We love how businesses bring people together.
Chuin Wei, the founder of Après Avant, has been a Perk by Kate customer for quite a while now. When she contacted me to find out more about the bra recycling initiative we do, we decided to meet up and get to know each other a little better. We hid out at a quiet cafe, and the 2 hours I spent with her was most interesting. She not only gave me tips about lip care, fascinated me with her quest to discover the best shampoo for sensitive scalp, I was also thrilled by her tales of adventures to some of the most obscure parts of the world, finding out how natural ingredients are grown and processed.
Chuin Wei started Après Avant out of her curiosity for reading ingredient lists in the products that she used. The more she read, the more intrigued she became with what she was using. And she became conscious of how her own purchasing behaviour impacted herself and the environment.
After that meet-up, we decided to work on a beauty kit together for our friends, which has finally come to fruition. And now, we have 50 beauty kits to give away! :)
In this beauty kit, you will get to sample:
- Lip balm from Akar, made using natural ingredients sourced from the Tibetan plateau.
- Good Medicine Goddess Glow body cream, which combines rejuvenating natural ingredients from plants that thrive in a wild desert landscape into a luxurious body cream, safe for even pregnant and nursing ladies.
We wish we could do more, but as small businesses ourselves with limited resources, we can only give away the beauty kit to the next 50 orders above S$150. We hope to do more for you next time :) Beyond this and more importantly, if you are keen to support another local small business, enter "PERKS" at apres-avant.com for a cart discount.
Thank you for supporting small businesses!
*Giveaway ended 3 November 2017.
Many of you would have seen our Instagram posts about our latest launch. And we can't wait to share more. But before that, we would like to address a topic we faced recently.
Some customers have shared that our model choices are too skinny, and they hope to see a better and perhaps more realistic representation of body shapes out there. They feel that a skinny model implies that we support a skewed notion of beauty.
Our position is far from that, however. Perk by Kate's ethos from the beginning has always been about embracing one's natural beauty, and we never want to deviate from that. We agree that some of our past models inclined toward the slim side. However, they were not selected because of how slim they were, which we will explain further later. The models we have worked with are definitely not unhealthy individuals and, in fact, a few exhibited rather healthy appetites during our shoots! :P
Ideally, we would like to photograph our intimates on both petite and full-bust ladies, and if Asian models are available, even better! But truth is we are faced with talent constraints which restrict us from achieving this.
The talent pool of models in Singapore is mostly a ‘nomadic’ one. Models from all over stop by for a couple of months, take on as many gigs as they can find before moving on to the next big city. Singapore is, for most, a stepping stone before they land up in the fashion capitals of China and the US. If I were a model myself and I had a choice, I would do the same too since that’s where the well paying jobs are.
This means that at any point in time, the pool of modeling talent in Singapore is actually quite limited. And as you can surely imagine, out of an already limited pool of models, the ones who are willing to take on lingerie assignments form an even smaller subset.
As a result, every casting call we hold typically sees a maximum attendance of about 3 models, all usually equally petite. From there, we try to select a model who can embody the Perk by Kate personality and showcase our intimates in their most natural light. We try really hard to avoid “over-sexing” our intimates. That just isn’t who we are. We wish we could find a perfect model every time but we just have to work with the best model available at any point in time. Just as in real life, there is no perfect body.
We almost never get to work with the same model twice. Just when we form chemistry and would like to approach the same model for our next shoot, we find that she has jetted off to Guangzhou or Shanghai where modeling jobs are abundant. The hunt for our next model begins all over again.
Ingrid, our first ever model, is now based in Hangzhou and doing really well.
I am really glad that our customers have written to us about this. This shows that you care and feel a connection with us. For that, I am thankful. But know that at Perk by Kate, we do not push or aspire towards a particular body shape. We know we can't because we are all made differently. This is why we devote resources quarterly to photograph ''real" ladies at our #PERKSQUAD features. This is a campaign we will continue to do. We can all be comfortable in our own skin.
Thank you for hanging on till the end. This launch, we experimented with more styles, including a push up padded bralette (with push up pads! Of course, normal pads will still be included) and full-cup plunge bralette, both crafted from a gorgeous Japanese lace. We also expanded our maternity line-up to include a smooth nursing bra.
