START­ING A NEW CHAP­TER

Cus­tom book­bind­ing ate­lier Bynd Ar­ti­san has found suc­cess in the dig­i­tal age by of­fer­ing ar­ti­sanal prod­ucts that evoke nos­tal­gia

ZbBZ (Singapore) - - IN FOCUS - TEXT LIM FONG WEI / 林方伟 PHO­TOG­RA­PHY 龙国雄

老装订公司转型成Bynd Ar­ti­san后士气如虹,在三年内成为李显龙总理表扬的企业蜕变典范。新一代舵主在以人为本的传统上加以创新。

Brand Own­ers 品牌舵主

Hus­band-and-wife team of James Quan, 49, and Win­nie Chan, mid-40s. Bynd Ar­ti­san创办人关卫贤和曾薇薇

Brand Story 品牌故事

By re­boot­ing her fam­ily’s 72-year-old sta­tionery and book­bind­ing busi­ness, Chan has pulled off a re­tail coup. The third-gen­er­a­tion heir to Grand­luxe set up cus­tom book­bind­ing ate­lier Bynd Ar­ti­san with her hus­band in 2014, even as book­stores and sta­tionery shops floun­dered in the dig­i­tal age.

By of­fer­ing per­son­alised note­books and leather crafts that show­case the brand’s Asian roots and her­itage, Bynd Ar­ti­san has tapped into a grow­ing de­mand for ar­ti­sanal prod­ucts with a whiff of nos­tal­gia.

The cou­ple also re­trained older pro­duc­tion-line staff and turned them into crafts­men who now con­duct book­bind­ing work­shops at Bynd Ar­ti­san.

Bynd Ar­ti­san’s of­fer­ings in­clude leather prod­ucts such as card hold­ers, key fobs and lug­gage tags. It also works with lo­cal de­sign­ers and artists to pro­duce items such as ap­parel and clutch bags.

The brand’s abil­ity to rein­vent it­self was a suc­cess story cited by Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong at this year’s May Day Rally speech.

“Our col­lab­o­ra­tors spur us on to de­sign prod­ucts that are out­side our ar­eas of spe­cial­i­sa­tion. This also en­sures that our team and cus­tomers re­main ex­cited about our brand.” — Win­nie Chan

72年老字号文具装订公司“艺联”(1945年创立)第三代传人曾薇薇和丈夫关卫贤三年前应用设计思维和策略,将品牌脱胎换骨,转型为奢华文具与生活时尚品牌Bynd Ar­ti­san。“蜕变”企划把品牌手工装订的DNA推向前方,为老牌转型之余,又重新培训忠心老员工,保住他们的工作。品牌除了文具品,还跨界到生活时尚品,与本地设计师、歌手、餐馆等推出手握包、精致盒装马卡龙、服装系列等,展现设计将品牌引上新境界的力量,得到李显龙总理在今年劳动节致辞时点名赞赏。

Se­cret To Suc­cess 成功秘诀

The brand’s her­itage has been a unique sell­ing point. Ini­tially, the founders thought of pitch­ing the com­pany as a for­eign la­bel and then launch­ing it here af­ter suc­ceed­ing over­seas.

But a friend ad­vised them to show­case the brand prove­nance in­stead, in­clud­ing its crafts­men and work­shop tra­di­tion. Grand­luxe had reg­is­tered as a book­bind­ing work­shop called Goy Liang Book-Mak­ing Com­pany along Mo­hamed Sul­tan Road in 1947.

“The brand is built on a foun­da­tion that has ex­isted for over 70 years. Our soul and cul­ture set us apart,” says Quan.

Be­sides high-end pa­per prod­ucts, sta­tionery and leather goods, Bynd Ar­ti­san also fo­cuses on the cor­po­rate gift busi­ness and col­lab­o­ra­tions with cre­ative tal­ent from dif­fer­ent fields.

Tie-ups with names such as fash­ion de­signer Priscilla Shun­mugam and leather artist Cherin Sim in­ject new ideas and sus­tain in­ter­est in the brand.

