Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Saturday, I’m shining a spotlight on 11 retail businesses that you can support from the comfort of your home.
At this point of writing, Singapore has extended its lockdown – sorry, “Circuit Breaker” – for a further 4 weeks to June 1. Most retail businesses are forced to close for two months due to the current COVID-19 situation, which has severely impacted the livelihood of these entrepreneurs. As such, I’ve compiled a list of 11 homegrown retail businesses that you can support from the comfort of your home.
For those who need a new pair of spectacles, optical services are still open – they are classified as an essential service. As such, you can drop by the below-mentioned stores to get yourself a new pair of spectacles if need be, though you would need to make an appointment first. However, if you don’t wish to go out (highly understandable), you can support these businesses online too!
If you have a little bit more money to spend, you can consider getting a pair of glasses from Oblique Eyewear!
Who they are: “Due to the high-cost of prescriptive eyewear, people tend to be more conservative in frame selections. In Oblique, we want to abolish this tradition and you can rest assured to find low-cost prescriptive eyewear to suit your different needs. There is no need to compromise on your style because of prices!”
My opinion: Gone are the days where wearing spectacles is seen as “geeky”. With the latest in fashion trends, especially from Korea/Japan, spectacles are now increasingly seen as a fashion accessory, rather than a practical tool. In fact, Brandon (of Oblique Eyewear) shared with me that he has been seeing an uptick in youths – with perfect eyesight – getting frames simply for aesthetic purposes! Personally, I think it’s important to find a pair of spectacles that makes your face pop, and if you happen to be a youth, or even simply young at heart, I think Oblique Eyewear offer a wide range of trendy and stylish frames at affordable prices.
Review: I reviewed Oblique Eyewear here.
Price: As Oblique Eyewear is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” or flash this post in-store to enjoy 20% off all purchases! After the promo code, frame + lenses starts at a only $88.
Where to buy: The Cathay Level 1 #01-07, 2 Handy Rd, Singapore 229233. Alternatively, you can buy from their web-store here.
If you still need to work during this circuit breaker month – perhaps you’re a banker, or in the financial services – you can still purchase dress shoes from these local brands online!
If you’re on a budget, you can get some great shoes from Gaius Walks at a great price.
Who they are:”Our styles are heavily influenced by classic artisan Italian shoemakers. Gaius is Latin for joy. It was also the first name of Julius Caesar, one of the most successful men in ancient Rome so Gaius also symbolises charisma and class for us. We want every guy to be able to afford a stylish and luxurious pair of Gaius Walks to ace that interview or impress that hot date.”
My opinion: I think Gaius Walks is perfect for those who likes to take the path less taken when it comes to fashion. Whilst their shoes are still decidedly dressy, they come in a variety of unique colours such as slate and indigo, as well as in more uncommon designs as such a single monk strap. My personal favourite from them would be the Nappa Leather Tassel Loafers – it’s light, low to the ground and comfortable, and they feel like a pair of Toms on the feet! For something more formal, the Romeo Cap Toe Oxfords (pictured above) is great as well. The best part? Despite the sartorial style of their shoes, Gaius Walks manages to keep prices affordable!
Price: Shoes currently start at $125.80 (after promo code). As Gaius Walks is an official affiliate partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 15% off all products store-wide!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here. They also have a physical store in Lower Delta road, though prior appointments are required.
However, if you have a little more to spend, W.H.Y & CO offers blake-stitched shoes at an extremely affordable price point.
Who they are: “Backed by Master shoemakers with a heritage of more than 3 decades of handcrafting shoes from the U.K., our designs deviate little from the classic and timelessness of the English eye for shoe construction and design but with our own added flair, bring them into the modern era.”
My opinion: I believe that W.H.Y & CO offers handcrafted shoes at a great price. In fact, I would say that I believe they offer the best shoes under $200 SGD! As compared to the more affordable options mentioned above, W.H.Y & CO shoes are all hand-painted and finished manually. Furthermore, unlike the cemented options above, W.H.Y & CO shoes all come blake-stitched for added durability, and utilizes only European calf leather. Furthermore, they also offer various intriguing designs, from the off-black Qi pictured above, to Bottega inspired hand-woven loafers. Lastly, Wei Han (founder) also does restoration services at his showroom, so if your shoes are in need for a rejuvenation, you can consider popping by W.H.Y & CO as well! (After this circuit-breaker is over)
Review: I reviewed the W.H.Y & CO Qi here.
