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Design for everyone, for everyday.

FIVE + ONE at Naiise @ Clarke Quay Central

Aug 10 2016

Celebrating Singapore 51st birthday, we have a special pop-up within our store at Clarke Quay Central, FIVE + ONE, to showcase local living on our little red dot with new home furnishings and lifestyle products from Singapore-based brands we love. Read on and discover what it is like to be a designer in Singapore. 

 

Sari & Santhi, Binary Style

What were you working on before starting your business?

We were both working on different things before Binary Style was hatched. Sari was in between jobs as researcher in sustainable cities. Santhi was doing architectural and design works. She was also running a website that seeks to raise awareness in green building in tropical context. But the urge to create something with colours and patterns are always there.

We were always dreaming to be able to join force together to do create something artistic but due to our other commitments that dream had been put aside on the back burner for awhile.

How did this come about?

While in between jobs, Sari decided to kick up a project for us to do together. We always love scarves and graphic design so we thought why don’t we try to make a collection of scarves that tells Singapore story.

As a local designer, what were some of the struggles you have faced? How did you take them?

As local based designers, the biggest challenge is to do things locally.

What/Who inspires you? Why?

We are inspired by our surroundings. The inspirations are just everywhere. Singapore has so many stories to tell. As trained architects, we are always drawn into building details and as avid nature lovers - we just love to capture it on our design too.

What's the most encouraging thing that anyone has said to you with regards to your business?

A repeat customer came to us during a pop-up event just this week and said that she owns many of our scarves. She said, “I want you to know that you’ve got fans okay?”. Being a newish business, we were over the moon to hear that. Her words will keep us creating and will keep us strong when things get hard.

What's the greatest lesson you have learnt since you have started the business?

We have to put ourselves in customers’ shoes and try to meet their expectations. We always try to maintain their trust. We believe the saying “Trust doesn’t come with a refill. Once it’s gone, you won’t probably get it back”.

What's your number one wish for Singapore this National Day?

We wish for Singapore to always be a conducive environment for creative industries by staying open while remaining distinct.

What's your best advice for a budding designer?

Ultimately the person to represent your business is yourself and you have to do it with conviction.

If you put your heart and passion to whatever you do, it will shine through your works.

 

Amreen, Kala Pata

What were you working on before starting your business?

I was working with a design agency in Singapore as a graphic designer.

How did this come about?

When I moved to Singapore, I was constantly on the look out for a brand that was celebrating culture stories from Singapore (and around the world) in the form of gifts and stationery that was sophisticated, of great quality with attention to detail, and beautifully designed. That is how Kala Pata came about.

As a local designer, what were some of the struggles you have faced? How did you take them?

Singapore is an extremely competitive market. As a small business it was initially very challenging to get the products out there.

Sometimes retailers are only interested in following 'trends' hence they didn't really 'get' what I was doing with Kala Pata.

I overcame the obstacles by remaining persistent and believing in Kala Pata despite what people said.

What/Who inspires you? Why?

My grandmother is a huge source of inspiration for me. She was an advocate for women's right to education, a progressive feminist, a published author and the locus of our family. A woman ahead of her time, who nurtured and believed in my creative pursuits long before I had any idea that this was to be my calling.

What's the most encouraging thing that anyone has said to you with regards to your business?

It is extremely humbling when I meet customers who appreciate Kala Pata products and share what I'm doing with their friends.

What's the greatest lesson you have learnt since you have started the business?

I think this quote by Marianne Williamson pretty much sums it up — "Conviction is a force multiplier. If you want something, claim it in your gut. The universe itself responds to your inner certainty."

What's your number one wish for Singapore this National Day?

Singapore is my adopted home country. I love this place!

My wish for Singapore is... keep being this unique melting pot where anyone can come to realise their dreams!

What's your best advice for a budding designer?

Remain true to your voice and create work that is timeless instead of following "trends".

