Coming from a family of creatives, it was no wonder Pamela Ting ended up in a creative occupation, furniture and homeware design.
What’s your story?
I come from a family of creatives. My father is a local artist who was from Malaysia and made his way to study at NAFA 50 years ago. So growing up with a house filled with canvases, sculptures, scrap craft material is a different kind of playground for a kid. My mom is the sensible, practical one who, at that time, basically believed that the life of a designer/artist was going to be hard. She made sure we took a path that would make our lives easier. So I studied finance and economics. But you see, beauty in art and design has never left me. So when I met Jess, my business partner, who, like me, saw the need for beautiful things but understood the practicalities to thrive, we formed a team. A SCENE SHANG team.
SCENE SHANG (新赏) literally means “new” and “appreciation.” It is also a play on the Chinese words for appreciation “欣赏“ also pronounced xin shang. Our brand philosophy is to dig deep in our roots in an immersive search for stories within Asian culture. We want to make meaningful furniture that become objects for story-telling through the generations as treasured memories and family heirlooms, with design elements that almost always touch on Chinese culture and heritage. To create contemporary furniture and homeware pieces that will instill a new appreciation for Asian culture and history.
In a short span of two years, we’ve won many awards and received recognition for our designs and our business and, we recently opened our flagship store at Beach Road.
What excites you most about your industry?
While it remains a staple in our everyday lives, it is ever evolving with the times. Furniture, like art, is very telling of the time and place it was conceived and made.
What’s your connection to Asia?
We are Asia. We live and breathe Asia and the reason for our existence is Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. It is vibrant, forward, efficient and an extremely welcoming place for start-ups.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
船到桥头自然直 － when the boat reaches the bridge, it will naturally straighten.
Who inspires you?
My parents. They are both in their 60s and their drive, dreams and ideas in wanting to effect change and create an impact is just amazing.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
How small we are in the entire universe. I’ve been watching these videos on Facebook and they show you the scale of the earth to the sun to the milky way to the rest of the galaxies. They definitely put things in perspective.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started SCENE SHANG earlier, but then again, I always believe everything happens for a reason and there is a time and place for everything.
How do you unwind?
I take a long bus ride, at least 45 minutes.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Cliched, but Bali. I guess it’s got something for everyone at any time of the day. Coffee, beers, sun, sand, water, massage, yoga… I can go on.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Cosmos – Carl Sagan.
Shameless plug for your business:
The forerunner in Asian contemporary homeware and furniture design
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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