Carolyn Kan, founder of Carrie K jewellery

When you think of a homegrown jewellery brand, nothing else quite comes to mind like Carrie K. A shorter version of the founder’s name, Carolyn Kan, it’s etched in the minds of discerning jewellery lovers who appreciate the handcrafted pieces’ ode to heritage and tradition. Kan made the switch from events management and advertising to silversmithing when she was on a one-day sabbatical back in 2009. After learning how to make her first ring from a silversmith in Florence, Carrie K. was born that same year – starting from ground zero at her kitchen table. Today, she works with all sorts of precious and semi-precious stones, and has a soft spot for pearls.

“Boundaries are imaginary,” reflects Kan. “When I reach a point where I am no longer growing, I create the next opportunity that will fuel my next level of growth.” And that she did. Kan went on to run Keepers, a showcase of independent Singapore designers, artists and craftsmen.

2018 saw the former managing director of M&C Saatchi Singapore sink her teeth into the hardest challenge of her career so far. Taking over the National Design Centre with the Keepers Playground of Infinite Happiness, the team featured over 150 local names, attracting 47,000 to the event.

“I surround myself with positive people who are passionate about ideas and design,” replies Kan when asked what keeps her passion alive. She regularly speaks to leaders in various fields, and sets aside time to read and learn new things, even if it has nothing to do with her business. Out of work, if she had the time, she’d like to learn how to play the electric guitar.

Although she started out as a newbie designer herself, one thing she would like to change about her industry is the notion that only start-ups and new designers need nurturing. “Even established ones need to reinvent,” she adds.

Carolyn Kan