The DC Edit’s team has been working from home ever since the new announcement and we wonder how creatives in Singapore are dealing with this arrangement. Is everyone feeling a lack of drive and inspiration at home lately? What else are they up to at home? Have they picked up something new to keep themselves busy? In this series, Andrea sits down (Virtually, of course!) with friends to talk about everything staying in and working from home. In the first from our series, we Stay At Home with Vivian Low, co-founder of The Editor’s Market, who fills us in on juggling mum duties with work-from-home life, what helps her unwind, and the future of fashion in pandemic times.
You are a mother of two so how did you and the kids feel when you first heard about the announcement? (Were they happy that they didn’t have to go to school, or sad that they couldn’t meet their friends?)
My girls were super happy because they don’t have to wake up at 6AM in the morning! There is less traveling and I am happier at home! At first, I was worried for my younger girl as she goes to childcare. (Childcare in Singapore is still open but we do let her stay at home voluntarily.)
We have to take on the role of the teacher and I was especially nervous about that. It gets stressful because I’m not a teacher and I worry that [I do not teach in] the same style as her teachers in school.
My husband actually found something online called KooBits with online worksheets, which was very helpful. When it comes to my eldest daughter, she is pretty tech-savvy from her previous Home Based Learning (HBL). She knows how to check her Google Mail, Drive, Classroom, etc… This generation is really tech-savvy!
How are you juggling between taking care of the kids and work, now that they are doing HBL? You might want to share what you do at The Editor’s Market?
I mainly handle HR and Operations at The Editor’s Market. My responsibilities revolve around store openings. Although our stores are currently open, foot traffic is very low and so is the headcount. But we are currently working on new projects and we may share more towards the end of the year! Back at home, it’s quite difficult as my daughter, Ashley, will hog my laptop so I have to resort to doing work on the iPad. We’ll be in the study in the mornings — Ashely doing her HBL, while I sit opposite and work on my iPad.
What do you miss the most before COVID-19? It has been a year!
It’s pretty cliche, but definitely traveling. One of our last trips was to Niseko for skiing. We kept talking about how much we miss it because there was something for everyone! My husband loves the food there, my children loved playing with the snow and I loved the landscape. We have been feeling nostalgic and wondering when we can return. Traveling is definitely one of the top things that we miss!
What is your go-to WFH outfit to lounge in but still look put together? Do you think having to stay home more often has changed your style/preferences?
I usually go for breathable drawstring pants and a camisole. Another outfit I wear often is a jersey t-shirt dress. I rotate between these two when I work from home.
Having access to The Editor’s Market wardrobe, do you have new clothes every week?
Honestly, yes! I do get first dibs but I try not to take new clothes home every week.
We want people to be more conscious and mindful of their fashion purchases too, so that ‘buy better but buy less’ kind of sentiment. If I see myself wearing it for a long time, then yes. It is also wasteful because I find myself having a lot of clothes and I have to declutter my wardrobe more often.
What are some family activities that you and the kids enjoy doing together?
We do play a lot of family games like Jenga and Monopoly. We tried baking together and it’s really fun for the kids! It’s easy for them to mess around with the dough, work with their hands and there are definitely motor skills involved too. After working on it, they get to see it form and eat it. My children are homebodies so they love staying at home doing arts and crafts, baking, etc. They also love that mummy and daddy don’t need to go to work!
What are some of your stay-at-home essentials?
What I like a lot are candles. I love lighting them up on a daily basis, mostly at night when my kids are asleep. The two that I light the most are from Diptyque and Aesop. Another stay-at-home essentials are my furry friends! I have loved animals since I was young and my childhood dream was to become a vet (but it didn’t work out because I’m afraid of cutting them up and seeing blood). So in secondary school I decided, “never mind, i’ll just keep them as pets.”
How many pets do you have?
Growing up, my dad has always indulged me in owning small animals like hamsters, rabbits, tortoises, fish, and a parrot at one time. Right now, I have a Pomeranian-Husky i.e. a husky that never grows big! My husband likes Huskies but we thought they might be too gigantic for apartment living. We learned about the Pomeranian-Husky after we chanced upon one at the park — it looks like a Husky but is much smaller. The other pet I own is… A Chinchilla!
My furry friends keep me really happy. When the girls go to bed, I would spend at least 30 minutes playing with them. Or when I am watching Netflix at night, Poppy (my Pomeranian-Husky) will come and sit beside me. I just like the warm and fuzzy feeling. Also, they will greet you with kisses when you come home!
Describe your self-care routine while you have been busy with your career and kids?
To be honest, I am quite fuss-free but I would do a facial mask if I have the time. I like to wind down with either a book or Netflix. Netflix is more mindless, while a book can get quite intense. I have to use my brain to understand the book and it becomes less of a wind-down activity.
How do you think the pandemic has/will affect the industry you work in?
I think we used to put a lot of focus on the stores. 90% of our time and effort was spent on the stores — organizing, designing and working on the visual merchandising. I feel like all of these are now thrown out of the window.
Everyone is using e-commerce now, so everyone feels equal in a way? It doesn’t matter if you have one store or 100 stores, I feel like everyone is equal now.
The whole process (of shopping during the pandemic) actually educated customers a lot more, they are more aware of store policies, store collections and point systems. And of course, measurements by heart! Even when the pandemic is over, I think people will continue to shop with measuring tapes and no more fitting rooms!
How do you stay inspired during this time?
I do window shopping a lot. I find inspiration from branded luxury boutiques. Not the products per se, but the interior and fabrics they use, as well as workmanship. These shopping trips are quite eye-opening as boutiques add a lot of interesting fabrics to their interior and I learn a lot from them. When I do store visits in town, I will swing by branded boutiques at ION or Takashimaya. I love the CELINE outlet at Takashimaya and Casa Loewe at ION. Just walking by gives me new ideas. Of course, it would be more ideal if I could travel, because the major cities have different store/interior concepts!
What’s your stay-in ritual? Stay tuned to more features from our “Stay At Home With…” series for a peek at how creatives around Singapore are living it up (and staying safe) at home.