Make History

Make History, time capsule
Make History, started by Dutch mum, Anouk van Der EL, allows users to create their own history using physical items (above). Photo: Rebecca Toh

In today's society, when most people share their memories on social media, Make History is a breath of fresh air. Instead of posting key milestones online, Make History allows users to create their own history using physical items. The company was started in 2013 by Dutch mum, Anouk van Der EL.

"People love to create stories and leave their legacy. Make History's product lines help people to save their most precious stories and celebrations with their loved ones in style," she says. She currently has four products in her collection: TimeCapsules, Little Quote Jar, Growth Chart and Treasure Tin. These are sold in design shops, concept stores, galleries and kids boutiques in over 20 countries worldwide. In Singapore, customers can get the products from Tangs Orchard, Mondays Off, Cuckoo and Deer Industries and online via and

She comes up with ideas for the products but works with a group of award winning Dutch designers such as textile designer Mae Engelgeer and product designer Ivan Kasner.

The collection started with TimeCapsules. When her son was born, Ms van Der EL noticed that many of the baby's gifts were of a temporary nature, such as baby clothing or stuffed animals.

Her grandmother, whom Ms van der EL describes as a very cool lady who has travelled the world since the fifties, donated money for her great-grandson's first trip and wrote down a personal bucket list with her best travel tips for when he turns 18.

"Inspired by Andy Warhol, who used to collect bits and bobs of his daily life in boxes that remained sealed for exactly 25 years (he called them TimeCapsules), I decided to put my grandmother's letter in a box together with some other special letters, pictures and a stack of newspapers and magazines of the day of my son's birth," says Ms van Der EL. "That's when the TimeCapsules idea was born; a capsule to capture the big moments in life."

Each TimeCapsule comes with a DIY kit comprising a journal, stickers, washi tape and wrapping paper for users to customise it anyway they like. "Use it for your wedding day, a newborn in the family or memories from a cool trip you wish to save in style," she says.

Make History, time capsule
Photo: Make History

As she loved the idea of saving memories in style, all following products are in that same theme. A Little Quote Jar for all spoken gems worth remembering, a stylish Growth Chart for keeping track of your kids' growth, and a Treasure Tin for all your small treasures such as shells from far flung beaches, Polaroids, jewellery, or your kids' milk teeth.

Items start from S$39 for a Growth Chart.



Designerbox, subscription box, designer accessories

Designerbox allows you to own unique pieces of home accessories, created by designers from all around the world, without even having to leave home.

Here's how it works: you pay a subscription fee and a DesignerBox is delivered to you each month. Inside each wooden box is an object created by a designer, along with a design newspaper and some other goodies.

DesignerBox was founded by Tomas Erel, art director of Iconic Product Collection. The French company aims to showcase designers whose products are often seen in magazines.

Mr Erel explains his motivation for starting DesignerBox. The first of which is business innovation. To get their product out to the shops, most designers have to find a distributor. DesignerBox cuts out that step. "I wanted to find a new business model, one where the product goes directly to the consumer. This business model that values the work of the great contemporary designers but without the constraints."

For the consumer, a DesignerBox subscription lets them understand design, and in the process, designers better.

"I have regular chats with customers and I am very proud when people don't just talk about a carafe that they received from DesignerBox, but also talk about the designer and sometimes the story behind the product. So the product becomes more that just a functional carafe, it starts to be a way to socialise, to share stories with people," says Mr Erel.

DesignerBox recently launched its 32nd edition and while declining to give exact figures, Mr Erel says it has "thousands of subscribers".

Some of the designers who have created objects for DesignerBox include Ron Gilad and Piero Lissoni. Names from Singapore include Outofstock and Nathan Yong.

DesignerBox was founded by Tomas Erel. Some of the objects created include a marble pencil holder by Singaporean Nathan Yong.

Designers are told to create an object that is as personal as possible. "It doesn't have to please people but to tell something from the designer," says Mr Erel.

Some of the objects created include a marble pencil holder by Mr Yong, a candle holder by Japanese designer Kazuhiro Yamanaka and porcelain pot by Mr Lissoni.

Each edition is produced in limited quantities. "We have to estimate the monthly growth so we produce a bit more to ensure delivery to every new subscriber," says Mr Erel. "It also allows new subscribers to buy past editions, or sometimes people want to buy a second box for a gift. But it's not at the same price."

A box costs 35 euros (S$55), but if you take out a year-long subscription, each box will cost 29 euros a month.

"The long term subscription with a monthly payment is the most popular as it is the best way to live the Designerbox experience," says Mr Erel.

This article first appeared in The Business Times