April Wan: Your brand, self-portrait, was launched a decade ago. Could you share your journey from the inception of the brand to its current success? What have been the significant learning experiences or challenges along the way?
Han Chong: When I started self-portrait, I wanted to create a brand that would make women feel special. Through building a strong creative language, we’ve managed to gain a very loyal community around us which we get to learn from continually. Of course, there are always going to be challenges, but it only gives us the opportunity to learn, grow, and continue to do so along the way. My real takeaway from these last 10 years has been to remain open-minded and to build strong connections with my teams. It has helped the brand adapt to the ever-changing landscape and challenges thrown our way.
AW: You’ve previously mentioned that your team rarely works overtime, adhering to a schedule set well in advance, sometimes months or even a year ahead. How do you maintain such organisation, especially now that you’re overseeing both self-portrait and Roland Mouret?
HC: I am a firm believer in balance – it makes me a better person, and leader. Since I started self-portrait, I set the tone of working hard during the working day – with clear schedules, timelines and communication with my teams – so that we can all enjoy our time away from the studio. Because of this set up, I was able to set up our Group (SP Collection) and was able to incorporate overseeing the addition of Roland Mouret into our day to day work, with the support of the amazing teams we have in place.
AW: As someone who values time efficiency, how important is a daily routine for you? Could you describe your morning and evening routines?
HC: My professional life is so busy, that I really like to keep my personal life very simple and straight-forward. It helps me maintain a sense of balance and wellbeing. I always wake up and go to bed at the same time (except for when I’m travelling) and I try to walk or take the bus to and from my studio every day – it really helps me to start and end the day with a chance to clear my mind.