Photo: Choo Yilin

With many brands, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Not in the case of local fine jeweller and jade specialist Choo Yilin. Despite being largely on hiatus since Dec 2019, the brand has remained top of mind for many of its fans, who clearly cannot get enough of its heritage-inspired pieces, most of which feature Type A Burmese jadeite, diamonds and coloured gemstones.

Via an e-mail interview with The Peak, the brand’s eponymous founder shares that she decided to put the brand on hiatus for various reasons, including “considerations that pertained to growth and strategy, and the trade-off between operations and transformation”. She adds, “I hadn’t been able to go on a work-free holiday ever since I founded the company. The personal sabbatical I took from Dec 2019 was the very first time I was able to do that, and it was very much needed.”

Having suspended all the brand’s retail operations at that point, shares Choo, “something we didn’t expect started happening a lot”. She elaborates, “We received multiple requests from our community – asking us if we could accommodate their celebrations: weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, et cetera.”

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Stud earrings and a bangle from the Peranakan Lace collection. (Photo: Choo Yilin)

To meet these requests, the team decided to organise what was meant to be a one-off, physical trunk show in Dec 2020. Says Choo, “The response blew our minds. Then, more and more requests started coming in and we held the next one last November.”

Once again, there was an overwhelmingly positive response. The brand’s founder notes, “This resulted in a waitlist of over 500 Singapore-based clients, and many more who we unfortunately could not accommodate because they were living overseas.”

To better serve its fervent fans, Choo Yilin will be holding its very first digital trunk show from July 1 to 3. For these three days, the brand will be reopening its e-commerce platform to present “a small, focused selection of its most beloved and requested designs”.

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A necklace and earrings from the Renda collection. (Photo: Choo Yilin)

These include long-time customer favourites from collections such as Warisan Rose and Hydrangea, which feature forms and accents inspired by these respective blooms. However, the brand will not just be selling its greatest hits, although we are guessing many of its clients are looking forward to that.

Among the new designs that will be available are additions to the Renda collection, such as a necklace. Launched last November, the range takes its cues from the intricate lacework of the Peranakan kebaya. According to Choo, “it was the first collection to sell out during our trunk show last November”.

The brand’s artisans have also updated the Warisan Rose pieces in a new, smaller size. Says Choo, “This again, was a response to our community’s requests. They had shared that they loved our aesthetic but wanted something ‘more classic’ and ‘barely there’.”

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Earrings from the Warison Rose (left) and Hydrangea (right) collections. (Photo: Choo Yilin)

For the upcoming digital trunk show, members of the Choo Yilin community will have priority access, with a “secret password” to the site to be shared with its mailing-list subscribers before the event officially opens. On the third day, the digital trunk show will be open to the public.

As for when fans can expect the brand to be back in full swing? At the moment, Choo and her team are focusing on “rebuilding, restructuring and restrategising” to best position the brand to enter its next stage of growth. She says, “We are excited to share what we have been working on when we feel ready. Our community is incredibly important to us, and we will be sure to share the milestone with them when we think the time is right.”

The Hydrangea bangle (left) and the Lunar Jade bangle (right). (Photo: Choo Yilin)

This story originally appeared in The Peak