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Pestle & Mortar; How Did They Get To Where They Are Now

Pestle & Mortar was founded in the year 2010 by Hugh Koh and a set of brother known as Arnold Loh and Arthur Koh.


How did Pestle & Mortar started and the method to make it to where they are today?


Firstly, the 3 founders plan on where the brand should focus and the direction of it. In the beginning, they had plenty of different ideas, perception and direction. Somehow, after numerous discussion they finally decided and settle on Pestle & Mortar should be a brand where it doesn't represent selling a product but a brand of a lifestyle.

Moreover, Pestle & Mortar also tries to align and position its brand alongside other well renown overseas brand and at the same time try to keep the brand competitive advantage by having a Malaysian Heritage and Southeast Asia as a whole.


With the branding direction being set, they set out their first business with only Rm 5,000 and printed 7-8 different T-Shirts designs. It was then sold during the Urbanscape event in 2010 and they manage to sell 85% of their stock on the day itself.


Months later, Pestle & Mortar started to get the brand involve in event and also parties as they wanted to stick their representation of Pestle & Mortar being a lifestyle brand. With that in mind, in one of the events Pestle & Mortar got an artist to wear their apparel and that artist is known as Steve Aoki who was performing in Malaysia. They pass a couple of gears to Steve Aoki and he then wore one of the Pestle & Mortar singlets to one of his gigs in China.


Now that Pestle & Mortar is known more by the locals scene, they release their first collection called "KL Through Our Eyes". The meaning behind the name is that they want to represent Malaysia a whole with its culture into the design which led them to depicted the KL Lifestyle on their t-shirts. One of the designs that was incorporated is called Mamak Culture


This is one of their well known design for the piece.


It consists of a Telur Mata Kerbau on Indo Mee on the Iconic Orange Plate

As an ongoing brand awareness and marketing strategy, PMC tend to host an event at their brick & mortar store on the weekends where they called it Smashing Weekend. On this special occasion, they bring in guest DJ to allow them to showcase their talent and at the same time is an event which allows the founders to personally interact with their customer.



Pestle & Mortar Collaboration


Pestle & Mortar has various collaboration with different brand such as Ultraman, Hypergear, It's The Ship, Pahang Ranger FC, etc.


Below is a couple of the design collaboration:


KFC x PMC, One of Malaysia Unique Collaboration


"KFC has called Malaysia Home since 1973. KFC x PMC Collection celebrates the collision of culture between KFC and Malaysia. The designs are a fusion of contemporary streetwear style and old school Malaysian prints and patterns. Every piece tells a story of KFC heritage in Malaysia," explained KFC creative directors


The collaboration with the home-grown streetwear brand pays homage to KFC's rich 46 years heritage in Malaysia with 11 exclusive KFC inspired clothing and accessories. Moreover, the collaboration is not just about sales or selling a product but each of the garment designs tells a story of what KFC means to each and every Malaysian.


From the beautiful Jalan Larut KFC on a Tee, to a playful 'Atuk' nickname bestowed upon the colonel, even right to the pressure cooker, there is a memory that resonates with everyone.


"We are expecting brand love and engagement with Malaysian through this campaign. Being a brand that believes in authenticity, we wanted to do this through accurate representation of our identity coupled with a meaningful contribution to society," said Villanueva KFC Chief Marketing Officer. She added that the total sales from this campaign will be then channeled to the KFC Add Hope Malaysia cause, KFC's CSR Stop Hunger Initiative. This is a CSR initiative by KFC Malaysia which has been addressing and alleviating hunger for the past 13 years.


"Apart from donning the pieces as a symbol of pride, consumers are also contributing and indirectly campaigning for a greater good." According to Villanueva, while KFC remains focused on producing the most "craveable" Colonel-Inspired Chicken, the collaboration reinforces that KFC is a brand for all Malaysian as the campaign's tagline reads - Inspired by Malaysian. Made by Malaysians. For Malaysians.


This are the unique design of the collaboration between KFC x PMC



The Next Phase Of Pestle & Mortar


Pestle & Mortar recently close down its flagship store in Bangsar. Retails has always been an integral role for the brand from setting the tone and the overall backdrop of their products. The founders recently speak to a group of customers who are digital savvy and that are constantly in-tune with different and new technology advancements within their landscape.


As mobile penetration in SEA is expected to triple in the next 3 years! All this development cannot be neglected and this is the main driving force for PMC new concept of retail.


Click & Mortar aims to add value and convenience to each and every customer's shopping experience. They ideally want to shift the power into the hands of their customers.


Customers will be able to forgo the traditional means of shopping and payment with the help of QR codes on each of the products. Continuing the fight against cash they have provided a wide range of payment options from conventional credit cards/bank transfers to all the major e-wallet options such as Boost.


Product education and styling inspiration has always been something PMC has been pushing. With the scan of QR code, you will be able to learn more about the details of the products or even browse through a selection of styling inspiration by our customer themselves.


Scanning the related products QR code also allows seamless purchasing of products on the spot and provides the option of collection via their in-store pick up counter or even the option to send it back home or to a friend. This process eliminates queues and allows you to better spend your time learning more about the brand through our in-store media platforms.


You can see some examples below:




Pestle & Mortar expect an instant shift to "Click & Mortar", however, education is key. AS a front runner of Malaysia street-wear we want to continue to push boundaries in everything they do.


Brand Soul Thoughts


We are proud to see how our Malaysian Streetwear has made it to the local scene. It is a great background story on how Pestle & Mortar has grew to where they are today. The collaboration they had with multiple brands and unique designs to their products.


Moreover, with the huge move of closing down their flagship store and moving to selling their products with a unique way which is through QR code is a huge step and a great move to educate the consumers so as businesses in Malaysia.



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Brand Soul Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Level 40, Mercu 2,
No. 3 Jalan Bangsar, 
KL Eco City,
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

T: +60 17 513 6870
E: ask@brandsoul.com.my

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