Handmade in Singapore
In a marked reaction against mass-produced luxury, Singaporean entrepreneurs are reinvigorating the art of handmade crafts for discriminating consumers
Bynd Artisan Atelier
Founded upon a desire to preserve the increasingly rarefied skills of bookbinding, letterpress printing and leather making, Bynd Artisan is a bookbinding and leather goods atelier that taps on the heritage of three generations and over a century of expertise in stationery making.
Here, you may commission custom notebooks that are produced in under 30 minutes by the nimble hands of craftsmen who have spent over four decades honing their skill. Proudly presenting over one million permutations, this service offers customers the opportunity to select from different cover options and choose from the various kinds of metal embellishments to create their one-of-a-kind notebook.
In addition, the Ready-made by Bynd collection features a line of high quality, understated leather and paper products in classic shades of taupe, black, brown, red and teal. We are particularly enamoured with the soft Italian leather sleeve jacket that can be paired with the Smyth-sewn (for more writer-friendly pages that fall flat) Journal Enviro, which is made of recycled food pulp. The perfect finishing touch, in our opinion, is that for a small fee your name or initials can be hot-stamped onto leather items in gold or silver.
A Dose of Something Good
Robert Upton found it so difficult to find a candle that had a fragrance special enough to be a gift for his wife that he decided to make her one himself by studying perfumery online and reading books on creating scents. Today, the first hand-poured scented candle he created, Rose Your Bottega, remains one of the four signature scents he retails under his exquisite candle brand, A Dose of Something Good.
Redolent of roses and lychee, Rose Your Bottega is based upon Upton’s fond memories of the first home he and his wife shared in London. Every scent he creates is similarly inspired by a moment, memory or special tale. He starts by capturing the nose of each scent, carefully blending essential oils himself. This essence forms the foundation of the blend that he then works with a local perfumery to produce to his specifications.
Made using only the finest quality paraffin-vegetable blend wax, natural fibre wicks and scents created from the very best ingredients, natural extracts and essential oils, his luxurious candles are presented in beautiful hand-cast porcelain containers. They certainly offer a dose of something good in more ways than one. We can’t get enough of Verbena Around the World ourselves. It’s a delightfully invigorating combination of verbena, lemon and vanilla.
Upton, a freelance creative advertising director, continues to personally make his hand-poured candles in small batches and produces an average of 50 a week.
The J. Myers Company
The first thing that drew us to the handcrafted leather creations from The J. Myers Company was the minimalist aesthetic that underpinned the conception of every piece. Unsurprisingly, founder-proprietor Jeremiah Ang, a self-taught leather craftsman, is very much inspired by the design philosophy of iconic duo Charles and Ray Eames. His pieces are thoughtfully functional, boasting beautifully spare silhouettes with a timelessness that discriminating shoppers will admire. They invite you to focus on the suppleness and refinement of the leather they have been shaped from, the artfulness of their construction, and the promise of the gorgeous patina they will likely develop over time and use. In other words, they are designed for those who march to the beat of their individual drums, not slaves to fashion, because The J. Myers Company creates leather goods that acquire personality and character through use. They are built to last.
We are partial to the decidedly urban Slim Tote, a tall and narrow black leather bag that will comfortably accommodate your laptop, notepads and other weekday necessities, and transition seamlessly to meet your weekend carry-all needs. Ang also offers a bespoke service and frequently stitches made-to-measure custom straps for watch lovers that are designed to perfectly fit each wearer’s wrist. We particularly love that every piece is finished with the owner’s initials embossed onto the leather.
Made-to-order and crafted by hand, Mmerci Encore’s all-natural aromatherapy preparations are infused with pure, therapeutic grade essential oils and contain raw, organic (wherever possible) ingredients. Yes, that means that you can expect them to be free of preservatives and synthetic additives, and count on them to offer both your skin and soul pristine, natural honest-to-goodness benefits. It helps that founder Alli Sim—who fills every order and prepares each bath, skincare and aromatherapy item personally—is a bona fide expert. The former beauty editor at Harper’s Bazaar built her career on testing, reviewing and studying beauty products. And she’s convinced that raw, organic ingredients are simply more effective and better for you.
Sim’s range spans everything from hand-poured beeswax aromatherapy candles to all-natural essential oil perfumes, soaps and home spa products. Each product is prepared in very small batches using ingredients primarily sourced from France and Australia. Her organic sugar scrubs infused with essential oils are a hot favourite. They leave your skin glowingly soft and your spirits pleasingly high.
Designed and constructed with sustainability in mind, the Bamboobee bicycle fuses ecological responsibility with design and functionality in great style. It is the brainchild of engineer and avid outdoorsman Sunny Chua who crafted his first prototype in 2011 and proceeded to put it to the test by riding it through Central Asia over nine months. Made of bamboo harvested in a village in the mountainous region of Hunan province where high altitude and loose soil produce exceptionally strong specimens, Bamboobee frames are meant to be stronger than conventional steel equivalents. The natural dampening effects of the materials they are made of are meant to deliver a glide-like ride offering exceptional comfort.
The bamboo is harvested by local villagers before it is transported to Guangzhou, where a furniture craftsman transforms them by hand into bicycle parts alongside joints also made of natural materials. In Singapore, it takes another team of five nearly three hours to assemble each bicycle. The very nature of bamboo adds to the unique beauty of every Bamboobee bicycle. And to further enhance the aesthetics of each piece, artisans have been carefully trained to select only the finest bamboo for bicycle construction. The result is a thing of exceptional beauty that is a true joy to behold.