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Balancing A 9-5 Job and a Creative Passion: The Journey of Card-Making Extraordinaire, Norfaza Intan

Charlene Jose
By Charlene Jose

Last update on April 02, 2024 · 5 min read

For decades, there has been a long-standing debate on whether or not your full-time job should be your passion. While some will agree, others will argue the importance of separating your full-time job from your passion — and many choose the latter. According to Vox, the share of full-time workers who have decided to start a small online business or startup has increased to 42% since the start of the pandemic. 

Although there are various reasons for one to open their own business, such as in search of better career opportunities or pay, wanting to be their own boss, or wanting to prioritise time with their families, Norfaza started her own small card-making business simply because it is her passion. While Norfaza works full-time as a document controller, she loves making cards during her spare time.

Since she was young, Norfaza had fostered a love and interest in arts and crafts. After years of hard work and perfecting her craft, Norfaza was able to open “Made by Faza” where she was able to land great opportunities such as being featured on live television — on TV Alhijrah and TV3 — and magazines! Thanks to these opportunities, Norfaza was able to start crafting classes for kids and 1-on-1 classes for adults.

  1. Can you tell us about your professional background as a document controller and how you got started in this field?

I’m an experienced Secretary with 20 years of experience working in companies in the oil & gas industry. I was the Secretary to the top management – from assisting the Senior Manager, Head, Vice President, CEO, and even the President of the company. But then four years ago, I decided to be the Project Secretary which I think is more challenging and fun since I get the chance to work with more people in a team. 

When I was working with the North Oil Company for a few projects, I was able to gain exposure and learn more about the different roles in the company. From there, thankfully, they gave me the chance to learn more about document control (DC). And that’s how I changed my career from a Secretary to a DC. 

  1. What inspired you and how did you get into card making? When did you realise that this is something that you wanted to pursue on the side?

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved arts and crafts. When I was still in school, I used to make my own cards that I gave to friends on special occasions, like birthdays. 

From there, I looked for video tutorials on YouTube and Instagram, where I discovered a handful of handmade card designers from around the world. In my opinion, I thought that the cards I saw online were rare and different from what we can find in the market here. So, I decided to give card-making a try using materials I found in local bookstores.

As of today, all of my cards are created using various methods; I’m no longer using stickers. I’ve recently been focused on using the stamping method – stamp, colour, cut, and arrange – to make visually outstanding cards. Thanks to the stamp sets, cutting machine, and colours from overseas, I am confident in the quality of the cards that I make with love.

2. Document control requires meticulous organisation and management, while card-making is a creative outlet. How do you find a balance between these two different aspects of your life, and do you believe that they complement each other in any way?

I believe that document control and card-making have similar aspects that can often be overlooked. While it may seem like they’re both on different ends of the spectrum, to be a document controller and a card-maker means that you have to be mentally and physically strong in terms of preparation and planning, while maintaining the passion for what you do.

3. How do you manage your time effectively between your 9-5 job and your creative passion for card making?

To be frank, coming home from the office is normally very tiring. After spending all day at the office, of course, I make it a priority to spend time with my family. So normally, I will settle all the card orders I receive throughout the week on the weekends. 

However, as I strongly believe in maintaining the high quality of my cards, I would say that last-minute orders are not advisable. Since I’m only able to work on the cards on the weekends and believe that each card should remain up to standard, it takes me 3 to 4 weeks before they’re sent out for delivery.

One of Intan's recent cards was that made with love, from Christmas 2023.One of Intan's recent cards was that made with love, from Christmas 2023.

One of Intan's recent cards was that made with love, from Christmas 2023.

4. What has been your favourite card-making project thus far? And what do your designs mean to you personally?

I have a few card collections that are well-suited for any occasion. I have eight different collections: the Basic Card, Surprise Box, Moving Card, Pop-Up Box Card, Shadow Card, Magic Picture Changer Card, Swish & Pop Pull-Tab Card, and Pop-Up Platform Card.

Among these, I would say that my favourite card is always the Magic Picture Changer card. It is the most challenging card to create thus far. The major challenge to this card is the weight of the cardstock used. Since there is a panel created inside the card using a specific method, you can change the photo of the card. By using a thick cardstock, the panel to display the card will get stuck. However, the more difficult it is to make a card, the more I challenge myself to do it.

5. What’s your inspiration for your designs?

My design inspirations can come from anywhere and anything. Normally, I browse online platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to see what other designers are doing and what trends are popular.

However, when taking orders, customers will choose the theme they want based on my stamp set collection. From there, I will give them ideas for the arrangement and advise them on what colour to pick for the card base to make the card look good. In short, I’m able to create various creative card designs by collaborating with my customers.


6. Where do you see yourself and your small business progressing in a few years? Is this something that you want to pursue full-time?

What started as a hobby has turned into a passion and after a few years of hard work, I’ve had the greatest opportunity to open my own small business called “Made By Faza” which started in 2004. 

Dedicating my time and energy to “Made By Faza” full-time has always been my dream. I don’t know yet when I will decide to say goodbye to the corporate world, but in the meantime, I will keep on being a document controller while maintaining my small business. In the future, once I decide to commit, I believe that Made By Faza will be a success, with the help of a good marketing strategy and outstanding card designs. 

7. Any advice for aspiring engineering talents who dream of pursuing their passion alongside their careers?

You can find a job that you’re passionate about. I believe that having a career that invokes and nurtures your passion almost always guarantees long-term success. If you’re passionate about your job, you’ll be motivated to engage in the work day in and day out

It’s not easy to pursue things that we love to do while having a career at the same time. But in this case, I’d say time management is very important. 

Norfaza takes pride in the fact that all of her cards are 100% handmade – stamping, colouring, and cutting, even the cute envelope or box that her cards are delivered in.

“All of my cards are made from the heart,” Norfaza shared.

If you want to check out her handmade cards, visit @made_by_faza on Instagram.