Big dreams start with the boldness to embrace change instead of sticking with the status quo.
And that’s exactly what Rebecca Ting and Daniel Chew, the founders of home-grown label Beyond The Vines, did in 2020 when they rebranded the business amid a pandemic—making the switch from a pure womenswear label to a design studio whose offerings span multiple product categories.
On the decision to “hit restart, refresh and reset” after five years pushing just womenswear, Chew says: “As we gained traction, we wanted to explore more and push the boundaries in design while keeping the ethos true. We wanted to peel the layers off to show our truest selves, raise the bar and be proud of what we’re putting out there.”
This change in direction culminated in a sprawling new design studio that sits on over 2,200 sqft of prime real estate in Ngee Ann City. Step through the doors and you’ll find everything from ready-to-wear womenswear, menswear and kidswear to stationery, homeware, bags, caps and even masks—think the cult favourite Dumpling Bags as well as design-led products such as the reversible bucket hats, camping-inspired mugs and AirPods cases in the brand’s “A World Beyond”range. It’s also where you’ll find the label’s very first family collection, “Ready Steady Go!”, which was released in early February.
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Design is always at the forefront
Clearly, much thought had been put into the rebranding. “Everything— from the products to the communications to the store itself—is conceptualised in-house,” says Ting proudly, who goes on to share that they designed the entire store by themselves. “We wanted to create a store that has great vibes—from the music to the colours, atmosphere and products. We wanted to create a store that has a personality of its own.”
Staying true to its ethos of making good design accessible to everyone, Beyond The Vines, which currently has boutiques in five countries (Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia), also serves as a launch pad for local designers. “One of the most fulfilling things for me is that our brand is able to serve as a platform as well as a display and retail space for our generation’s most courageous creatives,” says Ting. “At the core, we greatly believe in this and feel very blessed that we get to create an environment to help keep dreams alive.”
“Not only do we want to create livelihoods for local designers,” adds Chew, “we also want to create products that are uniquely Singaporean and designed in Singapore.”
Here, the couple give a glimpse into their journey so far and how they got to where they are today.
What inspired you to launch Beyond The Vines back in 2015?
Ting: When we first founded the brand (which started as an e-commerce platform), we wanted to inject life into the local scene and create a vibrant brand that was experiential, as a way of experiencing life—much like when we travel and experience new things.
What were some of the challenges you faced in the early days?
Chew: Our designs are created in Singapore, but our production factory is based in China. One of the biggest challenges we faced at the start was procuring materials and creating an infrastructure to facilitate the process. We had to travel to different parts of China to gather our raw materials, bring the materials back to the factory for processing, and then ship the finished products back to Singapore. This was very tedious on many fronts, not only because of the language barrier, but also in terms of the work culture. Apparently, our perceptions of speed and efficiency are quite different!
Ting: We faced different challenges at different stages of the brand’s growth. In the beginning, the concern was how to make the brand resonate with our target audience. We had to constantly put out things that are fresh and keep up with social trends. However, as the brand grew, the challenge became one of maintaining its consistency while pushing for growth so it does not become stale.
What makes Beyond The Vines stand out from other brands?
Ting: We like to think our products are intuitive. What I mean is, when the consumer interacts with the product, we’d like them to think, “How did they know that we would like a pocket here?”; “How did they know we’d like a mask tab on which we can hang our masks there?” We craft the products from a consumer’s perspective, so I think the nature of how we design makes us quite different. Not being trained in design ourselves, we are actually the brand’s first consumers. As we can see things from their point of view, we’re able to build the brand from the bottom up rather than top down.
Why did you decide to rebrand Beyond The Vines in 2020?
Chew: We like to push boundaries and challenge the norm. We don’t want to remain status quo. That was why we started to ask ourselves, “Is this something we are content with?” Our conclusion was unanimous: We had to restart, refresh and reset the brand.
Ting: It was already in the making in 2019. We wanted to put out a brand that people could relate to and change the misconception people have of fashion, that it’s very unapproachable. What 2020 did for us was to position us in a year of reset. It was a case of right timing—the rebrand happened in a pandemic year, when everyone was also going through a reset.
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Beyond The Vines is known for its womenswear; why include a collection of menswear and kidswear now?
Ting: Why not? (Laughs)
Beyond The Vines started as an e-commerce platform, yet you have chosen to move in the opposite direction, opening a new physical store. What’s the rationale behind that?
Chew: Technology cannot replace everything, especially human interaction. Even though our online platform has gained good traction, with the opening of a physical store, customers can now order online and pick up at the store, or conversely, shop at the store and have their items delivered to their homes for free. We see this as a way of interacting and creating relationships, rather than just making mere transactions.
Where do you see Beyond The Vines in the next five years?
Chew: Still around! (Laughs). I have really big dreams; I want to conquer the world. But we must start with Singapore first. It would be a dream come true for us to be able to house more designers and showcase what Singaporeans are made of as well as show off our way of life.
Chew: From a business perspective, I hope to bring Singapore into the region and bring our designers’ work into the world. That’s what I really hope to do. We call on local designers who are brave enough to journey with us to come and dream with us!
Check out Beyond The Vines’s wares at:
Beyond The Vines Design Store
#B1-42/46 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238872
Tel: 8777 1810