24 October 2014

The Business Times x Shentonista — Fundamental

Charmaine, Creative Consultancy, Bag from Solphie Hulme, Necklace from Marni.

Charmaine has the incredible pleasure of being able to work with close friends and family. The six of them, including her brother and husband, came together to start Elementary Co., a company that she describes as a one-stop shop” that works with clients on every aspect of branding and marketing — from design, photography, and copywriting, to strategising advertising campaigns, launches, and events. After working for five years at a large corporation, Charmaine decided that a change was due. “I very much wanted to be part of an intimate collective, where everybody's individual voices could be heard and efforts recognized,” she says. My brother, husband and I had on numerous occasions talked about wanting to start a business together, one that allowed us to pool our different areas of expertise together to work on creative problem solving.” We speak with Charmaine to find out more about why she does what she does, all while waiting to welcome the newest member of her family.

1. Describe a typical day at work.
My work day starts in bed, at around 8.45am which is when I wake up and start replying emails. If I have specific tasks for the team I then send them a list of tasks for the day in our group chat, and I continue answering emails while I get ready and then make my way to the office with my husband. We are out for meetings with clients quite often but if not, you'll find me at my desk working on proposals and quotes, or walking in and out of the office that our creatives occupy to bounce ideas off them and review the projects they're working on. I don't stay in the office past 7pm — even if there's lots of work to be done, I make it a point to have dinner with my husband, family, or friends, and then continue working at home later at night. I've never been one to sleep early and find that I concentrate better late at night anyway, so that's when I work on larger, more important projects and proposals.
2. What is your favourite part of your job, and your least favourite, and why?
The best part of my job is being able to work with people that I truly love and respect, people who are so passionate about their work and who in turn inspire me to be better at everything that I set out to do. I also love that I am able to directly impact the growth of our client's businesses with the ideas we come up with collectively — seeing those ideas come to life thrills me every single time. The least favourite part of my job? I honestly cannot list anything I dislike about what I do right now. 

3. Can you tell us about one milestone in your company or career? Something that you’re most proud of, perhaps.
We've not yet hit the one year mark at Elementary Co., but in the short 11 months that we've been open, we managed to win a fairly large account after going up against a number of big boys in the advertising world. We are incredibly humbled that they decided to take a gamble on such a young company, but seeing how my team banded together to work on round after round of presentations, and how they grew through the experience made me incredibly proud of how far we've come in such a short amount of time.

4. What drives and inspires you to continue to do what you do, day in and out?
The enthusiasm of my team mates and the shared passion that we have in wanting to help our clients present their brands and engage with their audiences in the best possible way is what keeps me excited and inspired. 

5. What challenges do you face at work on a day-to-day basis? What challenges do you foresee in the long run?
We constantly face clients who do not value the creative process and how much time and effort it takes to come up with great designs, a well-functioning website or a proper campaign strategy. Everyone just wants things done fast and for cheap, so we spend a lot of time having to explain the process to them, or justifying timelines and costs. The internet has also allowed clients to crowdsource for the cheapest freelance designers, and there are even apps now that allow you to develop logos and design collaterals for as little as $25! 

6. What do you think about entrepreneurship in Singapore? Eg. Are there more opportunities for entrepreneurs? Is it becoming easier or more difficult for people to start their own businesses?
I personally know and work with a lot of people that that are running their own small businesses, and I generally think that starting your own shop isn't impossible in Singapore. I think there are several things that work in our favour here, such as the large proportion of people connected online (making marketing yourself easier), a very straightforward access to government grants, as well as the things that we tend to take for granted, like our very dependable infrastructure. The things that are not in our favour here however, are rent and increasing labour costs, which are probably the two primary restricting factors or challenges to scaling up.
7. If there’s one piece of advice you would like to give anyone who is just starting his/her career, or his/her own business, what would it be? Or, what is the one most important thing you’ve learnt in your years at work? 
Partner with or hire talented people that make up where you are lacking. Ultimately, (almost) nobody knows everything there is to know, nor is able to do everything in the running of a business. 

8. Describe your usual workplace style in three words. 
Casual but elegant, and comfortable. 

9. If you could wear a uniform of sorts to work for the rest of your life, what would that outfit consist of, and why?
A perfectly tailored white shirt ala Jil Sander, black cigarette pants and gold jewellery. It's appropriate for all occasions — I just need to change up my footwear to make it casual or formal!

10. Do you have any philosophies, mottoes or quotes that you’re living by right now?
"Everything in its own place and time."

This is a Shentonista project for The Business Times, supported by Ermenegildo Zegna.

23 October 2014

The Business Times x Shentonista — Intelligence and Style at Work

Shentonista is pleased to present our next collaboration — this time, we've partnered up with The Business Times, South East Asia's leading source of corporate, financial, economic, and political news, analysis, and commentaries.

The Business Times recently revealed its brand new look, with a cleaner, crisper feel, meant for increased clarity and ease of use. News, both online and in print, is now categorised by industry sectors, rather than geographical markets, creating a more global outlook on business. The new Business Times also includes a brand new lifestyle section, which highlights the latest in recreation, entertainment, the arts, design, food, and shopping.

