The Story Of

Charmaine Seah-Ong and Derek Ong, Founders of Elementary

Charmaine Seah-Ong and Derek Ong founded Elementary to fill a gap in the branding and marketing industry. They have achieved that, and more. The all-round agency has worked on diverse projects, from the sleek Philippe Starck hotel, The South Beach, to hipster chill-out spot, Lepark. The Ongs perceive the team as their extended family, steering the ship with honesty and openness.  They believe that disagreements, if motivated by a common goal to produce the best possible work, will make the young team stronger. While busy running Elementary, the husband and wife duo are full-time parents to daughter Charlie Rose.

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Huiwen and Kenneth, founders of Studio Asobi

More than three years ago – amid demanding day jobs – Huiwen and Kenneth picked up pottery to spend quality time together. Working with their hands and casting objects out of dust, the lessons triggered a reconsideration of their place on Earth. They asked themselves if they could be the change in their lives. Having worked for a decade in real estate investment, Huiwen went on a sabbatical to Tajimi, Japan to deepen her practice in ceramics. She returned to Singapore and founded Studio Asobi with Kenneth, who was still working as an architect – he has now joined her full time.

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Charles Loh, founder of Mossingarden

Charles Loh is a graphic designer by day and a maker of terrariums by night under the moniker Mossingarden. Besides enabling people to bring greenery that require little maintenance indoors, Charles’s terrariums are sculpted with moss (core material), small plants, stones and miniature figurines that come together to portray a story. He hopes that his living art pieces will invite people, himself included, to slow down and find beauty in nature and its little things.

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Kevin Seah, founder of Kevin Seah Bespoke

Kevin Seah trained as an apprentice seamstress in women's tailoring at a tender age of 17. After over two decades of hands-on experience, he founded his eponymous label to craft quality bespoke and made-to-measure menswear in 2009. The business may have evolved tremendously over the years, yet face-to-face client interactions remain paramount to Kevin’s process – an often neglected stage in this digital era.

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Jackson Aw, founder of Mighty Jaxx

When Jackson Aw set out to create designer toys, he had little knowledge of the production industry, yet his ignorance did not deter him. Driven by curiosity, he visited factories and learnt about production processes and techniques such as hand-sculpting and moulding from scratch. Diving into the industry, he learnt about quality and refinement through a hands-on approach. Today, Mighty Jaxx, the company created by Jackson has produced over 100 original toy sculptures and delivered their products to over 50 countries worldwide.

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Clarence Wee, the founder of Craft Varies

We had the lovely pleasure of visiting the gorgeous light filled studio of calligrapher Clarence Wee, founder of Craft Varies and got to spend the morning with him to better understand his story, learning journey as well as the source of passion for writing. While Clarence has been consistently sharing the progress of his calligraphy and handlettering works ever since he began writing more than five years ago. His journey might have been intuitive, but it was not without self-doubt, honest introspection, hard work and perseverance. People often raised questions on the commercial viability of his path. Yet he devoted day and night and taught himself how to draw or write letterforms. 

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