Paper angel

30 Jan 2016 / 15:57 H.

GIFT-making has been a hobby of Soo Wai Yan since she was five.
On special occasions, she would make cards for her loved ones because she has always believed that handmade gifts carry more sincerity. However, coming from a family that does not believe in careers in the arts, she pursued different majors for her tertiary education: accounting and food science. Nevertheless, she never gave up on her passion in arts and crafts.
“We should decide for ourselves what we want in our lives. Even though your family places a certain expectation on you, you should not give up on what you really want. You can still go along with their plans, but at the same time, you have to find time to do what you like,” expressed the 25 year-old.
Before graduating, Soo wanted to give flowers to her college mates as an appreciation for their friendship in varsity. But because fresh flowers aren’t long-lasting, the inventive lass decided to make paper flower bouquets for them instead, which led to the birth of Evermore Flower in 2014.
Soo has six part-timers assisting her with production, most of them housewives and single mothers. The founder shared her hope to help this group of ladies feel more confident and capable to work independently.
“If I can help, why not help those who are less privileged?” she noted.
Currently, Soo works as an accounting clerk in the day and runs Evermore Flower outside her regular working hours. She hopes to prove to her parents that her paper art business can one day stand alone and bring success.

Why do you love paper art?
I was inspired by Chanel’s Spring 2009 Couture show that had a paper flower theme. To me, a piece of paper may be fragile, but it can also be strong as cardboard. We can build anything we want with paper.

Where do you draw inspiration for your paper crafts?
I like going to parks to see actual flowers and observe their shapes and textures. I also like to window shop to look at different brands’ visual merchandising. One good thing about paper flowers is that we can make them out of order, with unusual colour combinations not found in nature. I also find inspirations in magazines.

Could you share some of the limitations you face in what you do?
Time constraint and limited resources are my two main concerns. Although I have assistants helping me, they are part-timers, so I cannot accept urgent orders. Besides, being a boss is not easy because I’m always thinking about my business even when I’m not working. But I’d like to think that this is passion, and when you have it, it keeps you going.

What is your proudest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement is, of course, starting Evermore Flower. Another is opening our first store last August within a café in Batu Caves. We decided to open our store in a café so that people can get flowers while they grab a drink. I’m also reaching a stage where I can provide job opportunities.

What do you hope to achieve before turning 30?
I want to operate a café that sells paper flowers and holds workshops so that I can teach people about paper art. I also wish to venture into the fashion industry and collaborate with brands for their campaigns using paper art.

How would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs?
You have to find what you really like and go for it. Never doubt your own ability. The problem with this generation is that sometimes we don’t know what we want. So I would say, try as many things as possible and you’ll know more about yourself. You must also be humble and patient. You may not see the results right away, but be patient and you will get what you deserve.

Favourite flower: rose.
Longest project: One month to make 99 flowers for a proposal.
Previous business: Her own brand of sausages for a final year project at university.
Primary school responsibility: Six years of decorating notice boards.

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