Does passion create style? Or does style make for passion? Are the two even related? Tabloid features a personality that brings style or passion or both into their lives and subsequently into the lives of others.

Be in a good frame of mind when you wrap a present. This happy feeling will flow into the lives of the recipients

In one of the many streets in Karama scattered with driving schools, laundries and maintenance and repair stores, stands one tiny shop that offers a visual respite.

Stocked with all sorts of wrapping paper and accessories, its warm lights and cosy setting make it a tempting stopover as other mundane chores are completed.

The owner, Faizah Asharih, says the size of the shop was driven by the need to test the market, but gushes with joy when informed that her clients say it stays true to the adage: Good things come in small packages.

Asharih takes a few turns around the shop and discovers something new to share, but it’s the paper that fascinates her the most. “Most of the wrapping paper is sourced from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma and Thailand and I personally select them from everywhere except Japan and Korea, which I order from the internet,” says the Singaporean national.

Her shop is just “two years young,” she says, “but I have been involved with wrapping since the age of 15.” Today, the mother of two visits her store, Asharih Paperhouse Gift Store, named after her father, thrice a week and personally trains her staff.

“Wrapping a gift is a wonderful art and conventional methods dictate the use of paper, which is why most of the material here is paper,” she says running her hand down an extremely thin sheet of gold paper from Japan.

“They [the Japanese] love this fine material and it falls beautifully.”

But Asharih does not restrict her creativity in wrapping to merely working with paper.

She demonstrates by pulling out some gold netting. “This is in vogue now and is a great hit with wrapping small baskets of chocolates and other goodies,” she says as she sets a sample in the middle of the netting.

“It takes a little longer to work with this than paper because there’s a lot of stretching involved to make it a tight fit.” But Asharih manages to finish the stretching, tightening, tugging in less than 10 minutes. A long ribbon is pulled out and she pauses for a few seconds before deciding what sort of bow will suit the packaging. Her nimble fingers traverse the contours of the basket and she impresses with her speed as much as she does with her creativity. A classic bow follows and is further accessorised by small festive touches such as miniature sprigs of holly attached with the help of a “glue gun.”

Asharih calls the gun a trade secret and says she won’t reveal the origins of the glue. “Most people are amazed how the smaller accessories are attached without a mess and the glue is quite hard to find in this market,” she says with a smile.

The shop is filled with colourful little trinkets and chimes that provide a warm ambience. “It’s very important to have a positive vibe and be in a good frame of mind when you wrap a present. This will flow into the gift and subsequently into the lives of the recipients of the present,” she says.

Asharih has no formal training in wrapping despite the availability of courses that specialise in gift-wrapping in her home country. A graduate in business computing with a financial background, she attributes her talent to divine powers, practise and following up by extensive reading.

“Reading helps me understand more about how to get around tricky wrapping situations as you can’t exactly fit everything into a box. There’s also a lot to be learnt about colours contrasting, but the most important thing I’ve gained through reading is minimising waste and being eco-friendly,” she says.

All the paper used in Asharih’s shop is made of recycled paper and is “100 per cent bio-degradable,” she says. As a specialist in gift-wrapping, she doesn’t even have a problem in encouraging recycling good wrapping paper at home. “As long as the gifts aren’t recycled!” she says.

The only risk in being too good at her profession, she says, is that the recipient won’t open their gift.

“I’ve had people say it’s too good to open, particularly with candles. I’ve noticed that some people just leave them wrapped up with the tassels and bows,” she says.

With the season for giving in full swing, Asharih is a busy woman, but isn’t keen on employing more staff in order to complete bulk orders.

“Quality is everything and in a small store like mine, it’s very important as any publicity we get is word of mouth, which is the most powerful marketing tool,” she says wrapping up her basket and the interview.