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  • Writer's pictureTina Chan

How My Grandma Taught Our Family to Value Quality and Craftmanship?

I am Tina, “Ina”, co-founder of OANINA.

I want to share a story about a remarkable person, my grandmother or "Oma" in Dutch.

Oma Lily is a woman who has lived through some of the most challenging times in history. Born in the 1930s and educated in the Dutch system, she experienced war and poverty during the Indonesian Independence from the Japanese occupation and riots during the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis. Yet, at 91 years old, she still exudes strength and beauty. We are constantly inspired by her resilience and positive outlook on life.

Oma and Ina during a photo shoot in Europe
Ina and Oma

So what is Oma Lily's secret? It's quite simple. She knows the value of things. Having grown up during a time of scarcity and limited resources, she has developed a unique appreciation for the little things in life.

To her, there is no greater gift than love and connection, and she cherishes the time she spends with her loved ones. She consciously nurtures and strengthens these relationships, showing appreciation for the people in her life with small tokens of affection or kind gestures.

Furthermore, Oma Lily understands the true meaning of gratitude. She never takes anything for granted and finds joy in the simplest things. She knows that the little things in life are often the most valuable, and she takes the time to savor and appreciate each moment.

Oma Lily is also a passionate advocate for sustainable fashion. Her love for fashion is infectious, and she knows how to select quality materials that will last a long time. When it comes to caring for her clothes, she is meticulous. Oma Lily only washes her garments by hand and in cold water without using dry cleaning or harmful chemicals. Her collection of handmade gowns and accessories can be found on her social media page, @oma_lily85.

Her passion for sewing has inspired many of us in the family to find joy in crafting at home. She even made princess dresses for my daughter and her cousin and costume dresses for her photo shoots in different parts of the world. I remember wearing matching outfits with my cousins as a child, all handmade by Oma Lily. These experiences have given me a great appreciation for the value of self-sufficiency and creativity.

Now that Oma Lily is not as agile as before and can no longer wear her beautiful dresses, she generously passes them on to us and her friends. She believes in using everything wisely, especially the pieces she handcrafted herself. If there are garments we cannot use, she sells or donates them, reminding us never to throw things away.

Oma Lily is a wise and experienced woman who deeply understands the value of things in life. She treasures every aspect of her life, from the clothes she made with her hands to the relationships she cultivated with others over time. In a world where material possessions often hold more value than genuine connections and relationships, Oma Lily stands out as a shining example of someone who truly knows the value of the things that matter most.

Her legacy will continue to live on in our family as we carry her teachings with us wherever we go. We are forever grateful for the lessons she has taught us. We will strive to emulate her example of living sustainably, appreciating the beauty of our relationships, and valuing the things we make with our hands.


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