First and foremost, thank you for submitting your questions and giving me an opportunity to connect with you beyond the business. I really hope that through THREEONETWOFIVE, we can bring together likeminded women (and men) and see how a collaborative spirit is far better than a competitive one. Not saying that being competitive is bad, having some is good but we need to be willing in helping others and lifting one another up.
So, I received a question from one of our followers on "Where can I find tools and supplies to kickstart my jewellery hobby?" Apart from the megabrands such as Spotlight, Daiso and Art Friend, I would like to suggest some of these local businesses instead. Some of them have been in business for a really long time and all hidden in these old shopping malls or just tucked away from the digital realm.
Coming from a fashion design background, I had the advantages of knowing where to source for fabrics and tools because my lecturers were generous enough to bring the class out for a sourcing trip and advice us on where to find the specific materials we needed for our project. As a fashion design student, the school trained us to be calculative, to consider how much materials are there going into your garments and would the selling price be attractive then? This has somehow helped me to be more calculative when it comes to costs and helps me to narrow down which shops I should buy from for a particular project and budget.
In this post, I will go through building by building so it is easier perhaps when you decide to take a day off to visit these local businesses.
People's Park Centre (Chinatown MRT)
Note, People's Park Centre is not the same as People's Park Complex. The former is a shopping mall and the latter has a hawker centre below and it is an entire building of textiles. People usually confuse the two but you will get a hang of it.
I introduced this shop first because this was where my Mom brought me to shop at when I was a kid and enjoyed crafting those elastic bracelets then. It is a small shop and you just have to dig through it. What is more fun about this shop is that items are purchase by weight. Perhaps it might be more expensive but it is good for small-scale projects and when you only need very few beads/ materials.
Shinobeads sell mostly acrylic and resin based beads and there are quirky accessories such as mini dolls, glass bottles and mini vintage-inspired frames that people use for keychains and mini trinkets.
Don't miss out the discount baskets right outside the shop too.
101 Upper Cross Street, #02-56A, People's Park Centre, 058357
Just directly opposite Shinobeads, this is where you find shelves of yarns and at times, live workshops happening in the shop. Here they sell more of Japanese yarns (if I were to compare with Spotlight) and if you are looking for 100% cotton yarns, go have a feel at the yarns there.
Aside from yarns, they have bales of printed fabrics, trimmings and beads. Beads selection wise, there isn't a lot but those beads are more for decorative projects like your Chinese New Year lanterns, beaded pouches or those beaded animals. Might be useful if you are doing or intend to do a lot embroidery with various yarns, threads and beads.
101 Upper Cross Street, #02-51 People's Park Centre, 058357
3. Sin Mui Heng
Similar to Golden Dragon Store, they have two outlets and another one is at Textile Centre. Over here you will find textiles, trimmings, Swarovski products, suede leather, buttons and parts for bags and accessories.
4. Mix & Match
If you are into gemstones, this is the must-go + must-visit store. Here you will find drilled gemstone beads for you jewellery and craft projects. Pearls, aquamarine, morganite, garnets and some of those which you have never heard of: they have it.
Approach the counter if you would like to purchase higher graded gemstones and pearls. I think they are reasonably priced for that glimmer and clarity.
At this store you will also find Swarovski products, sterling silver parts (all the sensitive skin people please take note, it's not easy to find hypoallergenic parts especially. Because most of the time we just want it cheap and quick.) as well as gold-filled items.
101 Upper Cross Street,
People's Park Centre, #01-04A
Last but not the least for People's Park Centre is Koi Ming. When you enter into the building, (if you are coming out from Chinatown MRT) go straight into the building and down the escalator and turn left.
I would say this is probably one of the largest and most suitable for jewellery hobbyists and crafters. The range is intense — from the wall of Swarovski beads, to shelves of beads and ok, one thing is: on the shelves you would see small packets of parts but you can always ask the staff for bigger packs and at a discounted price. They call it the "wholesale pack".
If you are looking for stainless steel materials, yes they have it too. Chains as well, there is aplenty and strands of gemstones and crystals.
B1-23 & 24 People's Park Centre, 101 Upper Cross Street, 058357
My lecturers would always suggest Arab St when it comes to fabric... and then I stumbled into shops after shops of beads...
1. Digvijay Sequins
Recommended for projects involving Japanese seed beads, sequins and rhinestones. If you are looking for elaborate trimmings for clothing (especially costume), this is a great place to start from.
89 Arab Street, Singapore 199785
2. Kin Lee & Company
Wide selections of gold plated charms and chains. If you are looking for sequins and ribbons, they have plenty too!
109 Arab St, Singapore 199805
Phone: 6291 1411
That's about it, if you know of any other craft shops that are not listed here, feel free to comment below to share with others! :-)
Meanwhile, if you are keen to learn the basics of jewellery making, you can sign up via here. (NOTE: With effect from August 2018 onwards, we will be raising our workshop fees to include more materials and bring-home tools so you can continue perfecting your craft.)