Meet The Lady Behind Curious Creatures
In line with Singapore’s National Day, we want to dedicate this week’s posts to local brands, interiors and of course inspiring makers! We here are Bloesem have always been avid believers of the handmade and so we have created a new column, On the Rise, where we share with you up and coming crafters from all over the world.
When it comes to fashion and style, we ladies prefer something dainty and functional, with a touch of character. Local jewelry brand, Curious Creatures, perfectly meets these requirements with three simple rules they go by: Quaint, Simple, Everyday. Designed and hand-crafted by Larissa Tan, Curious Creatures was founded in 2011, after two other failed attempts at setting up a business venture on Etsy. Lucky for us, Larissa gave up her full-time job to channel all her energy into the brand — otherwise, where else would we find affordable, subtle, statement pieces? We absolutely love the raw and eclectic vibe of the Curious Creatures pieces which makes it so unique. The play on geometric shapes and symmetry is also the brand’s signature style.
With Larissa’s grit and dedication, the entrepreneur is constantly growing Curious Creatures, expanding into home goods with wooden trays and dishes to store and display your jewelry. We had a chat with her on her creative journey and work.
1. Tell us a little bit about your background – where are you from and what did you study?
I am born and bred in Singapore and from a very tender age I knew I wanted to be a designer of some sort. I studied Interactive Media Design at Temasek Polytechnic but never once worked as a Digital designer. I started my career as a graphic designer and after 5 years, I felt like I needed a break from the field. I took a leap and went into retail for the fun of it and found myself in love with the environment.
2. How would you describe your work, and what started you on this journey?
I was working in a vintage store and being surrounded by handmade and vintage all the time it became a dream to someday own a boutique of such.
Curious Creatures wasn’t the first line of jewelry I created. Back when I was a graphic designer, I started 2 other etsy shops, which didn’t take off at all. It was probably the lack of time and commitment to develop the brand but I guess third time’s the charm? I had all these left over materials that I made into jewelry for personal use and received compliments from friends and strangers alike. It sparked the idea and Curious Creatures was born.
I wanted to make simple, everyday jewelry with a twist. So I started playing with asymmetry, combining raw stones with brass in the pieces I initially made. I opened my third etsy shop in August 2011 (yes! We are 5!), listed two handful of items and waited. Within a week, I had my first sale, within 3 weeks, products started selling at a slow but steady pace. With the confidence boost, I worked on more designs, and slowly watch the shop grow. And the rest they say is history.
Till today, we keep to 3 simple rules when designing our collection – Quaint, Simple, Everyday. It is an exploration of shapes, nature, color and a bit of playful. Even our statement pieces, are quiet statements without being over-the-top.
3. Which creative people do you admire or are you stalking at the moment, and why?
I always admire people who can draw. Many may think that a designer would always be able to illustrate but I am definitely not one of them. I love the style of Leah Goren from Brooklyn! I bought a cat illustration scarf from her a few years back even before I found the inner crazy cat lady in me because I was so in love with the style.
4. What do you do when you get a designer’s (or artist’s) block?
Stop whatever I’m doing, put it aside and work on it again much later after a breather. Sometimes going the opposite direction of what I usually would do, helps freshen things a little.
5. Tell us more about your new collection and the inspiration behind it.
We work on mini collections and expand the range along the way.
For 2016, we draw inspiration from the wonders of ancient Egyptian marketplaces and the mystery of architecture of the nile, it features a selection of jewelry reminiscing the blush tones of Egyptian dunes at sundown, a silver of history with a touch of modernity.
6. Describe your ideal environment to work in.
If we were not restricted by budget and space, a dream studio would be one with high ceiling, lots of light, a retail front and a studio space all into one.
7. What creative plans are you looking forward to? or What is your dream project?
The ultimate dream project is to work on a concept boutique curated by Curious Creatures. There are so many lovely, well made products from all over the world that we would someday hope to share with everyone alongside our own range of jewelry and home goods.
8. One thing that people might not know about you!
I am allergic to cats! (But I have 2!)