Contrary to the common notion that a person’s affinity is towards the arts or the sciences, Amy Long has spent her life oscillating between the two fields.
Even though she later forged a successful career in the energy industry working for Shell, Long never gave up on her passion for art. She constantly delved into personal home projects. The New York Times and House & Garden even featured some of her creations.
“It has always been a struggle to integrate the commercial and the creative sides of my brain. During my teens, I was in a maths and science high school in the US, but I’d take classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art after school,” says Long.
“I was always told that I wouldn’t be able to indulge both the commercial and the creative in my career. People said my interests were too divergent.”
The naysayers were wrong. In 2020, Long finally found that immaculate balance between the two as the general manager of Vermillion, which touts itself as Asia’s first B2B platform connecting Asian artisans with merchandisers, hospitality groups and retailers.
The pandemic, says Long, was the key factor in her making the career switch.
“I think Covid has made many people think about their priorities in life and asking if they are making the best use of their time. I realised that even though I had learned so much in the energy industry and enjoyed what I was doing, things just weren’t exciting anymore,” she says.
The first thing she did was to embark on an apprenticeship at Elizabeth Hay, a Singapore-based design firm, to learn more about interior design. But serendipity struck when she learned a friend was starting Vermillion.
“I immediately thought that Vermillion would be the perfect way to combine my commercial expertise with art and creativity. Joining the company was a simple decision,” she says.
Besides curating an eclectic yet expansive selection of crafts, including ceramic wares, rattan furniture, ottomans and hand-tufted rugs, Vermillion also prides itself in showcasing the processes and inspirations of the designers it supports.
Among the Singaporean creators in Vermillion’s stable is rattan artist Si Ying Ng, scented candle maker Jacqueline Kwong, furniture company ipse ipsa ipsum, and wohabeing, the design brand under renowned architectural firm WOHA.
Vermillion also provides product sourcing and interior styling services. One of its recent clients is The Great Room, a co-working space at 1 George Street. It spruced the place up with works from emerging Singaporean and South Korea designers.
Looking back at her decision to make the leap of faith into a new industry, Long concedes that there was a smidgen of doubt.
“There was definitely risk involved,” she says.
“But we only live once. It’s important to lead a meaningful life, and one way to do that is making sure you experience everything that you want to experience and not have any regrets.”