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Articles tagged “business

ARTSYFACT: Creative Karungunis Keeping Memories Alive

Posted on June 11, 2013

This interview was first published on the Project Passion 365 website and was told through visuals. Lilian was kind enough to let us republish and remix it a little. All photos and text provided by the author. The Karung Gunis are rag and bone men in Singapore who visit residences door-to-door to collect unwanted items and newspapers.


Art Director/Copywriter/Producer at ARTSYFACT

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Aaron: An Art Director and a skate enthusiast.
Aaron believes in the insight behind every idea / design.
Casey: A Copywriter and a movie buff.
Casey believes that having a compelling story is vital in getting the message across.
Leon: A Suit / Producer and a coffee connoisseur.
Leon believes that focus and staying true is key to success.

What is your passion in life?

Keeping memories alive and if we can help the environment along the way, even better.

Why is passion so important in life?

Without passion, everything will be done half-heartedly and passion makes all the sacrifices we make along the way worth it.

Do you have Monday Blues (or Sunday Evening Sorrows)?

Never. Most probably because we’re off on Mondays but more importantly, we look forward to every day and every new challenge with eager anticipation.


When did you have the ‘Fuck this, I’m going to do this now’ moment?

When we realized that we couldn’t stomach another lie.


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The Age of Lean Publishing

Posted on April 19, 2013

07 ghostly signing

One evening in 2011 my two young sons suggested that we start a publishing company and produce fantasy and mystery stories for kids, all set in Asia. What they really meant was that they’d supply me with awesome ideas and I would slave away and make it all work. I didn’t have the heart to tell them no.

That was the start of our micro-publishing studio, Super Cool Books. We didn’t have easy access to the usual industry resources. But around the same time I came across some interesting ideas about a new approach to publishing.

In 2010, a former Silicon Valley software developer named Peter Armstrong popularised the phrase “lean publishing”. He came up with a manifesto for this and co-founded the Leanpub publishing platform. He has distilled his idea into one quotable nugget:

“Lean Publishing is the act of publishing an in-progress book using lightweight tools and many iterations to get reader feedback, pivot until you have the right book and build traction once you do.”

It sounded revolutionary, empowering, and also very practical. So we spent our first year exploring this approach. Thanks to some supportive collaborators, we managed to produce the Time Talisman series of e-books with Singapore publisher Select Books, and also launched the first Sherlock Hong e-book with the creative writing school, Monsters Under The Bed. Then, in May last year we started the Ghostly series in a way that really helped us appreciate the possibilities of lean publishing.


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The Imaginarium of littleoddforest

Posted on March 12, 2013

Photo: Lynda Lye

Photo: Lynda Lye


Founder/Designer of littleoddforest™

Tucked in a quiet room within Lynda’s cozy residence lays a mini-showroom and workshop filled with the handcrafted creations of littleoddforest™. Some might see it as an imaginarium of odd wonder, while for others a cumulation of a lifetime worth of work. As a sole entrepreneur who built an entire business thread-by-thread and dollar-by-dollar, Lynda is no stranger to blood, sweat and tears.

Tell us about your brand and the idea behind it?

Founded in 2004, littleoddforest™ is a quirky, whimsical, independent lifestyle fashion accessories label, whose nature, fairy-tales and wanderlust-inspired creations include limited edition, one-of-a-kind quality handmade bags, purses, pouches, plush cushions and toys, home decor, wearables, and various other accessories including sleep eye masks, indoor footwear, baby goods and so much more. littleoddforest™ goods are all as honestly produced as much as I possibly can ensure; made with lots of love and in limited numbers, with many one-of-a-kind creations, both in my tiny Singapore home-based studio and our very own fair-wage labor workshop in The Philippines, which was set up almost 8 years ago. We are the anti-orthodoxy of big brands, shiny leather bags and all things flashy. Many things in our mass-produced world tend to be too de rigueur, slick and cold, and my wish is to make good quality and usable goods that are fun, quirky, odd, and colorful with personality. I make only what I like and my unbridled passion is in pervasive creativity — I will lay my hands on everything if I could!

Tell us about your previous working situation and did you have a background in design?

