looking really hard for a good place but to no avail. We considered transforming a room at home to house all Elsiewithlove products but thankfully after another year, we had our eyes on one small studio just 10 minutes away from where we lived.


2022 //

After much consideration, we said yes to the place, signed some papers and the kakpoots made their way to a new home. This spot reminded us of our very first studio, tofu-sized but comfortable, and with Elsie's artistic vision she managed to turn it into a cozy workplace for her, me and now Mama Cat! To many who had followed us from the start and had the chance to purchase our postcards, see if you can spot the date we moved in! It's still a very small place, and when we had the chance for all 3 of us to work together, it gets a little more cramped than usual. We'll occasionally bump into each other or the surrounding furniture 😂. Slowly but surely, we turned a small corner of the studio just to display our products. Since the studio was such as mess due to lots of dusty works, we didn't want you guys to come in and witness a hurricane. Though many of you didn't mind. But we thought and thought for a while if we should turn the studio into a semi-retail store for anyone to visit. And after such a long thinking process, we had another decision to make.



2023 //

Fast forward to the following year, we made the next big decision to fully transform the tofu-studio into a tofu-retail store! But it wasn't without any set-backs. To make such a big move requires time. Even though the space was still small, we needed more furniture to display everything and to turn it into to comfortable place for you to come visit. We also needed a separate space for all the handiwork, so you get the pretty side and the messy side. And of course, a separate space means additional costs. But we trust God, and with the support from many of you, we signed a second lot to use as an office. 2023 was very eventful, we were at many places throughout the year and thus the process of turning the studio to a store was a slow one. We didn't want to rush through it, Elsie wanted to really make sure that the place is pretty enough for everyone. So it took us another full year to slowly collect more bits and pieces for the Tofu-Studio. Come Christmas, the place is almost ready for a soft-launch and it has brought about so many stories and so many memories to share. When we open the doors to our Tofu-Studio we hope it carries the same passion, vision and love to anyone who walks through here. We can't thank you enough for being on this journey with us, and thanks to your support we're able to grow. With that, we'll raise our glass and wish to..

2024 //

..a more eventful year in 2024!

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