It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has depressed spending across the board. Retail sales in Singapore fell 6.1 per cent in January 2021, compared with the 3.3 per cent year-on-year decline recorded in December last year in the latest report by the government’s Department of Statistics (SingStat). Sales fell across the department stores, cosmetics, toiletries, medical goods and apparel and footwear industries as they are still affected by low visitor arrivals, said SingStat.
International chains may have the deep pockets to weather the proverbial storm, but local companies running smaller operations may not be as fortunate. So if you’re in the mood to treat yourself to something special or are looking for a gift to mark an occasion, consider going local by shopping at one of these home-grown multi-concept stores. The best part? They’re all online, so you can browse to your heart’s content from the comfort of your home.
Kele is known for its award-winning buttery soft pineapple tarts that come in unique flavours such as rose, sweet potato and matcha, on top of the popular original ones. The 38-year-old confectionery also sells delicious cookies and crisp rolls that you can indulge in even after the Lunar New Year. However, did you know that it also has a branch selling artisanal roll cakes? Launched in 2018, these fluffy roll cakes are handmade with premium Japanese flour and stuffed with a generous filling of flavourful yet delicate cream. Expect flavours from classics such as chocolate and pandan to locally-inspired delights such as the black charcoal Mao Shan Wang and avocado gula melaka.
As its name suggests, Gather provides a platform for local brands to come together and grow. This is particularly so for newer-to-market local brands that might lack the muscle and physical space to showcase their work. Established in 2019, expect to find a range of unique products from independent labels selling women’s apparel and lifestyle products from fragrances to homeware and artisanal tea. These include Be You Co, a contemporary fashion label for the modern curvy woman, and Paradigm Shift, a modest minimalist label with an emphasis on ethical production.
The official retailer of Singapore Airlines carries a host of international labels, but it also has a special concept store – With Love, SG – dedicated entirely to supporting local brands and offers a thoughtful selection of merchandise that showcases Singapore’s unique culture and heritage. Whether you’re in the mood to refill your snack cabinet with munchies from The Golden Duck Co. or single-origin chocolate from Fossa Chocolate; grab some unique tableware from Luzerne; or switch up your skincare routine by trying the latest range from RE:ERTH, you’ll find everything you need with the click of a button.
4. NANA & BIRD
Nana & Bird began as a pop-up shop in a home in Tiong Bahru. Now, it has a charming physical store at Yong Siak Street and an online presence curating a wide range of products from women’s apparel and tote bags to kidswear, artisanal candles, jewellery, masks and pouches. The owners’ philosophy is to sell what they love, so expect products that are stylish and unconventional with pops of colour. The store carries its own line of clothing as well as products from local labels such as minimalist womenswear brand, r y e, and candles retailer, A Thing of Sense.
Pronounced as “wild”, the brands under the umbrella of this lifestyle and fashion boutique reflect the same energy and vibrancy as its name. Its store at Joo Chiat is filled with colourful trinkets, clothing, swimwear and accessories – the go-to for anyone who loves all things bright and bold. Head to its online store if you want access to a wider range of goods. We recommend the quirky gift packs which contain carefully curated items for various types of personalities, such as those with a green thumb, people with a creative streak, or someone who has earned themselves a well-deserved break.
This article was originally published on 12 September 2020 and updated on 22 May 2021.