Baring It / Bearing It

We didn’t quite see it coming. In a way, life is about changes and challenges but when you are 30 and blissfully bumbling along, some changes may seem a tad surprising, a little overwhelming. We certainly are accumulating life experience!

Some changes are slightly on the plus side. We are moving out of the current rental and into a home we finally bought. As you may or may not know, there are now rumblings of a harder than soft landing in the property market. We shall see. Then there were some health issues that afflicted one of us, and the fact that the Small And Able shop may be closing earlier than expected. We have said before we don’t know about the longevity of the idea. But we weren’t expecting that problems with the building in which the shop sits to prematurely hasten a conclusion.

It was really getting all of us down, amid the other things we have to worry about. And so we are making arrangements to move our stock out of the shop. There is the issue of rent paid for nothing and rent that will have to be paid. We look around the shop and see the costs we have sunk in and that isn’t the thing that really gets to us. It’s the reality that our little adventure is over. People tell us to carry on, chin up or make other encouraging noises. For that, we are grateful. We are humbled that anyone other than our friends and family care. We thought you all knew from the start that we were gonna be more pop-up than a real pop-up. Ha.

2014 has only just started and it seems so interesting already! We have been busy alternating between dousing flames and being sullen about it all. And we will probably be that for a short while more. See you around, guys.


Small And Able, 6 months on


Christmas is rolling around soon. Amidst all that we have to do, I sometimes have a quiet moment and just that day, I realized that Small And Able is properly six months old. If you think about it, six months seems like quite a short period. But we are the sort to over-think and we were wondering if we have some thoughts or conclusions to draw.

Conclusions. At the start, we never were sure about the sustainability of the idea. We knew what we didn’t want to sell; we knew that selling 100 of an item that yielded $2 profit would make little sense in Singapore. We remember the astute estate agent who suggested we sell handbags and furniture instead.

Hence, the shop was started in the spirit of a pop-up. We never intended to be a proper retail shop; we don’t have the money or the will to pay someone else to sit in one place the entire day. Seems too stifling. We did try to keep the shop open for as long as possible when it first opened. But given that we weren’t banking on walk-in traffic, it turned out that we were indeed too hopeful. We slowly cut back on our hours when we figured that it didn’t quite make a difference to our bottom line. We remembered that we liked to take walks, eat brunch and sleep in. We were spending so much time on the shop that there was little time for anything else.

We have found new friends, entered strangers’ consciousness and we feel so happy that there are people out there who are wearing something we sold them, cherishing a little item they bought from out small shop, telling their friends about this space..

I am trying hard to not make this sound like the conclusion already. But well, we get asked this question fairly often and well-meaning friends and family try to give us tips. So it is a question that we think about quite often.

What Small And Able is fills us with pride. I know it is hard to categorize us or to understand why we want to do this, but we are like that as individuals anyway. I don’t want us to sound bitter or condescending. Because we truly appreciate our luck and whatever blessings we have had the benefit of. It is fitting that we spend the upcoming festive season in contemplation and being able to count our blessings.

But at the end of the day, rent is rent. We will just wait and see.

Oh, oh, O. It’s October.


We usually are quite good with dates, but rather belatedly realized that it’s October. October last year was when JOTTER JOTTER was started, our eyes somewhat mistily set on an eventual shop+studio space.

This came to life in June this year, with the opening of Small And Able, tucked away in a forgotten mall. We’ve jumped out (a little) from our private selves, stuck ourselves to numbers and overheads, wondered where this is all headed. We get angsty when people ask for discounts (don’t you understand what it means when a shop is able to regularly give a 40, 50% discount?) and yes, we know (very well!) that an independent shop in Singapore will struggle because of cost of land.

But without a concrete plan, without a better plan, we have managed to hum along. We are still far from our goals, but we know one thing: count our blessings, and move right on.

See you next year. Maybe.