Y21 WOMAN #5 / CHRISTINE TAN

Y21 WOMAN #5 / CHRISTINE TAN

Y21: Why did you decide to strike out on your own as an artisanal soap maker?

Christine: I started using soap bars in 2016 and adopted a hobby to collect them as souvenirs from the places I’ve travelled to. I remembered discovering this lovely soap shop in Hallstatt, Austria but I realised they were all very simple and lacklustre. As a visual person, I like to surround myself with beautiful things as it affects my mood.

The underlying idea of zakka shares a philosophy that if you make good choices about the objects you surround yourself with, they will pay you back with joy. We take inspiration from this to redefine the humble bar soap and transform this everyday ordinary item.

Y21: What does your typical day look like?

Christine: The one consistent thing that I do every day is start my day with a cup of iced oat milk latte, with beans I purchased from Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory. I love that you can bring your own jars there so you can avoid any packaging. I usually try to read for 10 – 20 minutes in the morning before I start work, and then I review what I need to get done for the day on my Google Calendar. As I wear multiple hats, no work day look the same. Some days I’ll be ideating for products we could make and testing them out and other days I’m doing research and planning content for our social media.

The fun days are when I get to make soap… and the no-so-fun part of having to do the dishes come after.



Y21: What challenges do you face in your day-to-day life?

Christine: Time management. Too many things to do, too little time! I also have a bad habit of getting lost down the TikTok rabbit hole...

Y21: Where do you look for creative inspiration?

Christine: I love Pinterest as it’s easy to access to so many incredible concepts and visuals, but I find that it can tend to look the same over time as the algorithm just shows you what you click and save. I like to use design websites as a discovery tool for inspiration for colours, textures and other interesting ideas. The chrome add-on Muzli is also helpful to discover interesting designs.

Y21: What's your personal style?

Christine: I tend to lean towards feminine designs (i.e. long, flowy or picnic dresses) and colours, but I have been into a beige phase and Swedish fashion lately.

 

Y21: What makes you happy?

Christine: Having the freedom to do whatever I want and travelling. I love being able to discover new places and the culture, architecture and nature brings me so much joy. 

Y21: What does freedom mean to you?

Christine: Peace of mind and being able to work on my own schedule.

Y21: Any tips on maintaining a healthy work life balance?

Christine: Good question! I’m still trying to learn how to maintain a healthy work life balance… Set alarm for daily walks and remember to take some time off for yourself.

Y21: You’re both a soap maker and stylist. How do you balance your time between the two?

Christine: Google Calendar is a godsend. Time-blocking is important and also delegating certain tasks for certain days i.e. Monday – Wednesday is client work, Thursday – Saturday is to work on gentle mood helps.

Y21: What advice would you give new soap makers?

Christine: Keep experimenting. Try and fail and then try again.

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About Christine Tan

Christine is a freelancer content creator and a soap maker who is passionate about life. She loves design – from architecture, fine arts to packaging. She believes that aesthetics and environmental sustainability can go hand-in-hand; you don’t have to compromise nature to enjoy good design. During her free time, she enjoys travelling, reading and listens to one too many true crime podcasts. 

Follow Christine on Instagram, @xchristinetan and her soap brand @gentlemood.co.


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