Man's hobby mushrooms to big business

Above: Abdul Naaim Azaddin's eldest son, Mohd Naqiuddin, 13, arranging decorative toadstools that are ready for sale.

ALOR STAR, Kedah - A stall in Gurun is making heads turn among motorists on the highway from here to Sungai Petani. This is because colourful "toadstools" of various sizes adorn this modest premises owned by Abdul Naaim Azaddin.

The 48-year-old entrepreneur is successfully running a business producing decorative toadstools made of plastic pipes and coconut shells.

Abdul Naaim Azaddin painting coconut shells to make his toadstools.

Each day, scores of motorists would pull over to check out his handicraft. Many of them, mostly urban dwellers, would snap up the colourful ornaments for their homes.

The "mushroom" decorative pieces are priced between RM1 and RM150 (S$0.40 and S$61) a piece.

"It has been a very rewarding experience," he said recently.

When he first tried his hands on the handicraft five years ago, it was just for fun. But his hobby turned into a full-time undertaking which helped to provide for his family.

His "toadstool" decors range from a few centimetres in size to some as big as a garden table.

"I used to be a helper at a plant nursery. My wife and I have always dreamt of achieving something and we are glad that our efforts in making 'mushroom ornaments' have paid off," said the father of five.

Business is booming and Naaim's wife, Erwinna Selamat, 36, and his children help him in his work.