I’ve worked in both the United States and Singapore as a Graphic Designer after graduating from The School of Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications. Even while schooling in the Science stream, I’ve been making pencil cases, hand-sewn cards and soft toys for friends, with rave reviews, ever since my Mum gave me her very retro-looking vintage Singer sewing machine (it was part of her wedding dowry!) when I was 13, when we had to start our Home Economics classes in Secondary One. It came as no surprise to me when some of my favorite classes in art college in Chicago eventually turned out to be Fashion Accessories Design and Packaging Design, which I took for 2 semesters.

Sewing Machine from Lynda's Mum

Sewing Machine from Lynda’s Mum

What is your favorite part in the process of designing accessories

I enjoy conceptualizing and prototyping because I can go wild with ideas while sketching, and then transforming that drawing into a raw working craft piece excites me, even when a particular idea doesn’t work out eventually (and this happens more often than not!).


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Workspace of 'casual poet culture'. Photo: Rebecca Toh

The Poetics of Freelancing

Posted on March 2, 2013

This is a road for the passionate and strong-willed. In the world of freelancing, freedom is sweet and work takes on a new identity as independence opens the door to self-discovery.

From One to Another

“I crave for freedom in many aspects of my life so this makes me ill-suited for a nine to five,” said Rebecca Toh, who runs the Casual Poet Culture, a charming creative studio dedicated to expressing the magic of simple everyday life through photography and writing.

The self-professed workaholic delights in the joy of traveling whenever she wants to and plans her time as she wishes. The weekdays see her exploring in the name of work — whether scouting for shoot locations or editing photographs; weekends find her exploring, in the name of play. She is plugged in on social media where she engages a community of followers through fun, collaborative projects and personal posts on her freelance journey. Offline, she keeps company with spirited individuals: the like-minded, creative dreamers who dream and do.

Casual Days / Issue 0.1: Travelers by casual poet culture

Casual Days / Issue 0.1: Travelers by casual poet culture. Photo: Rebecca Toh

Toh knows her fate is in her own two hands. She has to constantly keep up with the momentum of getting more work, as supposed to being handed work in a regular corporate setting. “You have to constantly market yourself. What keeps me going is the desire to do better work and to have that work seen by more people,” she said. “I also keep lists of ideas and possible future projects and go back to them once in awhile to see if there’s anything I can work on at any given moment,” she said.

What keeps me going is the desire to do better work and to have that work be seen by more people.

For writer Justin Zhuang, who helms In Plain Words, freelancing was an “accidental” move while he was looking for a suitable job where he could write about topics he was passionate about: creative non-fiction and Singapore’s visual culture, heritage and spaces. Zhuang soon realized he could work this way full-time as more editorial assignments came along.


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Photo: Flickr, yasuhirotao

Globalization and the Swedish Design Economy

Posted on February 21, 2013

The following series of articles draws heavy reference from a Taiwanese book, published in 2009, titled ‘Swedish Design Economics: What Taiwan can learn from the success and challenges of the Swedish design industry‘. In preparation for writing the book, author Max Wang had interviewed over 50 Swedish companies and designers. Some are current faculty members of 3 universities in Sweden or members of trade organisations in the design industry.

Sweden’s brand of design is often closely associated with the distinctly Scandinavian decor that fills the halls of every IKEA showroom in major cities around the world. Like many Asian countries, Sweden is primarily an export-driven economy; one that has built known international brands like H&M, Sony Ericsson, and Volvo over the last few decades. It is also currently the 3rd largest exporter of music after USA and the UK, with Swedish pop music group, ABBA, paving the way since the 1970s.

Its capital city, Stockholm, is widely recognised as one of the top design capitals of the world and is currently the 3rd largest exporter of European furniture after Italy and UK. A considerable feat for a nation that was once considered one of Europe’s poorest countries before the First World War

Part of the Arctic Circle region, Sweden’s summer nights are short and winter days are often dark with little daylight; forcing many of its citizens to spend most of their time at home outside of work. Its modest population of just slightly over 9 million represents a small but affluent domestic market. In 2006 alone, Sweden spent $320 billion kroner (~US$58.7 billion) on furniture and home decor with a population of just 6 million people then. On average, that’s about $53k kroner (or ~US$9800) per person. More than half of that spending went to furniture giant IKEA, which has the largest market share in Sweden for furniture goods.


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