Design has always been an inextricable part of me. I was forever moving furniture around my home when I was six, and it used to drive my parents absolutely mad. But it wasn’t until I was 26 that I embarked on my first real-world project for a great friend. This marked the pivotal start to my design career.
Since then, hard work and perseverance have led me to great opportunities with Hirsch Bedner & Associates and Blink Design, where I gained exposure to hospitality design.
Being a woman in the design industry certainly has its challenges. It’s still a very male-dominated one, but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with hands-off directors who empowered me to learn and make decisions. I take that same sentiment with my team of very talented women based across Singapore and Los Angeles today.
It’s a misconception to think that just because one trains as an interior designer or architect, it automatically means that one has a great eye or are capable of great design. I don’t believe in putting things or people in boxes. Everyone is capable of bringing value as long as they are passionate about it. What matters most is being able to see projects holistically. This forms the backbone of A Common Thread.
The studio happened very organically at the kitchen table of my West Hollywood home in 2019. I landed my first client when I was in the middle of renovating my home, planning my wedding and coordinating my move back to Singapore. Today, we are a multidisciplinary studio providing creative direction across the fields of branding, interiors, experiences and lifestyle goods.
Thanks to the pandemic, the residential interior design and the housing markets are booming. We’ve had many clients renovate their offices or update their homes. In the brands division, many are refreshing, repositioning and future-proofing their brands so that they will be relevant once hospitality and travel rebound.
We are also seeing a DIY trend, thanks to Pinterest and Instagram. Design has definitely become more accessible, but with that comes repetition and you can always tell the difference between a professional and DIY project.
The importance of staying relevant is a must at A Common Thread, too, and Instagram has become both our website and business development tool. Many requests for smaller-scale styling services for residential homes have come through our Instagram. To support this market, we have launched interior styling and e-styling services.
E-styling has been particularly exciting because consultations are done virtually, and we can support clients almost anywhere in the world.
Ultimately, it’s about being nimble with the changing market. Good relationships go a long way and, if your company has a strong DNA, you can approach any type of project with confidence – provided you give yourself that opportunity.