Shentonista hit the streets with our models, sharply dressed by Ermenegildo Zegna, who then approached and engaged with executives and entrepreneurs on the street, and shared more about The Business Times.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be revealing the faces we shot, as well as insights into how and why they do what they do, while still managing to look immaculately dressed. Watch this space.

Read more about what's new for The Business Times here.
Visit the revamped The Business Times site here.
Visit The Business Times Lifestyle section here.

Read our Shentonista feature in The Business Times here.

This is a Shentonista project for The Business Times, supported by Ermenegildo Zegna.

22 October 2014

Spice of Life

Wye, Banking, Dress Phillip Lim, Wallet Hermes, Bangle Cartier, Watch IWC, Sandals Saint Laurent.

Wye thinks she’s treading on thin ice when it comes to dressing for work. She hasn’t had any problems so far, but she’s sure that “the office outfit police will probably clamp down at some point.” She believes in comfort, above all, and no cookie cutter items; she always looks for “something with a sense of humour, but maintainting some respectability”, and cites brands such as Phillip Lim, Carven, and Stella McCartney as some of her favourites. Wye definitely breaks the stereotype of stuffy banker with her fun sense of style and easy smile, and says her dream job, actually, would be to work for Penguin, the publishing house, or be an art or food critic. “I am a massive foodie,” she admits. “I have a spreadsheet of places to eat at for most cities I visit. And my personal trainer says that my hobby is competitive eating.” Wye says she manages to maintain a balanced lifestyle through discipline and prioritizing, and spends her free time (when she’s not eating) watching documentaries and building up an impressive armory of “useless general knowledge and trivia”.

21 October 2014

CLUB 21 x SHENTONISTA: Behind-The-Scenes (Part 2)

Some of our favourite personalities headed down to Club 21's newest stores at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and were spoilt for choice by the offerings from both Proenza Schouler and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Everyone had a great time picking our their favourite pieces, which they then wore for the campaign shoot days later. Here's a look at how it all happened.

We'd like to say a big thank you, once again, to everyone who came down to be a part of this!

The Club 21 x Shentonista Sartorial Contest is still ongoing, and will last til the 27th of October. Join in the challenge to find the biggest fans of Proenza Schouler and 3.1 Phillip Lim, and stand a chance to win coveted prizes. The contest is open internationally, but prizes must be collected in Singapore. See here for more details.

This is a Shentonista project for Club 21.

20 October 2014

All That Jazz

Ernie, Menswear, Jacket PIMABS, Bag Jack Spade, Watch Calvin Klein.

“Whenever I don’t feel like going to work,” Ernie says, “I dress up more.” You might think that putting outfits together would be easy for Ernie, who works in a bespoke menswear store, but he admits that having to dress up to the nines every single day took its toll on him. “Over time, however, I got to know myself more and became more comfortable with my style.” He shares another little tip to get going in the morning: “I always put on great music when I get dressed: upbeat jazz, classic Bossa Nova, something alternative, or rhythm and blues.” Ernie finds his work most fulfilling when he makes people look good (“Cliché as it may sound, seeing my clients looking dapper and spiffy makes me really proud”) and is himself a firm believer in tailored menswear. But here’s an interesting fact: Ernie is actually trained in classical French cuisine. “I’ve always been interested in fashion, however,” he says. “After a dirty, hot day in the kitchen, all I wanted to do was clean up and dress up.”

Ernie was previously seen here.

19 October 2014

SHENTONISTA Trend of the Week: Abstraction

Featuring: Adora, Emma, Melody, and Barbara

The ladies this week caught our eyes with their attention-grabbing prints, all pared down with solid-coloured separates or simple accessories. What was most interesting is that their outfits looked like pieces of art, as if they came straight off from a frame and onto their dress, skirt, or playsuit. Even up close, we couldn't be entirely sure what the images were. We picked out a flower here and there, some furniture-like objects, a leaf-like swirl — whatever it was, the prints, and these ladies, certainly kept us guessing. 

18 October 2014

Life Imitating Art

Tiffany, Artist, Shoes Nike.

Even before you get to know Tiffany, there’s something about her that you’re immediately drawn to. She exudes a certain indescribable air of cool nonchalance, but not in a pretentious way—she’s just someone that you want to get to know better. And when we do manage to speak to her, we find our instincts to be true. Tiffany works at an art gallery, but in her free time, she’s gained quite a following for her distinctive, intricate, creepy-cool artwork, which she recently started translating into modern-day henna designs. She has a penchant for skulls, occult symbols, and for turning the ghastly into the endearing. Tiffany’s drawing style influences her dress style, or perhaps vice versa; this full black outfit, while anonymous at first, hints at facets of her personality that are waiting to be uncovered. The delicate beaded straps; the unexpected bow tattoo on the inside of her wrist; her phonecase, plastered with a bunch of childlike stickers. Perhaps the next time we bump into her she won’t be in such a rush (to attend her yoga class, of course), and we’ll get to know her a little better.

View Tiffany's work here.