Thank you for your utmost support, have a great weekend!
In the past 4 months, we took some time to contemplate the future of the Perk by Kate brand. From our years of experience designing lingerie for fit and comfort, we really wanted to take the Perk by Kate collection to the next level. Our ideal look is something sophisticated, something smartly designed, something that looks really luxurious but is actually affordable in reality. And we realised that we could not achieve all of these ideals if we did not invest more in each and every little detail that makes up a seemingly-simple bralette. After the success of our Alexis upgrade, we decided it would be the right move to take it up another notch with the Naomi and Bella Swan styles.
Naomi and Bella Swan 2.0
Using 100% cotton lining which stays cool even in this humid and warm weather, non-tarnish rose gold hardware, a supportive band custom made in the right colour and stretch, and a choice of scallop or eyelash lace specifically chosen to last in the wash, we simply cannot wait for you to meet the revamped Naomi and Bella Swan. We know fit has always been a tricky issue, which is why we are particularly proud of our new adjustable band feature to cater for different band sizes. If you have a fuller bust, simply size up! Lastly, you can have your choice of T-back or inverted-V back to suit most of your clothing needs.
We hope you like what we've done!
It is the last day of 2016. This year was a significant one for me. I took the plunge and left my corporate job in February 2016 to focus on this baby full-time. With all the hopes, plans and dreams that I set out to achieve, how did this year turn out?
One of the first and most important things I did was to gain more control over the quality of our bralettes. Every detail matters, and our aim is to keep making small but gradual improvements to our products. We produced our own padding for our bralettes and did a replacement campaign for them. We also began purchasing lace directly from source. In the coming year, we will produce our own bands and straps for better consistency and transition to better hooks, rings and sliders. The lingerie market is huge and fragmented with competition. We want you to know that every detail of a piece we create is well considered, and you can always count on us to offer sincere after-sale service. While designs can be replicated, we hope the Perk by Kate sincerity will be one of its kind.
At times, I was too ambitious and idealistic. We bought a whole bunch of really good silk for production. But we haven't actually used them yet. We promise we will get to them in the new year. There were also plans to launch more styles to cater to more of your intimate needs, but we decided to slow our pace because projects done in haste often produce bad results. I hope to complete these projects next year! –wink-
Making friends with our customers
Every letter, every small gift, every email of encouragement, every comment on Instagram, every like, every feedback – they keep me going. I had always wanted to know my customers better, and preferably, as friends. Through the #Perkify Challenge, we discovered the incredible talent that is hidden amongst us, and I can't wait to produce the three winning designs. I also had a blast meeting everyone of you during our October meet-and-greet with customers at Prep. You blew me away with your enthusiasm and support. I am really looking forward to the next meet up, hopefully on a larger scale. :)
Things that made 2016 memorable for us
Most of you don't know this, but we experienced a lost shipment this year. Our shipment was mixed up with another and an entire batch of production was sent mistakenly to a small nursing home in France. We, in turn, received a whole batch of disposable pillow cases meant for the nursing home. I wish I was making this up. It was five heart-wrecking days before the shipment was returned to us and the nursing home received its pillow cases. For some of you out there, you have a bralette that made its way from Saigon to Germany by air, across the border into France by truck, and finally to Singapore by air. That bralette might be more well-traveled than I am. One of our most sobering experiences was our visit to Shanghai Interfiliere. Our intention was to chart our progress and 'network and chill' with the industry. Alas, pretty much nobody wanted to chill with us because we were, well, nobodies. It was slightly ego bruising but at least we made contact with a band and strap specialist. The husband says that if he ever feels my ego getting out of hand, he will book tickets for Interfiliere. That will show me... We started a small fun project early in the year to create an affordable and good looking leather bag. We needed something to keep our minds engaged and creating again. The direction of the bag was driven in part by (confession time!) my love for soft and supple leathers. We learnt a lot over 8 months and the Nikko capsule collection, constructed entirely out of lambskin, was launched before Christmas. We are highly encouraged by the response. It seems I am not the only one in love with soft leathers.