 

Mike, Onlewo

What were you working on before starting your business?

I was in media industry.

How did this come about?

When I took a year break from work. Started taking pictures of my favourite places in Singapore and creating patterns out from them during my free time. Plus, I love decorating my own home space, naturally, I married both my passions together to start ONLEWO.

As a local designer, what were some of the struggles you have faced? How did you take them?

One of it is, "How do I start a collection and where do I source for production places?". I have to spent quite a bit of time searching on internet for production contacts.

What/Who inspires you? Why?

My mum. As she was in fashion line, my siblings and I had to help her with her business. That trained us quite a bit. 

Also, my partner, who is very supportive and open.

What's the most encouraging thing that anyone has said to you with regards to your business?

Someone said that this is very promising business and can tell from my works that they come from my heart.

What's the greatest lesson you have learnt since you have started the business?

Stick to your guns, follow your gut feel and be honest with yourself.

What's your number one wish for Singapore this National Day?

I wish for Singapore to be kinder to animals and be open to differences in opinions and needs. We can be better as a country when we cultivate compassion, tolerance and respect to others.

What's your best advice for a budding designer?

Take the first step, do something you really love. The passion will make your career path easier as it is difficult to run a business.

 

Melvyn, The Rug Maker

As a local designer, what were some of the struggles you have faced? How did you take them?

I believe we are facing what most of the local designers are going through and that is the difficulty to get more exposure. For us, our industry is very small. Moreover, we have chosen to specialise in designing them. Some may say it is a good thing to be niche but being less mainstream has its difficulties too. But nonetheless, we have decided to stay on track and embrace our passion in this field. It is definitely not easy but I believe it can be done as long as we continue loving what we do, keep calm and take a step at a time.

What/who inspires you? Why?

I can't think of any famous individual that has left an impact of inspiration in my mind but I suppose my parents do inspire me through their struggles and achievements. It definitely takes a lot of mental strength to keep reminding themselves why were they walking this path in the first place and answer back with the passion they shared. Without their vigour and resilience, I would not be at where I am today and The Rug Maker may not even exist.     

What's the most encouraging thing that anyone has said to you with regards to your business?

When someone told me that I have shown absolute professionalism in my service and we provided value in what we proposed definitely makes my day. These impressions can go a long way and it definitely drives me to work harder.

What's the greatest lesson you have learnt since you have started the business?

Especially in such a small market, perseverance is key and trust is gold. Whatever we do, we do it with honesty and integrity. We recommend what is best and appropriate according to the scenario of the client.

What's your number one wish for Singapore this National Day?

That's a really good question! In the business point of view, I definitely hope the economy will improve. I also hope that Singaporeans grow to appreciate the local talents that we have and show support. We are all a really creative bunch and I believe we deserve to get ourselves recognised with a further reach of impression.

What's your best advice for a budding designer?

Again, perseverance is key. Have passion in what you do and never stop exploring to expand your creative library.

 

Here's also a little brand introduction for RISIS and The Way We Were:

 

RISIS

Founded in 1976, RISIS was born from a man’s dream to immortalise natural orchids in pure gold, a quest which created a true Singapore icon. The world famous gold-plated natural orchids led to unique works in jewellery, décor and lifestyle pieces, all intricately crafted in-house by people who are passionate about what they do.

Blending its experience in traditional handwork with expertise in advanced precious metal technology, RISIS has achieved exceptional levels of workmanship, precision and artistry that have promulgated the brand around the world. From gifts commissioned for world leaders, to those given to loved ones and family, RISIS brings people closer together. 

 

The Way We Were

Founded by 2 individuals, Zi Xi and Ai Wei, The Way We Were is inspired by the stories of hearts, homes and hopes, to remember and share the way we were. With prints that illustrates living in Singapore before the rise of public housing. 

 

Visit FIVE + ONE at Naiise @ Clarke Quay Central. From now till 30 September 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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