Creating Joy with Jacqueline Chak and Genevieve Chew
Female friendships are one of the greatest joys in life. But when a friendship grows and deepens across different life stages, managing to remain strong across both personal and business worlds, that makes it extra special indeed.
Jacqueline Chak and Genevieve Chew know a thing or two about the enduring power of friendship. The duo first met in London, where Chak was studying architecture and Chew was working in accountancy. Close bonds were forged over design - and shopping – and further developed in Hong Kong, where they decided to go into business together. “Back then we were young and had no solid business proposal,” says Chew. “But we knew that with hard work, the right business partner and the ability to be agile, we could make it work.”
The symbiosis between the two women is clear. “Whilst I loved my job and strangely enjoy working with numbers, I had a passion and an eye for fashion,” explains Chew. “I casually talked about doing something of my own, but my real entrepreneurial journey began when I met Jacq. We clicked from the get-go - from our values to our creative mindsets - and there was no question that we were the right friends to partner with on a business.”
Chak agrees, citing entrepreneurial inspirations from her parents who have been running their own business since 1989 and who love what they do and do what they love. “I feel grateful and blessed every day that I was gifted with the perfect partner to start a business with. We learn, evolve and edit every day in our business and our lives. I think if not for G, I probably would not run my own business, I cannot imagine running it by myself.”
“We focus our core with sustainability, hoping to build a better community and a circular future with our partners including the younger generations.”
Twelve years on, and far removed from their self-confessed 2011 froyo + fashion concept store origins, their company EDITECTURE is now a multi-disciplinary studio incorporating branding, architecture, interior design, fashion, and education, with sustainability at the core. Says Chak. “We never had a business proposal; we learnt organically and grew. From fashion to architecture to education, we focus our core with sustainability, hoping to build a better community and a circular future with our partners including the younger generations.”
They are on a mission to spread joy through creative, sustainable design. “Our core value is to always choose kindness,” says Chew. “Incorporating sustainability in all we do is our way of giving back to society. It is, after all, the only way we can elongate Earth’s life for future generations. Chak agrees: “I love things with second/third lives; creating and designing things with afterlives. We are all responsible for our world and to help make it a better place, for ourselves and for the next generation.”
It is a constant process of revisiting, editing, modifying. They have built their own [RE] EDIT LAB inside their office to research, develop and craft sustainable materials and methods, and launched EDIT ACADEMY to teach kids to give back to underserved communities through sustainable concepts.
Passion and purpose are key. “Being passionate is one of the biggest motivations in life, in everything we do,” says Chak. “It is probably the best measure of how well time is spent,” adds Chew. “Life is all about choices and with limited time in the day, it is so important to know that my choice in spending time doing something has a purpose.”
Why do they think their partnership works so well? “We are so different, yet our core values are the same,” says Chew. “Jacq is a total extrovert with attention to detail that is second to none; whereas I am a true introvert and am happy to know the overall picture. I am a numbers person whilst Jacq is an artist. We understand each of our strengths and let the other shine in her role.”
Chak cannot agree more. “We have our strengths in different parts of our business, but we enhance and support each other on everything. As best friends who grew to be family, we have 100% honesty and transparency. We discuss, argue and figure out the best solution for our decisions. We know that our friendship will always come first.”
They believe they are always better together. Says Chak: “We are proud of each other’s successes, forever supporting each other. Together we shine brighter.”
Q / A :
What inspires you and motivates you?
G: The ability to give my kids a life that is full.
J: To be able to make an impact (big or small) to our world. To improve and be better than who I was yesterday (or yester-year). To be able to touch someone’s heart with what I do.
What does self-care mean for you?
G: Self-care means being able to make time for myself.
J: Keeping a balance between work and life, giving myself enough time to rest and not over burn myself to the extreme. Having time to bring myself to a stable and balanced state where I do not feel stressed.
“Self-care is so important because when you are happy and find inner peace, positive energy is passed on to the people around you.”
Do you have a morning/evening wellness routine?
G: Does reading a page a day of The Moon Calendar given to me by Kaye Dong (founder of The New Moon) count?
J: I know it does not sound too much of a wellness exercise or may even be unhealthy, but for me if I have spare time, I find browsing whatever interests me on my phone in bed before I sleep and when I wake up. Learning about what is happening and finding and seeing things that are interesting or inspiring, keeps me happy and well. Weirdly, that is my me-time to wind down and relax.
What do you do to soothe your soul and find peace?
G: Me-time! It is such a luxury to enjoy my own company these days.
J: When I am really motivated and feel the true need, I enjoy running outdoors, listening to music and trying not to think about work. I have also started a weekly routine of home massage; I will dim the lights, set soothing music and burn incense that I got from The New Moon. This rests my mind, stops me from using or touching the phone for a good two hours, and gives peace for my body and my soul.
What’s an important piece of wellness advice you can give?
G: Self-care is so important because when you are happy and find inner peace, positive energy is passed on to the people around you.
J: Keep everything balanced and find your own equilibrium. There is no right or wrong, and it is different for every person. When you have a good balance (without extremes) you will have the energy to stay positive, a core essential to happiness.
An inspirational quote that resonates with you?
G: If you can think it, you can do it.
J: My motto is what I have learnt from Steve Jobs who talked about connecting the dots. “You can never see the meaning of the dots looking forwards, you can only see the dots connecting to form a line looking backwards.” Never be afraid of giving more than you will receive, both in work and in life.