For customers to choose to enter any shop or store, it has to have a unique edge. A walk down Haji Lane is enough to see that almost every single store on that street has a clear and visible unique selling proposition, each one vying very seriously for the attention of passers-by. The competition is strong. So, how is it a shop stands out in a place like Haji Lane? Well, our feature this month, Craft Assembly, does it by hosting a range of items that can have a “Hand-made in Singapore” label attached to them.
At Craft Assembly, the idea is to give local designers a chance to showcase their products. The shop rents out its rack space to local designers to display. For a long time, locally-made products were mostly available at flea markets, limiting their reach. Through the tourist-attraction tug of Haji Lane, they have gained a more secure platform through which they achieve consistent sales in Singapore, and trigger an interest in foreign buyers for shipping abroad.
When I stepped through the doors of Craft Assembly, I admit I was initially overwhelmed by the plethora of little trinkets all over the place; but when I started to take it in one section at a time, it got easier to digest. This treasure trove of a little shop unit features anything and everything from dresses, jewellery, cards, decorative trinkets, bags, wallets, diaries, hair-ties, crafts, vintage toys etc. Some of the items are even a little low on the usefulness-index, being just pretty little trinkets. And who doesn’t love pretty little trinkets? All-in-all, it was like walking into a doll-house.
Wendy, the owner of Craft Assembly, was ever so friendly in showing me around; and upon further conversation I discovered that she had studied interior designing, never practised it, and flew with Singapore Airlines as a flight attendant before her passion for vintage goods and rustic pieces was ignited. It was her own crafting skills that led her to the realisation that there was a lack of a platform for local makers to showcase and sell their goods. I started to feel the connection between the Wendy-spirit that seems not to get tied down by anything, and the concept of the shop I was in.
Finding that her first store a few lanes away from Haji Lane was getting too small, Wendy started a pop-up store. The overwhelming response urged her to open up her second brick-and-mortar store at Haji Lane. At Craft Assembly, the handmade product by local talent is what comes first. Wendy does not curate or dictate the specific items sold at her shop; as long as they are handmade locally, she is open to renting her rack space, and feels no need to micromanage the selection of items. With a keen eye for finding local talent on Facebook and Instagram, Wendy invites local makers to stock at her shop.
Having seen things she deemed “unsellable” flying off the racks like hotcakes, Wendy knows that she can never be too sure about what will sell and what won’t. With each month, Wendy changes some vendors, while others have become a more permanent and regular feature of the shop. Surely, this is what adds her free-spirited nature to this platform-for-all, making Craft Assembly versatile, interesting and unique.
Some of the feature local designers include:
1. When I Was Four (http://shop.wheniwasfour.com/pages/about-us)
2. In-trigue (http://in-trigue.com )
3. Sarah Thursday (http://sarahthursday.storenvy.com )
4. ABIRD (Thailand, https://www.facebook.com/A.bird.jewelry)
Craft Assembly also features some products brought in from Japan (for instance, the vintage-inspired dresses) and a few Thai-designed creations by Thai designers. Its jewellery ranges from chunky gold-plated accessories to delicate silver jewellery, semi-precious pieces, quirky, wooden necklaces and boho-style rings.
If that’s not enough to entice a buyer, the prices are certainly very attractive:
The vintage inspired dresses cost $49.90 to $ 119.90;
The gold-plated accessories vary from $20 to $60;
The wooden collection ranges from $19.90 to 32.90;
The vintage toys sell for as low as $3.90 to as high as $189.90!