What does a typical working day look like for you? I usually start my day by the beach for cycling and physio exercises while brainstorming my daily tasks. That gives me good vibes. Sometimes I stay longer to clear the sketches and emails but most often I’m seen running around the shops, greeting customers, hand-making accessories and more. Afternoon is the time the team in Vietnam checks in with me, and twice a week I stay in the shop until closing hour. I am a bit lazy on admin and accounting matters otherwise! Any particular surprises or challenges you’ve found living and working in Singapore? Starting up a company in Singapore is easy and very much supported by the government. However, maintaining it in a tight labour market is challenging. Overall, the extended daily working hours across the sectors do make me review our Singapore work-life balance options at times. What are a few things you like to do in Singapore? I enjoy organising playdates for children, trying out new hangout venues with my girlfriends, catching up over sports, picnics and sometimes ladies’ night. I believe as women we should come close and support one another. My Singaporean and Vietnamese friends take good care of me and in turn I share the experience with my international gang of friends. What are you looking forward to most for 2023? The new store in i12Katong is both time and energy consuming and I’m looking forward to growing it to its best in 2023. I also hope to have at least a month travelling with my family.

Quick questions about Singapore: what is your favourite… Casual restaurant? We go around Duxton, Telok Ayer and Chijmes when in town, or more frequently Pasta Fresca Siglap, or Joo Chiat’s Braseiro steak and fries, and Lap for Vietnamese. Date-night restaurant? Again there are so many options but La Brasserie has been the place of many of our special dates. Bar? The Long Bar – being in Raffles, that exemplary hotel that appears on every architecture book with its tropical, vintage air, and sipping a Singapore Sling, is like a mini getaway for me. Local food? I love chilli crab and a very humble-looking Hokkien and Cantonese restaurant, Gim Tim. They are catering experts, from family-sized gatherings to event banquets. Thing to do with visitors? I love sending visitors to Fort Canning, Fort Siloso and Pulau Ubin, where nature and history combine. When in town, it’s Chinatown, Joo Chiat and the Botanic Gardens. All these places show how keen Singapore is on keeping its heritage. (And, when you’re in Joo Chiat, do pop by the Anaïs An store! You’ll find handmade lacquer art, clay jewellery and other perfect small gifts from the East.) Nearby holiday destination? I am pro Vietnam for that! The destinations I choose are usually family-friendly, ranging from budget to private, secluded six-star resorts. In autumn, winter and spring, I like the mountainous places: Dalat, Moc Chau, Sa Pa, or areas with changing water levels like the Mekong Delta or Phu Quoc. In spring and summer, I like Ha Long Bay, Con Dao, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hue, Hoi An and Tu Lan Cave for cool dry weather and calmer seas. And, of course, I’m biased to say, Hanoi has its charms all year round for long weekend trips!

Find out more about Anaïs An’s children’s clothes, footwear and more on Instagram and Facebook.


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