One-of-a-kind crockery

One-of-a-kind crockery

Fancy a plate or a mug with your own personal design? Temasek Polytechnic student Jayl Chen can do that for you.

The third year communications design student runs an illustration business on the side, under her Instagram account, tokiostreets.

She started out designing her own stickers before moving onto crockery. "I had some leftover sticker paper so I decided to draw on it, and I gave it to a friend.

Then, people kept asking me for more to paste over their laptops and sketchbooks," says Ms Chen, 19. "My friends encouraged me to start a sticker business."

Her range of stickers, four pieces for S$5 were sold at a pop-up event, where the response was better than she expected.

"After that, I wanted to push it a little further to integrate my illustrations into something people can use, so I chose plates and cups," she says.

"People would come back and tell me where they pasted their stickers and who they gave the mugs to. It is great to know they enjoy my works."

Ms Chen describes her illustrations as "quirky, funny and perhaps even slightly morbid. My style is constantly evolving, according to the things and people that inspire me".

She says that customers do request certain illustration styles but in the end, they trust her with her own interpretation.

"It is what sets me apart from the rest of customisable mugs and plates; my style is unique to me only," she says.

Customers usually ask for illustrations which have a personal meaning for them.

"Some want plates with sections because they love organising their food, while others want illustrations of coffee addicts," she says.

"They usually get the plates and mugs for themselves but a few have given them away as gifts."

Each plate costs S$20, and a mug S$15. There is no minimum order required.

Ms Chen uses a porcelain or a Sharpie marker to draw her illustrations.

After which she either bakes the plates and mugs or layers a glaze over the plate to seal the ink in. "Everything is food safe," she adds.

It usually takes her about two weeks to complete an order. "Customers know I still have school, so they are usually understanding about the time taken," she says.

The orders are delivered personally, so as to reduce the risk of breakage during mailing.

Ms Chen says it is still too early to say if she will go into this business full time, but she will continue with it for as long as she can.

"I do have plans to set up an online platform where people can easily communicate their requests, buy, and see all my designs at the same time."

This article was first published on Oct 4, 2014.
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