My Bag

Bling to help those in need

Ms Shareen Wong hopes to benefit victims of domestic abuse through the sale of pre-loved jewellery

Walking in with a large cardboard box tucked under her arm, Ms Shareen Wong, a former radio presenter-turned-jewellery entrepreneur, says: "Another jewellery donation just came in this morning. People are so generous."

The 42-year-old launched her own multi-label jewellery line, Embrace Jewellery, in 2013.

This year, she spearheads Embrace Jewellery's first charity initiative, The Re-Embrace Charity Drive, in collaboration with the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO).

"I always thought, when I have my own business, I have to do something that'll benefit women. Now that I've established myself, it's time to give back and help women in need.

"When I was looking through my accessories drawer earlier this year, I realised that I have so much jewellery and many pieces are in good condition," she says.

Seeing that there is a lack of charity drives involving accessories, she decided to start one for donated jewellery, marrying her two passions.

Ms Shareen Wong's love of jewellery began in 2007.
Ms Shareen Wong's love of jewellery began in 2007. ST PHOTOS: FELINE LIM

Proceeds from the sale of these accessories at SCWO's thrift shop, New2U, will go towards Star Shelter, a crisis shelter that provides temporary refuge to women and children victims of domestic abuse.

Embrace Jewellery has collected more than 500 pre-loved pieces since March 8, with local celebrities such as radio DJ Jamie Yeo and actress Oon Shu An donating various items, including necklaces and bracelets from their troves. It met its target of 500 pieces in just a month.

"We want to encourage people not to throw out their jewellery. It can be recycled for a good cause. We also want to raise awareness for SCWO."

Jewellery has been a big part of Ms Wong's life since she went on a solo around-the-world trip in 2007.

"I was never into jewellery before that. I couldn't find things that were unique or pieces that I liked.

"I saw these great-looking boutiques and I wanted to buy everything, but obviously I couldn't," she says. "So I thought, maybe I should start a store to curate pieces from all over the world."

Despite having no experience in running a business, the ex-radio presenter with Power 98FM opened her first lifestyle store, Kai Life, in 2007.

"Many think that radio presenters cannot sell, but I don't see it as selling. I see it as helping somebody find a solution."

  • ON HER BAG

    I bought this pre-loved Prada Dettagli Tote in great condition from one of my best friends. It is spacious and convenient for my travels.

She believes in taking the time to listen to her customers' preferences. "After a while, you build a relationship with them and you know their style. This way, I can recommend them items I think they would like."

Besides having her own brand, Ms Wong also stocks global jewellery labels such as Spanish brands UNOde50 and Velatti, exclusive to Singapore.

She also sells men's jewellery for which demand has surprised her. "Men are starting to accessorise and women want to buy accessories for the men in their lives."

Embrace Jewellery has been carrying chunky silver and leather bracelets for men since May last year.

Ms Wong is dating a manager at Osteria & Pizzeria Mozza who is half-Argentinian and half-Italian. They met at a tapas bar in Spain when she was there in 2015 for a jewellery show.

"It was so cold, it was raining, but then, I met this person who was nice to me and who could speak English," she says.

He moved to Singapore a year later to be with her.


Things in her bag

KEY CHAIN

My Paul Smith key chain reminds me of my cat, Ocho. The key chain was a Christmas gift from a friend.

BOOK

I like carrying a book when I travel. This is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It's filled with life lessons.

EYELINER

I love eyeliner. It's the one make-up item I cannot live without. This one from MAC, Engraved, is my favourite.

BOTTLE

This was from a Christmas gift exchange. Coincidentally, I was looking for a water bottle.

BOLUDA BRACELET/ NECKLACE

This is one of my favourite pieces from UNOde50 and it is versatile. It can be worn as a choker or a wrap bracelet.

MAKE-UP BAG

My parents bought this in Italy for me. They made a nice choice with this one. You can't go wrong with black.

SUNGLASSES

This pair of sunglasses from Armani is a Christmas gift from my boyfriend.

WALLET

This comes with a strap, so I can carry it as a handbag. It is from a local label called J. Keyer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Bling to help those in need '. Print Edition | Subscribe