Prices: Blake-Stitched shoes start at S$197 (after promo code). As W.H.Y & CO is an official affiliate partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all shoes store-wide!
Where to buy: W.H.Y & CO shoes can be bought online here. Shoes can also be viewed in their International Plaza showroom, once the circuit breaker is over.
Bags and accessories
If you need a new bag or wallet for work, don’t fret – even though retail stores are now mostly closed, you can still support homegrown brands online!
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced the brand into moving out of their Millenia Walk store. However, you still can support Gnome & Bow online!
Who they are: “Gnome & Bow was founded on that very notion that bags can go beyond functionality to become a new medium for storytelling, evoking the same emotions as our favorite stories…Drawing inspiration from the classics to tales of fancy, we develop story elements that are imbued seamlessly into our goods….Timeless as the stories that inspire us, we believe that our bags should be too. Our collection of bags, wallets and small leather accessories are designed to be the perfect companion for the discerning individual.”
My opinion: Gnome & Bow is definitely one of my personal favorites here. I love how they seamlessly weave literary elements of iconic fables into the design of their bags. Being an avid reader (as well an appreciator of classic literature), I was really mind-blown by several of their bags, especially the Milton Briefcase (pictured above). The Milton Briefcase encapsulates the ethos of the tale Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde through its reversible nature, with a formal looking polished navy side, as well as a more casual mosiac-printed canvas side. The build quality of their products are superb too, especially considering the price point. If you love literature, or are simply looking for an unique bag, be sure to check out Gnome & Bow.
Price: Gnome & Bow bags currently start from $115 (after promo code below). As Gnome & Bow is an official affiliate partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all shoes store-wide!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy their bags off Gnome & Bow’s web-store, here.
If you’re on the hunt for affordable leather products, do check out Oxhide Leather!
Who they are: Oxhide’s mission statement is to “provide premium quality leather products to the world…. products that are trendy, fashionable and useful. [Oxhide] constantly strive to improve our designs in terms of their appearance, usefulness, and quality.”
My opinion: If you’re looking for affordable briefcases with classic designs, Oxhide Leather would be a good option! In my opinion, Oxhide offers probably the best bang-for-buck leather products in the Singaporean market currently. A full top-grain leather briefcase from Oxhide starts from only $229 SGD – at this price point, you would mostly be getting canvas briefcases from the other brands! If you’re a fan of leather products, but don’t want to break the bank, Oxhide Leather is perfect for you. Currently, Oxhide Leather has a “Under $19” sale ongoing on their website – it’s stackable with the promo code, so if you’re looking for great deals do check that out!
Price: Oxhide’s briefcases starts from $206 (after promo code below). As Oxhide leather is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all online orders!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at #01-73 HabourFront Centre, Singapore 099253 (after the circuit breaker ends).
As a watch enthusiast, one of the toughest parts of the circuit breaker is not being able to go out and view watches. Nevertheless, you still can shop for watches in the comfort of your home!
H2 Hub should be a familiar name to Singaporeans – they have over 10 retail locations in Singapore, mostly in heartland malls. Unfortunately, they have had to close their locations due to COVID-19, but you can still support them online!
Who they are: “We are a leading retailer of mid-price watches and watch accessories for men and women. Our portfolio of must-have brands from around the world is curated to include styles and movements for every taste and price point.”
My opinion: For quite some time now, I’ve had the idea to work with a local watch AD (Authorised Dealer), whereby readers can head down to a physical store to view watches in the metal before making a purchase. To me, H2 Hub makes for a great AD partner as they are an established homegrown brand with multiple locations in heartland malls, with a focus on affordable watches. Granted, H2 Hub does sell multiple fashion watch brands, but they also offer watches for the serious watch collector, thus catering to both segments of the watch market. If you’re on a budget, I think Aries Gold has several bang-for-buck pieces. If you have a bit more to spend, then definitely gun for Seiko or even Tissot! I’ve personally bought a Seiko watch from them before, and I can attest that their prices are one of the lowest in town.
