Anisa Johnny, Co-Founder of Style Nomads
Anisa Johnny’s flare for business started when she was just four years old – and she got caught selling items to her kindergarten group. “I got reprimanded by my parents for helping myself to my mum’s sugar-candy pre-made cake decorations, which I then re-packaged as ‘magic candy’,” she says of the memory from her childhood in Britain.
Travel forward in time to the 1990s, when everyone was into black Prada handbags, and Anisa bucked the trend, making small colourful bags out of fabrics she found at local markets in London. In 2001, Anisa launched a funky fashion brand at London Fashion Week Off Schedule that got featured in The Sunday Telegraph. “It was very lucrative,” recalls Anisa, who eventually moved to Singapore in 2011. “I had clients in the UK, Barcelona, Paris.”
But in the ensuing years, Anisa’s eyes were opened to the harsh realities of fast fashion. “I did not want to support an industry polluting the planet,” she says. Enter Style Nomads, the social enterprise she co-founded in Singapore in 2013 to train single mums and other marginalised women how to make jewellery to sell online.
To date, Style Nomads has trained more than 50 women.
The stunning statement jewellery itself is assembled here using 14K to 24K gold-plated brass, and features semi-precious stones like freshwater pearls, turquoise, coral, garnet, jet and mother of pearl. All profits go back into the social enterprise. The ultimate pay-off? “It’s the confidence [the women] gain and knowledge that someone has invested in them.”
Started in 2017 by The Finder, the Expatpreneur Awards are intended to honour hard-working, successful, community-minded foreign-born business owners in Singapore. All winners must exhibit how their businesses help people “live well in Singapore” – The Finder’s own mission. This year, marks the fifth annual awards. Find out more here.
By K Praveena