We caught up with Tina Yong & Connie Chau, the founders of Mark & Scribe, which sell personalised vegan and cruelty free travel and personal accessories. They were inspired to make products that looked sophisticated and had a chic finish to complement the everyday modern woman.
Connie, what was the journey to launching the brand? How did you link up?
Tina and I moved to Singapore 6 months apart and we met each other through her fiancé. We started hanging out a lot after our move and always had trouble fitting our cosmetics in one toiletry bag. We both travelled a lot and wanted a cosmetic case that was chic, personalised and able to fit all our brushes and toiletries. We couldn’t find any in the market so we decided to make our own, and that was the start of Mark and Scribe.
Personalisation is a big part of what you do, and also what we do. Do you think this is where the retail market is headed? Do customers demand more control over what they purchase in the current market?
I think being able to personalise a product is definitely where the market is headed. It gives the consumer a sense of pride and ownership, that they can say they own the product and they were part of the personalisation process. Personalisation also makes perfect gifts because it tells the receiver that the person who gifted the gift gave a lot of thought into choosing it. You can see a lot of big retailers are offering/leaning towards personalisation now because they see consumer demand for it.
Tina, tell us about your sense of style. How does your everyday life, business and family, affect that?
My style definitely changes a lot, I love trying new looks and experimenting with colours. I work from home so for everyday life you’ll find me in comfy basics or gym clothes but when I’m filming or attending events I love my dresses and colourful suits.
Tina: Take us through your InStitchu journey. Did you enjoy the process? Tell us about the garment you designed.
This is the first time I’ve had a custom suits made and I was really surprised with how easy the whole process was. I hopped on a zoom call with Madeleine (InStitchu Brand Manager) and Cherry (Head Womenswear Stylist) who both walked me through the design process and I was able to customise pretty much everything.
For my white suit, I chose to have the jacket made longer, added extra buttons at the front so I can wear it as a dress and I also changed the pant into a matching skirt.
As for my pink suit, I went with the two button closure with white shell buttons to create a little contrast between the pastel pink and I opted for the besom pockets. For the pant I chose a cropped length with cuffed bottoms and inseam side pockets.
Connie, tell us about your sense of style. How does your everyday life, business and family, affect that?
I work from home so you will always see me in gym gear or oversized shirts or comfortable basics. I do like to dress up for an occasion but I usually wear a lot of monochrome colours.
Connie, take us through your InStitchu journey. Did you enjoy the process? Tell us about the garment you designed.
I had a video call with Cherry who explained the whole process to me in detail, from the fabrics to the cuts and suit detailing - I learned a lot from her! When it came to measurements, there were explanatory videos that helped me measure myself. It was an incredibly easy and enjoyable process.
I had 2 suits made, a white and a pink one.
For my white suit, I went for a longer double breasted jacket with a peak lapel and white shell buttons. I paired it with fitted cuffed pants and side pockets. For the lining, I chose a white silvery pattern and monogrammed my name in gold calligraphy
For my pink suit, I went for a shorter jacket with a notch lapel and ivory shell buttons. For the pants, I chose a hook and bar waistband closure with side pockets and cuffed at the ankles. For my lining, I chose a sky blue patterned lining and also monogrammed my name in gold calligraphy.
What I liked about the process was being able to specify where to have the buttons and pockets to my liking. I also loved that I could choose my inner fabric lining and monogram my initials in my chosen colour.
What advice would you both give to someone looking to start their own business and brand?
The e-commerce market is rapidly changing, especially with easier access to manufacturers and technology. Coupled with everyone working from home and having more spare time on their hands, the competition is really high. Make sure you do a lot of research on your products, your competition, your target market and create a sound business plan.
See the full range of Mark & Scribe accessories here.