Review: I actually wrote a list of 10 watches I would personally buy from H2 Hub, which you can read here!
Prices: A Timex Weekender costs a mere $63.50 (after promo code below). On the other end of the range, a Tissot Le Le Locle costs $780. As H2 Hub is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy $10 off all online orders!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at any of their 10 locations island-wide (after the circuit breaker ends).
If you were one of those who rushed to collect a new watch just before the circuit breaker came into effect, you can still buy a strap online!
If you’re looking for affordable straps, Nomad Watch Works offers perhaps the widest variety of affordable straps currently.
Who they are: “Nomad Watch Works carries a wide range of high quality, beautifully designed watch bands and accessories designed to be functional, dependable and stylish. Our site offers a wide selection of custom curated products, all hand selected for their quality and value and each one crafted from the finest materials available.”
My opinion: If you’re looking for bang-for-buck, look no further than Nomad Watch Straps. Though most of their straps are extremely affordable (<$30 SGD), the quality of their straps are actually pretty decent, and punch way above their weight for their price range! They have a huge variety available as well, from silicone straps, to Horween leather straps, and even exotic straps made from python leather. From now till the end of the circuit breaker period, Nomad is also throwing in free delivery for orders $20 and above!
Price: Starts at just $6.50 SGD for a NATO strap. As Nomad Watch Works is an official affiliate of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all items store-wide!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from Nomad Watch Works’ web-store here. Alternatively, you can also check out Nomad’s physical store in Tampines Mall to feel the straps for yourself being buying them online – after the circuit breaker ends, of course.
For those willing to spend a bit more, why not splurge on handcrafted straps, made by local artisans?
Who they are: “Our straps are mainly rugged and vintage in style. We make each piece meticulously by hand, using high quality materials that can stand the test of time, and we offer them at reasonable price.”
My opinion: I think that its amazing for them to offer handcrafted straps for as low as $38 SGD! Their leather quality is quite good as well, given the fact that they use full grain, vegetable tanned leather from Tuscany, Italy. Given their price point, bang for buck their straps hard to beat. Interestingly, they stock an extensive range of straps for the Apple Watch as well! For more detailed opinions, do check out my review of them here.
Review: For more detailed opinions, do check out my review of them here.
Price: Starts at $38 SGD for a one-piece strap. As Cozy Handmade is an official affiliate of Wah So Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all items store-wide!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here. They do have a physical showroom near MacPherson if you wish to consult the strapmaker, but that’s closed until the end of the circuit breaker period.
I know we all can’t wait to get out of our houses and go out with friends and family. As such, here are some local fragrances companies you can support in preparation for that day, from the comfort of your home!
As their name suggests, Singapore Memories offers perfumes that is inspired by Singaporean history and its iconic landmarks. Usually popular with tourists as souvenirs, sales have unfortunately plummeted due to the current COVID-19 situation. Nevertheless, we can still support the brand online!
Who they are: “Singapore Memories is trying to research on these fragrant and therapeutic Orchids of Asia and bring them to you as perfumes, room aroma and eventually as skin care.”
My opinion: You guys know how much I love supporting local brands – this entire website is dedicated to that – and I love it when homegrown brands unabashedly pay homage to their local roots. Singapore Memories has a nice variety of perfume available, all at very affordable prices. My personal favourites are the Aranda 1965, the Singapore Girl, and the Orchids by the Bay. The Aranda 1965 makes for a great everyday perfume to the office, with the Singapore Girl being a nice exotic option for a night out whilst the lighter Orchids by the Bay is perfect for a weekend out with friends. Lastly, I have to shout out the Peranakan Oud too – it’s very affordable for an Oud perfume, yet still possessing some unique characteristics. I think they make as great souvenirs for tourists/overseas friends as well! For a limited time only, Singapore Memories is offering readers a free 100ml bottle of room fragrance, with every purchase of a 100ml perfume. Given that we are all stuck at home currently, I’m sure we can all use a nice bottle of room mist to freshen up the air!
Review: For those that are interested, I did an in-depth review of the full range of Singapore Memories’ perfumes, which you can read here. In addition, I also attended a perfume workshop by them – I chronicled my experience here.
