Singapore lifestyle brands are shining abroad

Simone Jewels, Porcelain and Faire Collective.

When lockdowns prevented Ryan Choy from travelling in 2020, he began taking photos of his uber-stylish briefcases in a housing board car park.

“At the start, we assumed that because we were trying to market globally, we’d have to use a Caucasian model and do shoots overseas,” says the CEO of leather products maker Faire Collective, which got its start in 2018 as the nation’s highest-backed Kickstarter project.

“So we created this idea that ‘oh, maybe it’s not a Singapore brand’,” Choy continues. “But in the last year, we have stopped trying to hide this”

The chief executive is surprised, but pleased, to learn that marketing and product photos featuring heartland locations, such as Joo Chiat and Kallang, are driving international sales. In addition to the republic, Faire Collective’s largest markets are the US, Australia, and the Middle East, with buyers ranging from businessmen, bankers, and lawyers to photographers and Silicon Valley start-up types.

Ryan Choy started Faire Collective as a Kickstarter project in 2018. (Photo: Faire Collective)

“We do get customers asking: ‘Where was this shot?’” he says. “Singapore’s landscape is very different; a mix of greenery, HDBs, and modern architecture. It’s something fresh.”

How do customers respond when they discover the brand comes from the Little Red Dot? “People think of Singapore as efficient, so they know we’ll deliver on time and respond quickly to customers,” Choy says. “It works to our advantage.”