You’ve been running a business, FIN Crafted Goods, with your wife Erliana for the past 11 years. What’s been the biggest challenge running a business of your own, as husband and wife?
Running a business is always tough, especially for a brand as niche as ours, because we’re in the business of repairing clothes.
I guess the biggest challenge would have to be a lack of government support for small businesses like us, and that the work can be very consuming since it’s so hard to separate work from life, but otherwise, we’ve been chugging along just fine these past 11 years (laughs).
What do you do when you get creative blocks?
I get out of work and go to places where I find solace, which, for me, would be galleries (because I love art), parks (because I like to run), and books (because both Erliana and I love reading).
A lot of people think that ideation comes from when you’re working, but ideation, for me, comes from when you’re not working. When you’re working, you’re actively doing the work and putting pressure on yourself and your mind, but when your mind is relaxed, ideas will naturally keep flowing in, you know?
A lot of people shy away from taking time off, but for creatives, it’s really beneficial.
On the topic of art, do you have any favourite artists?
Currently it’s David Shrigley. Erliana and I just bought eight pieces of his artwork.
If you ever get the chance to visit our studio, it’s filled with art. We buy art almost every month.
What about reading? Do you have any books to recommend?
The simplest answer is always 1984 by George Orwell, or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. You can never go wrong with classics like these.
For funny books, David Sedaris is really good. And also John Kennedy Toole, the author of A Confederacy of Dunces—it’s a must-read!
Erliana and I have a good, sizeable collection of books at home. In fact, I used to work for Borders, which feels like a whole lifetime ago, so you can guess how old we are (laughs).
I think literature is downplayed these days, so yeah, we’re quite the nerds—there’s always a magazine or a book in our bags whenever we go out. Currently, I have the magazine Casa BRUTUS in my bag. It’s my favourite magazine.
Apart from art and books, do you collect anything else?
I collect watches. I love watches, and would love to work with Cartier one day actually.
I started getting into watches when I was 24. My brother and I told ourselves that when we got our first real paychecks, we would go buy a watch and pay in cash. Till today, I still have the habit of paying for every watch purchase I make in cash, and it sometimes takes the store staff over an hour to count it (laughs).
It’s not a flex though, it’s just that I don’t own a credit card. I only have a debit card and an ATM card, because I believe in buying what I can afford, not on credit. But that’s just me (laughs).
What’s your favourite watch in your collection?
My favourite watch in my collection is a tripartite collab between Zenith, an under-the-radar brand called Bramford & Sons, and a Japanese company called Fragment. There are only 23 pieces in the world, with three in Singapore, and I own one of them—they’re very exclusive.
Another favourite would be my Rolex Pepsi. It’s a 1969 model, called the 1969 GMT-Master ‘Long E’ ref. 1675. I’ve had it for a couple of years, and it’s one of my most prized possessions.