Prices: A 18ml EDT bottle starts at $28. As Singapore Memories is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, readers can quote the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all products online!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their online store here. For those that want to try before they buy, you can check out Singapore Memories’ full list of stockists here – after the circuit breaker ends.
Maison 21G specialises in “tailor-made perfumes”, allowing customers to create their own unique scent at an affordable price.
Who they are: “We’re a House of Scent Designers. Come inside and feel empowered to experiment with the finest ingredients. With us, you’ll be able to unlock your soul scent. Free of all toxins and hazards, this is a scent of your own. Made by you, for you.”
My opinion: I love Maison 21G – they are undoubtedly one of my personal favourites on this list. Firstly, their Duxton road boutique is welcoming and beautifully designed. Secondly, I love their concept of “tailoring” a scent for yourself. As you guys know, I’m quite big on tailoring, and was immensely intrigued by the concept of bringing the same notion over to fragrances. How Maison 21G works is simple – they have over 30 different solo scents, and which customers can combine to make their own unique scent. According to the brand, there are over a hundred different combinations for customers to explore! My favourite has to be combining Tea Time with Terrific Tonka, as well as Cannabis Cloud with Ginger Game. Maison 21G also offers a perfume workshop, where participants can learn about the history and art of perfume making, as well as get the opportunity to bespoke their own scent. Oh yes – Maison 21G also offers free engraving on each of their perfume bottles, so they make for great gifts as well! Perfume roll-ons are also available for those that prefer non-alcoholic products. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Maison 21G is now offering a set of 4 scented hand santizers at a promotional price of $55! And yes – you can still combine the promo code below with the promotional price.
Review: For those interested, I chronicled my experience of attending a workshop at Maison 21G here.
Prices: A 25ml EDP bottle (combination of two scents) starts at $80, while their perfume workshop starts at $120. As Maison 21G is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, readers can quote the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 20% off all products and workshops online!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their online store here, or visit their lovely boutique over at 77 Duxton Road once the circuit breaker is over.
Given that most of their perfumes are inspired by the founder’s favourite travel locations, Scent by SIX offerings may be the perfect perfume to spray on once this circuit breaker is over!
Who they are: “A cocktail mix of emotions and memories, SIX’s fine fragrances are inspired by destinations and immersive spaces aimed to appeal to your wanderlust.”
My opinion: SIX burst into the local fragrance scene in 2016 with its initial trio of perfumes, the Tribeca, Puka and my favourite, the Biel. Packaged in a svelte black form factor – it looks more like lip balm than a perfume bottle – the scents were meant to evoke the smells and vibe of the namesake locations. I found the concept of perfumes inspired by locations (which the founder had been to and loved) immensely intriguing. The scents are very unique as well, unlike anything I’ve ever smelt. The founder, Jason, actually worked at world renowned fragrance house Givaudan for 4 years, and used that expertise to develop scents for his own brand. For those who desire a more exotic scent, SIX is definitely a good option to consider. The best part? Their perfume bottles are refillable, so you can simply buy a refill (at a much lower price) when you run out. Not only is it economically friendly, it’s environmentally friendly as well!
Review: For more information, do read my review of Scent by SIX here!
Prices: A 20ml EDT bottle starts at $66, while refills costs $45. As Scent by SIX is an official partner of Wah So Shiok, readers can quote the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy 10% off all products online!
Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their online store here, or visit their physical stores at Bugis Junction once this circuit breaker is over.
There’s no denying that times are tough right now. According to the IMF, the economy is experiencing its worst recession since the Great Depression, and there’s no telling how much worse it might get. Entrepreneurs, local businesses, those without a “steady rice bowl” has been hit hard as a result. I encourage everyone to support these local businesses in their endeavours – you can support them online from the safety and comfort of your home.
Till this circuit breaker is over, let’s all try to stay home as much as possible in order to flatten the curve. Hopefully, a sense of normalcy will return in June. I’ll be taking this time off to examine the ways Wah So Shiok can improve and grow – expect exciting things to come very soon! In the meantime, I’m sure all the businesses mentioned above will greatly appreciate your patronage.
Remember – the night is always darkest before the dawn.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah So Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.