Average Jo


Interview series: Our Crafted Nation, with Joyce & Weiyan from In Merry Motion

Last August, I took the plunge and decided to do Average Jo full time. It is a whole scary and uncertain world out there, and at that time, I had no one to speak to about the excitement and self-doubt I might face in this transition. What better people to share with us their knowledge and experience, than craftspeople who've been around for some time, right? So after a few email exchanges and studio visits, here's the Interview Series: Our Crafted Nation. 

In this series, I had conversations with 4 craftspeople who call their amazing community a second home. They have inspired me in ways that I never thought I would be and have humbly shared with me what keeps them going, their difficulties, and my personal favourite part - a quote for keepsake. For the second of this series, I've got Joyce & Weiyan from In Merry Motion

My common icebreaker is “Do you know the girls from In Merry Motion? Do you do you do youuuuuuuu?” These two angels were my sources of inspiration and proved that success of a small business starts from within. Their genuine attitude and warmth are extremely contagious! 

(Welcome hugs were exchanged.)

Jomaine: It’s really good to be back girls! Thanks for having me and sharing your precious time. Let’s start with the big question: How did In Merry Motion come about? And what are the values behind?

Weiyan: The idea of In Merry Motion / doing something on our own was birthed one day during our final semester in school while we were working on our thesis. Joyce was sharing about her sister’s wedding preparation, and wondered why her sister’s one special day had to look like everyone else’s even when she was paying quite a considerable amount only to be subjected to a template. It got us thinking – what if! we could apply what we’ve learnt (design thinking) to this realm of celebrations. We started thinking out loud - why must a ring pillow be a pillow? Or a hongbao (red packet) box be a box? And then we got REALLY excited!

Values behind? Really about this never ending merriment and joy that comes from within as we ideate, craft, and extends to during and after the celebration. Like a wave motion, never ceasing, always spreading. That drives our work, that sense of joy. 

Jomaine: So what would one expect in a celebration crafted “in merry motion”?

Joyce: It’s thoughtful and sincere (from the heart). And surprising! 

Jo: That’s so nice to hear. You know how easy it can be to talk about achievements and happy moments, but what happens when the going gets tough?

Weiyan: Pray. Eyes on the prize - the project, and finishing it well. The satisfaction of our clients, and always going back to the reason why we started / like our good friends from Logue (Jean and Huiwen) who always remind us to think of why we’re doing what we’re doing. 

Jomaine: What are some tips/lessons you wished you knew before setting up your own business?

Weiyan: It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes we tend to think that we have to put up a “front for the public”, and that everything is okay, when it’s not. So, don’t be afraid to fall!

Joyce: Laying out expectations. Problems tend to arise when expectations are left unsaid. Make sure to have a clear communication flow!

Jomaine: Wise words! Ok, people that you look up to?

Joyce: My sister Yvonne. She’s my role model and source of inspiration, constantly challenging in a constructive manner. Always pushing me forward, always so supportive and encouraging.

Joyce & Weiyan: And also David and Tom Kelley from IDEO (an experienced designing and innovation consulting firm)! Tom Kelly recently held a talk where he shared about his book Creative Confidence - his revolution of design thinking. To him, creativity is not just about designing or being in the creative designing. It can come in many forms from different industries. You should read the book, it’s inspiring!

Jomaine: I am definitely going to get it.

Weiyan: For me it’s our good friends from Logue, a local content studio, who we proudly call friends (Joyce nods in agreement). They showed us through their craft that we can all do what we love to do everyday. Their spirit of giving their all - their energy of teenagers and excitement of two-year-olds - so contagious!

Jomaine: I hope to meet them formally one day. They sound like angels too! How’s the IMM calendar looking like?

Joyce: Thankfully it’s the lull period now - it’s been a busy 2015 (in a good way). We will be using this period to regroup and gather, taking a look internally to see what we can produce that’s easily accessible to the public and what In Merry Motion is about, and in what future direction we’ll be embarking on. A step back will help us to see the bigger picture.

Jomaine: What does it take to be a local craftsperson? 

Weiyan: The Logue girls’ energy! And also being genuine and true. In our case, no two weddings are the same where we don’t reuse our crafted props in another celebration. Every celebration is unique and we honour that.

Joyce: Don’t give up and continue moving forward is the attitude to have.

Jomaine: Can’t agree more. What do you think of the local craft scene and it’s direction?

Joyce: Very exciting and hopeful, where we aren’t afraid anymore to share our stories. Really looking forward to what it may become!

Weiyan: On the other hand, I think as more creatives venture out, the scene becomes saturated with people working on the same craft, resulting in you having a leverage over others using a low price point. If we can all respect each other’s work and protect the craft, the craft scene would look very promising!

Jomaine: That’s a different perspective, but very true. Let’s hope for the best! Any wise words for the budding creatives?

Weiyan: Try. Don’t despise the days of small beginnings. Surround yourself with like-minded people who love you enough to tell you the truth (instead of trying to keep you in your bubble). Bloom where you are planted. Sometimes it starts wherever you are - at home, in your current workplace, in your neighbourhood.