I'm Joyce Lim, founder of Chokmah (pronounced as hokmah), a brand of sustainable, handcrafted lifestyle products and artisanal surface design material based in Singapore. I'm also a graduate from LaSalle and a mother of 1 with 1 more on the way!
What's the dream behind Chokmah?
Sustainability was the very reason Chokmah was created. We wanted to show that art can be sustainable. We have developed a no wastage production policy and we upcycle and recycle all our remains as well as broken pieces. That was how our popular Broken Made Whole Collection, which is retailing exclusively in Design Orchard, was inspired and created. On top of that we also contribute part of our profit from every online sale of our product to the Garden City Fund which aims to plant 1 million trees in Singapore by 2030.
How were you exposed to Jesmonite?
When I started my business under the name Vinreh, it was initially focused on using Polymer clay. However, I realised that I was constantly throwing away about 30 kg of waste per month from all the remnants as well as unwanted polymer clay. There was no way to recycle or reuse them and I was concerned about the impact it had on the environment. So I went on a search to look for sustainable material and found Jesmonite which was already being used widely in Europe. I was so fascinated by its eco-friendly properties and its ability to be upcycled even when it's broken so I decided to focus on using Jesmonite as my main medium for my creation.
How did you build your business ecosystem?
I believe in the importance of collaboration. Somewhat different from the old mindset of competition, we realised that with collaboration we can grow the business faster while leveraging on each other's target audience and at the same time allow us the opportunity to learn from our collaborators on various aspects which includes design, technology and business model.
Featuring The Willow Label's Kelly wearing ARIELLE with Luxchain on The Willow Label’s Alegra Racer Dress and Justina wearing DAWN (Coral) with PP Cord on The Willow Label's Gillian Floral Top & Juno Straight Leg Pants, and Chokmah's Joyce Lim wearing VOILA with Luxchain on The Willow Label's Sandra Halter Dress Lilac at Rooma
We do a lot of collaborations with various businesses which either believe in the importance of sustainability or have a high degree of design in the products they make or sell. We either will make a product in collaboration with theirs or we make a separate product to complement their range of products. One well-known collaboration was with JDSport. They wanted to launch the new Adidas Stan's Smith collection which is an initiative from Adidas to focus on sustainability and we were brought in to make mini plant pots, run a workshop and features in their marketing campaign.
What was your greatest challenge?
Chokmah was started just before the Covid lockdown that happened last year. It raised a lot of concerns on the sustainability of the business as we were new, and supplies for Jesmonite were also affected due to the similar outbreak in Europe. We had to quickly relook at our business model and work resourcefully to find ways to get the supplies we need. Through the hard work and resourcefulness of the team collectively we managed to overcome and in fact thrive during the pandemic.
Featuring Chokmah x Taizjo SUMMERTIME Bundle
How have you grown personally?
The business has matured me a lot in the aspect of financial planning as well as people management. Having a reliable team has also helped me continue to grow and learn at a faster pace as we all share our own experiences and knowledge to complement one another, and this has resulted in the no-waste production methods and various other innovations we implemented into the business.
What are some values you hold dear?
Integrity is important to me especially when we are dealing with customers not just in Singapore but also world-wide. It's important to show that we are an honest business and we will honour what we say we will deliver. This will build confidence in our customers and encourage more to trust our business even though it's still in its infancy.
What inspires you most?
Featuring The Willow Label's Justina wearing Taizjo’s SANDLUX 2.0 Crossbody Phone Case with CLOUD Pearl Chain and White Serif Customisation on The Willow Label’s Alixe Poplin Dress , Chokmah's Joyce Lim in TRUELUX with Lilac Lanyard customised with White Serif, and The Willow Label's Kelly wearing Taizjo’s TRUELUX Shockproof Modular Phone Case with Beige Lanyard Strap customised with Morris Monogram on The Willow Label’s Lydia Camp Collar Top and Penelope Split Hem Pants at Rooma
If you can take Chokmah anywhere...?
Featuring Chokmah's Joyce Lim in DAWN (Rose) with Luxchain on The Willow Label's Sandra Halter Dress Lilac at Rooma
In terms of growth, I definitely want to take Chokmah to the level of a global brand not just for homewares but lifestyle products, which focuses on interior living that includes furniture, interior accessories and even architectural wall panels among others.
We are in the process of creating our very own furniture collection, which will also be our foray into the interior furnishing industry and hope to bring more options for the young and sophisticated consumers.