With the vision of becoming ‘’Singapore’s Most Loved Jewellery Brand’’, the name Poh Heng is no stranger to the Lion City populace. It all started with the late Mr Chng Tok Ngam, who founded the business with his father–in-law after becoming an apprentice at his uncle’s goldsmith shop. With decades of design and crafting experience Poh Heng has now successfully shone in the business for over 70 years, serving the hearts and minds of ornaments lovers.
By delivering traditional jewellery pieces with a modern twist, capturing the progression and real essence of each intimate moment between individuals, the pioneer jewellery brand provides a wide range of gold jewellery in 24K, 22K, 18K. There is no doubt that Poh Heng has proven to continue in providing consumers with jewelleries of the greatest quality and assured purity. Ready to be adorned by gems devotee all around the world.
Glitz reached out to the granddaughter of its founder, Mr Chng Tok Ngam—Pamela Seow, who also serves as the company current Assistant General Manager, to learn more about her vision and inspiration in continuing the family legacy. How she vows to create new pieces by translating the latest and forthcoming trends into unique creations for a local and worldwide audience, and the secret to finding your signature jewellery.
- I believe that Poh Heng jewellery is a family business? Has it always been a dream of yours to continue in the legacy? Share with us your journey.
- In what ways does Poh Heng reflect your values?
- Tell us about your favourite Poh Heng releases?
- Will there be any new launches that you might get excited about?
- What’s your favourite way to style jewellery?
- Looking back, what were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome as someone within a jewellery business?
- Tell us one of the biggest misconceptions about working in the jewellery industry?
- What advice do you give customers when it comes to choosing their ‘’signature jewellery’’?
- Last but not least, who’s your biggest inspiration?
Growing up, I shared a love of jewellery but it’s actually not my dream to be a part of the family business. I sort of fell into it because the timing was right and I wanted to be a part of good change. I wanted to be a journalist after university, after interning for magazines. Upon graduation, I joined an international bank to do corporate marketing as I wanted the experience of being in a corporate environment. One evening, I was walking to Chinatown and passed my uncle (then CEO). He asked me to join him, talked about the changes the company was seeing and it was a bit of an epiphany for me. Today, I have staff joining Poh Heng because the possibility of being part of that progression is more challenging and exciting.
In what ways does Poh Heng reflect your values?
The brand philosophy of integrity and commitment in everything that the brand does, resonates with my personal values, particularly, I believe that hard work, grit, merit and EQ are indispensable in achieving one’s goals in life. At Poh Heng, trust, passion and progressiveness are the main pillars of our brand ethos, and we aim to show love in everything we do. I strongly believe that passion is the motivation that drives us to excel or helps us adapt to life’s challenges. Without passion, we cannot progress.
Tell us about your favourite Poh Heng releases?
I think Poh Heng Legacy would be my favourite release. We launched the first collection in 2019 as we were on the cusp of a brand refresh. In 2021 after our brand campaign, Created for Love was launched, we followed up with another Legacy series introducing new age gemstones like Lapis Lazuli and Malachite. I own quite a few of the Legacy designs in my own personal collection!
Will there be any new launches that you might get excited about?
I would say Poh Heng Freestyle launches always get me excited. It’s termed Freestyle because of ‘Free to style’ and the versatility of the designs just makes the collection very exciting. It’s also very up to date in terms of trends and light (on the wallet as well). We’d be introducing a new concept to Freestyle in June, which allows customers to further mix and match their choices.
What’s your favourite way to style jewellery?
I wish I could do like what Coco Chanel always said – to remove one piece of accessory or jewellery before leaving the house, but I’m definitely a ‘more is more’ type of person. Styling with jewellery is not just about jewellery, but the outfit, with heels, belts, bags – it’s a whole look!
Looking back, what were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome as someone within a jewellery business?
Although the jewellery industry is seen as a part of retail or fashion, it’s actually very niche, very specific. Many people think that the jewellery business would be run by women because of the product, but it’s actually quite a male-driven industry. Being able to negotiate effectively as a business person means having to throw aside any hesitations or gender stereotypes by being able to bring to discussions a level head and the goal of collaborations, no matter how unwilling the other party may be.
Tell us one of the biggest misconceptions about working in the jewellery industry?
The biggest and possibly weirdest misconception about working in the jewellery industry is that I get to ‘go to any Poh Heng store and pick out jewellery to wear without paying’. I’m unsure where that concept came from but I can tell you that is untrue! One common misconception is that working in the jewellery industry is like working in any other retail store. To work in the jewellery industry, however, it takes tremendous knowledge, skill, and the ability to communicate complicated concepts.
What advice do you give customers when it comes to choosing their ‘’signature jewellery’’?
Signature jewellery depends on your own style – there is no point in chasing a trend that you will not wear. Design trends are cyclical – sometimes old is something new! We’ve seen trends come and go, and with gold prices at an all-time high, daintier pieces that can be stacked and layered are popular. Customers can also choose classic designs that will never go out-of-style as their signature pieces.
Last but not least, who’s your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration today is my girlfriend Su-Mae, founder of Bskin. She’s years younger than I am but is so wise, so level headed, always down to earth and always positive despite having 1001 things thrown at her. “I will always have your back” is what she always says to me and she always comes through in her actions.