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Business owners at 15! These girls have taken their love for art & fashion to the next level
Ideas are not meant to be sat on forever!

Caroline Curmi

At 15, most of us wiled away our days fantasizing about this or that heartthrob, but for creative duo Bettina Falzon and Nina Vassallo, dreams are not meant to be indulged, but actualised.

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The young owners of CRMB fashion, which provides custom painting and embroidery services for clothing and related objects, got their business idea during one of their many art-related chats: “The main reason to set it up was due to our common interests of art and fashion and the inspiration we had from so many people all over the globe,” the girls explain.

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Bettina and Nina reveal the inspiration behind the name:“It comes from the word ‘crumba’ which is an inside joke between us as well as a nickname we have each other whilst on a school trip abroad,” the girls explain, adding that they opted to create a shorter version of it by removing the vowels and leaving only the consonants.

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After launching an Instagram page, and then a Facebook page shortly after, their business was born, and their first orders from friends came in: “Our friends were all very supportive and they also gave us shoutouts on both social media platforms,” they say, before expressing their gratitude to their parents for providing them with the necessary materials to make it all happen.

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Launched on 22nd December 2018 when they were just 14, CRMB Fashion has recently marked its first anniversary. The past year has been a hectic one for the girls, with over 25 orders completed in between juggling schoolwork, O level exam preparations and other commitments. Their load can be overwhelming at times, but both artists see their venture as “a break from the studying and stress.”

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Each has a distinct painting style; Bettina favours oil pants and Nina prefers watercolours, but they also enjoy painting with acrylic which is the medium they use for paintings done on clothes or fabric. Both young artists have a soft spot for different projects. For Nina, it is the roses adorning a black jeans pocket: “Flowers are difficult yet beautiful to paint and I like how I achieved a sense of dimensions,” she says. Meanwhile, Bettina’s favourite project involved adding water drips to a pair of Nike Air Force 1 trainers: “It was the first time I had ever painted on shoes!” she reveals.

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The time it takes to finish a piece varies from project to project, with the variables in force being technical difficulty, size and level of detail. A canvas painting of a Koi fish with dimensions of 90cm by 60cm takes them approximately 20 hours to complete while painting a jeans pocket involves around five hours of work.

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Both creatives are looking to maintain CRMB Fashion and while Bettina expresses her desire to continue practising art as a hobby, Nina will likely be taking up Art as one of her A levels with the aspiration of one day becoming a fashion designer. “We haven’t planned for the future, but we hope that CRMB remains successful and grows too!” they say.

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What an inspirational duo!

21st January 2020


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

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