WI2 Design: Singapore Prestige Class Award 2020/2021
The Three ‘Tan’ Musketeers
Wi 2 Design was started in 2017 by three friends: Tan Wei Leng (also known as Insta), William Tan Jun Wei, and Vincent Tan Chung Hoe. Insta’ s family has been in the interior design industry for 20 years. Following the footstep of his parents, he first set up his interior design firm in 2015 that focused on commercial projects. The desire to branch out into doing residential design then led him to bring his two friends, William and Vincent, onboard.
William and Vincent are also no strangers to the interior design world, as the two of them have had years of experience in the field. A true artist at heart, Vincent loves all kinds of design, be it apparel or even cartoon characters. He also loves drawing and started pursuing design seriously at the age 22, as he aspired to be an interior designer. For William, the decision to pursue design as a profession allows him the flexibility of not being desk-bound, opportunities to interact with clients, and most importantly plenty of room for creativity and experiments.
Together, the three friends, who also happen to share the same surname ‘ Tan’, decided to come together and set up Wi 2 Design. The name of the company refers to “we and clients together”, implying harmonious partnership and long-term relationship, as clients embark on their home renovation journey with them. The three of them also take pride in their strong friendship and combined strengths, resulting in more efficient brainstorming and speedy problem-solving. “We always work together as a team so there are more outputs and ideas, unlike some of the other firms where each designer is expected to act on their own,” Vincent shares.
When asked how the three of them manage relationships as both friends and business partners, they cited open communication as key. “We may not always see eye to eye on everything, but we always try to find common understanding and work from there,” says William. “Ultimately, we aim to maintain professionalism at all times, communicate openly, help to cover each other’ s weaknesses and complement each other’ s strengths, so we can deliver the best results.” Even as they aim for expansion, the three say they would rather do it in a slow and steady manner, in order to bring the right personnel on board and maintain family values.
Hustling When The Rest Of The World Comes To A Halt
In terms of hiring a designer, Insta, William, and Vincent agree on the qualities that they look for. “First of all, the person must have real passion of the industry,” says William. “If the passion is there, most of the skills can be picked on the job as long as they are willing to learn.” Other than that, they also quoted accountability and strong sense of responsibility as the desired traits. “Projects can often be long, so we need someone who is committed to seeing it through until completion, and do so with a sense of urgency. The designer also must be able to share their expertise with clients and go the extra mile in helping the clients, as relationship-building is important to us. Trust with clients have to be established early on,” Vincent shares. Insta further adds that they also try to shares whatever expertise they have with the clients, for instance, new F& B clients who may not necessarily have all the industry knowledge yet.
As with many other businesses, the global pandemic has negatively impacted the company’s performance, and posed a serious challenge for Insta, Vincent, and William. However, they did not let that deter their spirit. Even during the Circuit Breaker period, when no project could be carried on, the three were still busy taking up courses to better equip themselves.
“We took up courses on the safe management measures so we could operate the business in a safe manner. On top of that, we also learnt digital marketing as well as e-commerce, as those proven to be important at times like this. We believe it is crucial to constantly upgrade oneself,” Insta says.
“Passion Is One Great Force That Unleashes Creativity…”
Insta, William, and Vincent have garnered plenty of achievements from all their years of experience. From being featured in HDB magazine and Malay newspaper, to designing chain F& B outlets such as A- One and Subway, Harry’s Bar office, and multiple high-end condos, it seems like they have done it all. But to the three of them, the greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the smiling faces of their clients when a project is done. “When clients make thumbs up sign as they take picture at their new place, or when we see the business for retail clients prospering, we feel really proud and motivated to keep doing better. We even become friends with some of our clients and would go out for meals with them from time to time,” Vincent shares proudly.
As for projects that they would like to try in the future, there are a few fun ideas on the table. One of them is designing a hotel where each of them room has a specific theme, potentially inspired by local places here in Singapore. Other projects include designing a bungalow from scratch, as well as becoming condo main designer for show flat.
For young entrepreneurs thinking of entering the field, Insta suggests to do further research about the industry and learn as much as possible. “ It is good to know the pros and the cons of this job, such as the long working hours and the need for constant communication with clients as well as contractors. And of course, it is best to also have family’s support.”
For more information about Wi 2 Design, please visit their website at www.wi2design.com or call them at 9763 1290 (William) / 8687 8838 (Vincent). They are located at 2 Yishun Industrial Street 1, North Point Bizhub # 03 – 09, Singapore 768159.