Increasingly, we feel the need to give back to society. We are glad many of you share our sentiments. On behalf of the Uplift Project, we collected and sent 200 bras to the Philippines in December, and we will continue to do so over the course of the next year. This will be an 'evergreen' campaign and will be our little contribution back to society. We also made a commitment to donate a portion of the proceeds from Nikko to the Star Shelter, a temporary home for women and children who are victims of family violence. After speaking with the shelter to understand their needs, a donation in kind (diapers, milk powder and cooking necessities) worth S$1480.40 was made on 27th December 2016. Our efforts may be a drop in the ocean but we hope it amounts to something meaningful to the people on the receiving end.
Happy New Year!
Time to take on 2017. My gut tells me it won't be easy, but I will put up a good fight. On our end, here's wishing every one of you luck for 2017. All the best! Ps. the people on the Titanic had money, wealth and happiness, they just lacked a little luck… :)
Every year it happens. Come December, yuletide carols fill the air. Reindeers, elves and Santa present themselves in their lighted form. There's a buzz in the air. As many of you look forward to another season of gift giving and celebration, we are working hard to make your Christmas as memorable as ever. This, we must do, in appreciation and thanks of the wonderful community that is Perk by Kate.
This year end, our Christmas packaging is made up of a limited edition satin bag, packed in our signature Perk pillow box and finished off with a rose gold purl satin bow. When we came across this ribbon, we knew we had to use it. :)
Nikko - A Christmas Special
Through our journey for Perk by Kate, we have come across many interesting industries. Out of all, the leather bag industry was one that sparked our interest very much. We always wondered if we could apply our idea of honest retailing to the leather bag industry - create good quality leather bags without the traditional retail mark-up.
Our curiosity brought us to visit leather goods factories and leather suppliers, and we got schooled along the way. With wide-eyed innocent inspiration in hand and a huge belly of idealism, we decided to try our hands at making a simple bag. We figured the worst that could happen was I would have an endless supply of bags for probably the rest of my life.
Hugely taken by the Japanese's dedication to craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetics, we set out to create our own interpretation of shibui (beautiful by being understated) in this bag. We even named the bag after our favourite city in Japan - Nikko, which also means light 光 in Japanese.
The Nikko clutch is the happy outcome of our 8-month exploration. Made of lambskin, this clutch is divinely soft to the touch. The qualities of lambskin truly live up to its name here. We hope you will like what we came up with! :)
As we close the year, we give thanks. We give thanks for good health. We give thanks for the loved ones around us. And we give thanks for the wonderful support you have given us.
This year, we have also become increasingly aware of the need for us to give back to society. Apart from supporting Uplift Project with donated bras and underwear, we have also decided to lend our support to Star Shelter, a charity under the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations. The shelter offers a safe temporary refuge for women and their children who are victims of family violence regardless of race, language, creed or religion. It also helps victims manage and rebuild their lives free from violence.
Perk by Kate will be donating $1000 in cash to the charity. On top of this, for every Nikko clutch sold this Christmas, $20 will be used to purchase and donate daily necessities (milk powder, diapers, groceries etc) to the women and children supported by Star Shelter. The donation will be made on 27th December 2016, the first work day after the Christmas break. It will be made in the name of “The Perk by Kate Community”, because this help wouldn't have been possible without all of you, our amazing customers.
A month ago, we started the #PERKIFY challenge to mark a milestone.
And respond you did. You made it a most memorable milestone for us.
We knew there was much talent and creativity amongst us. But even with such high expectations, you absolutely floored us with your submissions.
We are extremely excited and equally inspired by all your submissions. Deciding the winners was by no means easy. It gives us great pleasure to announce the three winners of our challenge, who will each receive a S$500 cash prize as well as have their designs produced as a limited edition style.
The winning submissions
Melissa Chin submitted not one, but ten entries, each of which a winning entry on their own. We spent all day marveling at these beauties, and we knew this would be a winner.
Sofrane, a most supportive customer, submitted many designs that caught our eyes. We have for the longest time yearned to produce a longline bustier. This will truly be a piece to remember.
Lastly, we had to award Rebecca for designing this gorgeous silk piece. It's soft, luscious, and every bit feminine.
We never expected to see an embroidered bralette, nor did we expect to see a full moodboard accompanied with illustration. Chlo and Heather, you will be hearing from us shortly.
An amazingly creative community
We would like to thank everyone for participating in this challenge. There were many others that caught our attention, and we will be in touch to recognise your efforts.