The Business Times Weekend 10-11 June 2017
Conversation Starters: Three new stores make and sell home furniture and accessories that stand out from the rest.
Can anyone have too many ceramic cups or mugs at home? Not if they're from HOTEL&HOME, a home accessories shop set up by Farah Siman and Ernest Ho, a pair of former graphic designers. The engaged couple said that the business is a natural outcome of their own passion for pretty things.
“We come across many interesting everyday objects on our travels which are common elsewhere but very expensive or hard to find in Singapore, such as beautiful handmade ceramics, glassware and metalware,” says Ms Siman.
Mr Ho adds that as this passion grew, they decided to open a select store to share their love for design and the duo hope to make such objects more accessible to Singaporeans. They started the store earlier in the year, selling their personal collection of one-off items from their travels to Japan, China, Norway, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Their current collection includes pieces from Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China. “We met a lot of young artists there, and liked how they have given their modern, artisanal touch to the pieces,” says Ms Siman. They plan to visit Taiwan and Okinawa later in the year to source for new items.
Prices start at S$20 for a small plate, S$30 for a cup and S$80 for a tea set. The cups and mugs are hot sellers, with one customer buying four just so that she can use a different one each day. Mr Ho says that they are also on the lookout for artists whose style they love. “We start by looking at their current available products. We might buy some of their ready stock or discuss our requirements for custom-made products,” he says. He adds: “We are usually quite open to their suggestions and interpretations as we hope it can be an organic collaboration, instead of commission-driven transactions.”
They also hope to work with local ceramic artists to create exclusive pieces. “Our customers tend to be those in their 30s and older, who are looking for uncommon and offbeat items rather than mass-market products,” says Ms Siman.