Have you always been a designer? If not, what was your previous profession? Why did you choose accessories?
No, I have never been a designer before starting Gnome & Bow, neither have I been trained in design. Prior to starting Gnome & Bow, I was doing marketing for a bank, which encompassed event planning and execution, branding and communications as well and client acquisition strategy.
After graduation, I worked in a bank for 2.5 years, but realised halfway that it was not for me, so started to think really seriously about my dream of starting my own fashion brand. After many years of studying bags, I realised that most bags are just bags – plain functional. That for me just didn’t cut it. That’s when the concept of Gnome & Bow got seeded to create bags with a story to tell. I felt that accessories can go beyond functionality and was an ideal medium for storytelling.
What is your personal favorite piece from your entire collection?
My personal favourite, which also has become iconic for the brand, has got to be the Cypress Backpack from Book I: The Hare & the Flying Tortoise. A truly versatile piece that boasts two carrying ways – you can sling it across your back like a backpack or hold it in your hand like a briefcase. The Cypress also houses multiple clever compartments to cater to all your travelling needs. Your wallet, pen, charger, cables and laptop will find a home within the bag that can be easily accessed. Furthermore, there is a sentimental value in this bag as it was the first bag that was prototyped and took 8 rounds of prototyping to perfect its signature form and function. I will never forget this trusty companion that has seen me through my starting out journey. The U.S full grain leather has aged beautifully with use and is amazing to touch now.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We draw inspiration from the classic stories to tales of fancy – anything from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ to ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Coupled with keen observation of how people use things and the needs they have, we develop story elements that are built seamlessly into our goods.
What are your plans for the brand in the future?
By June 2015, we will be on Amazon, serving the US market. We are also planning to take part in world acclaimed fashion trade shows in New York, Las Vegas and Florence.
My goal is for Gnome & Bow gain recognition as a brand that is truly unique, firmly grounding our place in the world of fashion. We want to grow a community of like-minded individuals who believe in storytelling, creativity and imagination. We hope to be able to sell internationally in the next 2-3 years and have our own flagship store in the next 5-7 years.
My dream is to nurture Gnome & Bow to become a world advocate in literacy. When the time is right, we want to give back to society through the love of reading, learning and storytelling. Some ideas that I have at the moment are book donation drives and mission trips to build libraries in parts of the world where literacy rate is low. It would mean the world to me if I could do that and positively impact communities.
How have you/your brand benefited from Taffs membership programmes?
Initiatives supported by Taff such as KEEPERS have been pivotal in developing our presence in Singapore and also gained us exposure amongst tourists and overseas buyers. It has certainly opened many doors for me and also helped me acquire valuable contacts from all walks of the fashion industry.
I’ve also attend courses such retail management and visual merchandising organised by the training centre, which have served me well in my journey growing the brand.
More recently, we have been working closely with TAFF to map our trade show plans for 2016. We feel a sense of belonging in the design community and look forward to doing Singapore proud in these international shows.
Drop by Gnome & Bow‘s website to know more about their products!