Bags that make you laugh

Bags that make you laugh
Greeting cards designed by graphic designer Sarah Koh of The Grapfeeks Room. The cards incorporate local humour.

What: The Grapfeeks Room
Where: Goodnight Market at The Float @ Marina Bay Seating Gallery tomorrow

A common call by hawkers urging people to get out of the way in food centres proved to be the inspiration for home-grown graphic desgner Sarah Koh.

While she was at a food centre last November, a drinks stall auntie shouted out: "Lai! Sio ah!" (Watch out, hot!) But she was not carrying anything hot.

The line made its way onto a canvas bag illustrated by Ms Koh, which she began selling in January for $23. She made only five bags bearing this design and has sold all of them. Only five bags are made for each design.

"Incorporating local humour is important for me. I want to design something that will resonate with Singaporeans and bring a smile to their faces," says the 25-year-old, who owns The Grapfeeks Room, a design studio she founded last June with her elder sister that provides services such as web and product design.

Ms Koh, who has a degree in communication design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, also designs greeting cards, priced at $4.90 each.

These bear tongue-in-cheek messages such as "I'd know it was your birthday even without Facebook" and "Happy birthday, don't hate me because I'm younger".

She began renting a booth at a flea market organised by For Flea Sake last September at The Cathay, and has also taken part in a few of its other bazaars, including the one held at Haw Par Villa recently. She says that a booth at a flea market organised by For Flea Sake costs $40 to $100, depending on the location.

Taking part in flea markets is a good way to get customer feedback and publicise her business, she says. She also takes orders on her online shop.

Sales have been encouraging. She can sell almost 75 per cent of her greeting cards and 40 per cent of her bags on a good day at a flea market. Her customers are usually aged between 18 and 25 years old.

Ms Koh hopes to have her label stocked in retail stores and is working on growing the business online. She plans to come up with more products, such as mugs, coasters, T-shirts and notebooks bearing cheeky slogans.

She will have a stall at the Goodnight Market in Marina Bay this weekend. Her designs can also be found at a shop called Space Invasion at 03-15/16 The Cathay, which was opened by For Flea Sake last June for vendors who want to maintain a physical retail presence.

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