During a year hit by Covid-19, Trixie Khong has steered her company By Invite Only to a seven-figure revenue.
Launched in 2009, the homegrown jewellery brand was a culmination of Khong’s quest for pieces safe for her sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Designed by an in-house team, items are produced free of nickel, lead and cadmium – these metals have shown to cause allergic reaction and cause damage to our lungs, kidney and bones – and garner a loyal following with their clean and modern aesthetic.
When Covid-19 struck, By Invite Only had to shut down its stores at Wisma Atria and VivoCity for two months following the circuit breaker in Singapore. Khong had to respond quickly; while she credits her “very capable team” for the feat, she also mentions the brand’s “established digital presence” that enabled them to steer shoppers to its website.
Khong is already mapping out her strategy for beyond Covid-19. Just in August, By Invite Only announced it’d acquired The Mindful Company, the local jewellery label known for the Reminder Cuffs that bear engravings of purposeful messages such as “Love Yourself” and “It’s Okay”.
“We will apply the styles of accessories at By Invite Only to the pieces at The Mindful Company – specifically classic, fuss-free pieces that can be easily matched and accessorised with everyday outfits,” Khong had mentioned in the press release. And this is well expressed by the new collection by The Mindful Company.
Fans can expect reinterpretations of its reminder bracelets, thanks to new colours such as green and beige, as well as gemstones ranging from labradorite and rhodochrosite to lapis lazuli. And those who love a #qotd can pick from a selection that includes “Still I Rise” and the infinity symbol.
For Khong, success entails more than just dollars and cents. She wants to extend The Mindful Company’s mission to support mental health. She’s also not letting up on efforts to being kind to others and to our planet.
By Invite Only works with factories that are part of the Business Social Compliance Initiative, which ensures they are fair of workers, not involved in child labour, and have put in place measures to protect the environment, for instance.
She also aims to make the company carbon-neutral by 2021. It offsets carbon and neutralises shipping emissions for every order. By Invite Only’s carbon offset funds support the Jari Para Forest Conservation Project to promote forest conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – over the long run, it will help prevent emission of more than 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
You were drawn to The Mindful Company for its support towards organisations focusing on mental wellness such as the Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH) and Samaritans of Singapore (SOS).
Mental health is so intricately intertwined with our personal and professional lives. It doesn’t just affect those who suffer from its physical symptoms but also others struggling through the failures and setbacks in everyday life. Yet we don’t talk about it enough, especially in Singapore.
My husband Steve – he’s also my business partner – and I have friends and loved ones who struggle with depression, suicide, as well as bipolar and clinically narcissistic disorders. We realised we didn’t adequately understand these conditions; we feel strongly that everyone has a responsibility to become more aware about mental health and wellness not just for ourselves but for others around us.
That’s why we want to work very closely with SOS and SAMH. We want to go beyond contributing portions of sales to these organisations and explore how we can be more involved in meeting their needs.
How do you plan to build on The Mindful Company’s niche in personalisation? What can we expect from the new collection by The Mindful Company?
Personalisation allows you to place a piece of yourself into the jewellery you wear. This is something By Invite Only didn’t offer but with personalised jewellery, we want to speak to customers on a deeper level by recognising the feelings, thoughts and emotions attributed to their jewellery. The new collection will feature key classics bearing new phrases that we feel are more relevant to current times such as the global battle against Covid-19. We are also introducing new designs to give customers more autonomy to decide what they want engraved on each item(s).
You started By Invite Only in 2009 to produce jewellery for your own sensitive eczema-prone skin. If yours could spill a secret about you, what would it say?
My favourite is definitely the basic hoops – I never take them off! And they are so easy to stack! But they might complain that, despite having to be creative at my job, I am actually very boring when it comes to my own jewellery choices!
What do you do for self-care?
I love music because it can take me mentally to a different place…Sometimes I just sit on my yoga mat and plug in songs I feel like dancing to, close my eyes and sway to the melody as I let go of my worries for that very short moment. Meditation never works for me; my mind is always noisy and full of ideas when it is quiet. With music played out loud, I am forced to be in the moment. That is just how I like it!