Where are you fromoriginally?What do youmiss about it? I grew up in Hanoi, surrounded by bustling streets and smiling faces. Life is at ease there, and the food is always great. I spent a huge amount of time doing art and craft and cooking with my mum, which we both loved. Now, looking from outside, I see Hanoi as a cultured city with a heritage of traditional crafts and creative hardworking people. It’s a place where not all is available but everything is possible. I miss the lakes, the flowers on bicycles and the changing seasons a great deal. We chat with entrepreneur Hoang Linh, who is Vietnamese but has lived here for 15 years with her French husband and daughter (7). She tells us about her business, Anaïs An, which offers gorgeous baby and children’s clothes and shoes, and her Singapore life.
What brought you to Singapore, and where had you been living previously? I’m an architect by training, and after several years practicing architecture in a French company, I wanted to expand into project management. My compelling options were the US and Singapore. I chose the latter as it’s a step closer to home and I longed for the sunshine and a cultural melting pot. Tell us a bit about what you do here. I used to work as a project manager for Singapore government projects, building hospitals, schools, a train depot, a museum and a town hub. Through this job, I learnt to love and appreciate Singapore’s values and decided it is a safe, good, modern and friendly place for young international families like ours. There was always a calling for design and creation in me. I wanted to make something that is imaginative, rich in materials, elegant in design, “ergonomic” and personal, that both kids and adults can relate to. I decided on mums’ and kids’ clothing and footwear that includes interactive and convertible wear incorporating embroidery, lace and other handmade items. With my skills from childhood, I made the first prototypes of my designs, tested them on my daughter and collaborated with tailors in Vietnam to launch the first batch of products in 2017. We currently have three small stores, some loyal patrons and a passionate team of in-house artisans. Shoppers like our quality and comfortable story-telling apparel, accessories and the DIY wearable drawing T-shirts for kids. There are so many ideas I have yet to fully express. However, even to now, the journey has been thrilling, rewarding and, most fortunately, allowed me to spend time with our girl, invest in her childhood and build her unique cultural identity.
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