08 Aug 2022
Local label THEGREYSPACE.CO personifies functionality and elegance with its eye-catching collection of bags, wallets, and accessories.
From trendy streetwear, luxurious couture dresses to bags and accessories, Singaporeans are putting their unique stamp on fashion. THEGREYSPACE.CO is one such design label which has been making waves since it entered the market in 2015.
The brainchild of couple Tan Shi Yi and Kenneth Ong, THEGREYSPACE.CO was inspired by their desire to create internationally renowned quality products at affordable prices. Their extensive range of ladies’ bags is curated in-house and designed by the founders who source for materials themselves, ensuring the bags are not only functional and fashionable but of excellent quality as well.
Innovation is also a cornerstone of this local enterprise which created Singapore’s first modular interchangeable bag. It comes with detachable flaps and straps, allowing for even more versatility, style and a personalised touch.
In addition to their wide range of bags, other accessories such as wallets, pouches and earrings, as well as customisable bottles, cups, and more are available at both their physical and online stores. We spoke to co-founder Tan Shi Yi about the creative process behind their brand, and the perception Singaporeans have of local labels.
What was the inspiration behind THEGREYSPACE.CO?
Kenneth and I wanted to set up a business together a few years ago, so we opened a little stall at a flea market in 2015 selling ready-made bags that we sourced ourselves. Our goal however was to create and design our own line of bags and accessories, and we finally achieved this in 2018. Our aim is to provide quality products at affordable prices and slowly market our products to the international market.
Tell us more about your designs and what inspires them?
The products that are available in our stores are all curated and designed by Kenneth mostly. We visit our factories in Thailand and China regularly, and personally source for the materials ourselves. Every detail, from where the pockets are placed, to the functionality of the bag is thoroughly thought through.
We get inspirations from observing street trends while also taking into consideration the feedback we receive from our customers.
What materials are your products made of?
We do not use real leather. Our bags, wallets and purses are made of PU synthetic leathers which are all ethically sourced. They are mostly semi-scratch resistant and water resistant which means they are more durable and offers greater value.
We are also ramping up our sustainability efforts by sourcing for new materials that are environmentally friendly.
What is the common perception locally of home-grown brands?
Our base of local clientele has been growing steadily over the years. Many have told us that we are comparable to the bigger international brands, and some even say they prefer our bags because of the combination of style and affordability. I would say that Singaporeans have been very supportive in general when we inform them that we are a home-grown company and that all our bags are designed locally.
As a local fashion brand, what were some of the biggest hurdles you came across in setting up your business?
We were very young when we decided to start our own business, Kenneth was 23 and I was only 20. We poured in all our savings to get it up and running but quickly ran into cash-flow problems. We were so inexperienced and did not realise how many hidden costs would be involved when we opened our retail stores. We learnt many lessons the hard way but fortunately we were able to right the ship.
Versatility at its finest – Luna bags come with detachable flaps and straps which offer the wearer a range of styles and combinations to fit the occasion.
Tell us more about the Luna range of bags and what was the inspiration behind the concept?
We wanted to create a bag with interchangeable parts which people could use in different ways, to match different outfits and on different occasions. We came up with the idea in 2018 but it took nearly two years of Research and Development and product testing before our range of Luna bags hit the shelves.
The Luna comes in three different base colours, eight detachable flaps and three varieties of straps which are interchangeable to suit the occasion and the outfit. Customers can also make an appointment with us to learn all there is to know about the Luna bag, and receive expert advice and recommendations from our retail staff.
THEGREYSPACE.CO has a mission on curating products that are minimalist, chic and functional.
What are some of the most popular bags in your collection?
The Kimberly range is one of the first bags that we designed, and it is still selling very well today. It is a minimalist bag, but that is also its allure – simplicity. It may be one of the oldest designs in our range, but we are always trying to make little improvements to our products, no matter how simple the bag may be.
All information is correct at the time of publishing. Please check in-store for more details.