My Perfect Weekend with Winnie Chan of Bynd Artisan

Ms Winnie Chan (left) is married to Bynd Artisan's co-founder James Quan.
Ms Winnie Chan (left) is married to Bynd Artisan's co-founder James Quan.PHOTO: WINNIE CHAN

Who: Winnie Chan is the chief executive and co-founder of Bynd Artisan, a home-grown brand that specialises in personalising leather and paper goods. Bynd Artisan carries the brand mark of Made With Passion, an initiative by the Singapore Brand Office and Singapore Tourism Board to celebrate local lifestyle brands.

Ms Chan, 49, is married to the brand's co-founder, Mr James Quan, 53. They have two children - Vera, 24, an analyst at a business consulting firm, and Josh, 21, an undergraduate in business school.

The brand recently integrated their online and offline platforms and opened a concept store in collaboration with dessert cafe Sunday Folks, called Bynd Artisan + Sunday Folks Experience Store at Ion Orchard.

"On most weekends, our children are out with friends, so it is usually just me and my husband. We like taking walks where there is greenery and nature.

Otherwise, I would be at Bynd Artisan's Holland Village Atelier attending crafting workshops, such as the recent Singapore Kindness Movement 'Singa' Leather Painting one.

I enjoy learning to make something with my hands and, at the same time, interacting with participants and gathering their feedback. It also gives me a feel of what the customer journey is like at the various touch points within our brick-and-mortar ateliers.


Crafting workshops at Bynd Artisan. PHOTOS: WINNIE CHAN

We often have spontaneous moments, like waking early and driving in our convertible to the beach or nature reserve, or going shopping for plants at nurseries. These are all adventures we embarked on when we could not travel.

If it is a weekend with little personal time to spare, we will visit nearby nurseries in Upper Thomson such as Ji Mei Flower or Island Landscape. With more time, we will head to visit World Farm in Yishun or Pick-A-Plant or Terrascapes in Chua Chu Kang.

Interacting with nature has given us a sense of well-being and this common hobby has helped in our relationship. The drive in the fresh and crisp air is therapeutic, and it's usually not too crowded at the nurseries. The people there are also friendly and seldom in a rush.

Some of my favourite plants include the Pitcher Plant, Tillandsia (air plants) and Staghorn (ferns). Each plant is like an art piece - different and unique. I can talk about plants for days.

Some of my favourite quotes are inspired by nature - such as 'plant flowers in others' gardens and your life becomes a bouquet' by Bengali philosopher and writer Rabindranath Tagore.

There is also 'Stand tall and proud. Seek nourishment from the good things in life. Be content with your natural beauty. Drink plenty of water. Remember your roots. Enjoy the view", which is from environmentalist Ilan Shamir's 1999 book, Advice From A Tree.

These sayings align with the values that guide me - being collaborative, community-centric, grounded, optimistic and resilient."