When you work in a cushy, well-paid corporate job, it takes guts to leave it all behind to follow your passion. But that’s exactly what Gloricia Shen did, and during the height of a pandemic, no less.
She is the founder and owner of Studio An, an inclusive and multidisciplinary art studio known for offering trendy rug-tufting workshops, 3-hour art buffets, and even open studio sessions for basically any type of art-jamming activity you can think of. Yet, the 28-year-old (who goes by Glo) never even wanted to be her own boss in the first place.
“If anything, I’m a hobbyist,” Glo said with a laugh. “I think it’s the most accurate term.”
She saved up enough funds to enroll in a Master’s Degree, but the pandemic meant she would be studying online at an overseas university, at home and isolated — not exactly the type of higher education experience a millennial would hope for.
That’s when Glo decided to turn all her time and energy toward something had always loved: arts and crafts. Not only does she find joy in creating artwork with her own hands, but she also has a knack for easily connecting with people and teaching her customers.
“I think, in general, the studio operates very differently from other places mainly because it’s a passion project more than it is a money-making project,” she explained.
Her small team consists of part-time staff, comprised of working professionals and students. Their shifts last a few hours, but to them, it doesn’t feel like work. For an upcoming Native exclusive pet-themed tufting event, Glo says her staff were fighting over who gets to work the shift. We don’t blame them, because after all, who wouldn’t want to work in a space full of furry friends?
Singapore is known for being a competitive country, whether it’s in education, dating, and unquestionably, business. At Studio An, customers feel a sense of calm as soon as they step into the large and colourful warehouse space at Kaki Bukit. The relaxed vibe extends from the atmosphere to its owner and staff, who never give customers the sense of urgency to finish their artwork.
This inviting and friendly approach stems back to it being a passion project, rather than operating purely as a profit-focused business. That’s what sets Studio An apart from the crowd, particularly when coupled with its wide-ranging art workshops and activities.
For Glo, the importance of freedom for customers is essential for a good experience.
“I like guests [them] to just really trust the process. Don’t be afraid to experiment, we encourage you to mess up,” she said when referring to the art buffet. “That’s why we think it’s fun because you can be super restless and not know what to do, but you can do it over again.”
When we asked Studio An’s owner how she would feel if she was able to open her business during the pre-COVID era, she immediately said it was almost a blessing in disguise.
“It gave me time to adapt, and you really spend time with people and have that relationship with your customers,” said Glo. “The people that came honestly just needed a place to unwind, and escape reality. That was the best because I had the most fun people come in. Like, I’m friends with them now.”
Even though she never wanted to be a business owner, Glo seems to be doing a fantastic job at running a successful art studio – its one-year anniversary is coming up in July and she is excited to celebrate with discounts on workshops and special collaborations with other small art businesses.
So, where does she see herself and her studio in the next two years?
“I just want to go with the flow, and I think that’s what it’s about,” said Glo. “You’re not supposed to be so uptight about art, you know? In general, there’s always going to be a business out there that’s there for the money, but I’m here for the experience.”
If you’re a pet-lover and want to experience art-jamming in the best way, check out our Doggy Day Out: Tuft Your Fluff rug-tufting event at Studio An this weekend! Create a special rug dedicated to your furry friend, and enjoy special treats for both humans and fur friends.
Address: 18 Kaki Bukit Rd 3, #02-19, Singapore 415978
When: 11am-3pm; Sunday June 26th, 2022