Chan says: “Our col­lab­o­ra­tors spur us on to de­sign prod­ucts that are out­side our ar­eas of spe­cial­i­sa­tion. This also en­sures that our team and cus­tomers re­main ex­cited about our brand.” 关卫贤说:“产品品质好是必需的,不在话下。关键是要跟竞争者与众不同,才能出奇制胜。”曾薇薇补充:“品牌建立在我们超过70年的根基上,所展现出的人文和灵魂是我们独一无二之处。我们曾想过把品牌扮成一个外国品牌,从海外红回新加坡。经过一个朋友点醒之后,我们把重心从产品折回人的身上,突显老工匠和悠久的工坊传统——一拥抱本土根源之后,品牌的真实精神就水到渠成,成为卖点。”转型后,品牌的核心由精致纸制品、文具和皮革品;为企业量身定制的赠品,以及和不同领域创意人协作的产品构成铁三角。关卫贤解说,核心产品采用当代而永不过时的简约理念设计,符合品牌的核心顾客群——专业人士的品味,而跟不同创意人士,比如服装品牌Ong Shun­mugam、歌手Gen­tle Bones、皮革绘图师Cher­ine Sim的合作,则为品牌注入新意,源源不断地激活顾客对品牌的兴趣。曾薇薇说:“我们不限制合作者的概念,从他们身上学习,鞭策、推动自己去创制我们专长以外的产品类,这也确保我们的团队和顾客对品牌感到兴奋。”

Sig­nif­i­cance To Sin­ga­pore 对新加坡的意义

The two founders say they have seen a shift in the at­ti­tude of con­sumers here post-SG50 cel­e­bra­tions in 2015.

“Sin­ga­pore­ans are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­fort­able with their iden­tity and their de­mand for cre­ative prod­ucts made here is also grow­ing,” notes Chan. “They ask that lo­cal prod­ucts nar­rate our sto­ries and view­points."”

Her hus­band adds that many com­pa­nies that source their cor­po­rate gifts from Bynd Ar­ti­san have asked the ate­lier to in­sert a print-out of its brand story in­side. “They are very proud to let their clients know that the gift they are re­ceiv­ing is an out­stand­ing Sin­ga­pore prod­uct.” 五年前构思品牌转型时,他们不确定新加坡品牌在本地是否做得起,但SG50之后,他们观察到国人心态的转变。曾薇薇说:“随着新加坡社会逐渐成熟,国人越来越关心自己的身份认同,对本地文创品的需求也提高,要求本地产品讲述我们的故事和观点。”关卫贤也指出:“许多企业来找我们量身定制赠品时,要求我们印制联名卡片,放置赠品里头,很自豪地让嘉宾拿到赠品时,知道这是一件新加坡的优良产品。”

Plans For The Fu­ture 未来计划

The brand will open its fifth store in Raf­fles City this month. It also has a few col­lab­o­ra­tions lined up: It will work with home-grown de­signer Olivia Lee on fash­ion ac­ces­sories such as clutch bags and jewel-boxes in­spired by the form of the book, as well as with de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture firm Min­istry of De­sign on a col­lec­tion of leather fash­ion ac­ces­sories.

Leather prod­ucts now make up 70 per cent of Bynd Ar­ti­san’s busi­ness, with sta­tionery mak­ing up the rest. Chan says it will con­tinue to bol­ster its po­si­tion­ing in life­style goods.

De­pend­ing on cus­tomers’ feed­back, it will roll out more lim­ited-edi­tion items from tie-ups with var­i­ous per­son­al­i­ties. For in­stance, Chan says Lee’s book-in­spired de­signs can be de­vel­oped fur­ther to cre­ate a “li­brary” for Bynd Ar­ti­san.

The brand’s suc­cess has drawn in­ter­est from prospec­tive part­ners in China and the Mid­dle East, so over­seas ex­pan­sion might soon be on the cards. 8月将在莱佛士城开设第五家专卖店,接下来将与女设计师李韵思合作推出书本造型的手拿包首饰盒等时尚饰品,以及跟Min­istry of De­sign推出品牌首个皮革系列首饰。虽以奢华文具出身,但纸制品目前占30%,皮革占70%,曾薇薇透露未来将巩固品牌的生活时尚地位。品牌将继续与不同创意人推出限量协作品,根据顾客反应扩展空间。曾薇薇说:“譬如跟Olivi­a的书本设计品还可以不断扩增,打造一个Bynd Ar­ti­san的‘书库’。”品牌的成功也吸引不少中国和中东等商家的合作邀约,关卫贤透露Bynd Ar­ti­san不久将走出海外,让新加坡品牌红出小红点。

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