Interview: Ann Lim of 90s Candy Society & Craft Society

Back when we were both students in MGS, my classmate Ann always scored As and was pretty much every teacher’s dream… while yours truly would consistently bring home a big fat red zero for 听写 😛 Catching up with Ann over tea after we hadn’t seen each other for what seems like forever, I realized the woman possesses a rock solid photographic memory.

“I remember you sat on my right,” my friend grinned as we sipped our green tea at Bincho, laughing at silly memories like us having swimming PE first thing in the morning at ACS, where we had to endure the annoying antics of immature schoolboys while trying not to freeze to death in the cold water. “Those were the days.”

Now a young mother of two, the happily married woman is also owner of two successful businesses. Ann’s keen interests in jewelry making inspired her to start Craft Society, while her nostalgia for childhood sweets led her into the direction of The 90s Candy Society. Having said that, the sassy entrepreneur also juggles a full time job!

“Tell me woman, how do you do it?” I balked when she shared that she had been doing this balancing act for years. “Do you have a cloning device or time machine?”

“I dream of being able to spend more time with my kids,” Ann shared as she pulled out a big package of beads from her bag. “So I work hard to make sure the businesses are going well, so eventually I can be able to make that dream happen.”

Essentially, when you want something bad enough, you’ll make it all work out. Ann’s husband works in F&B but they always make sure they have adequate family time despite long working hours. Thankfully their supportive parents help to look after the kids when they are done with school too. Email correspondences are done personally by Ann within 24 hours, and for events she engages part-timers to assist her. No one ever said being your own boss is easy!

“But it’s been really fulfilling, watching happy couples who engage us for our retro candy buffet get married… And giving workshops to office ladies whose company’s HR hire us for beading activities,” Ann quipped as her nimble fingers quickly set up our beading equipment in place. “Now, you’ll get your candy only after you successfully make your necklace. Are we ready to start?”

“Uhm. Wait. You have those magic pop rocks that I like right?” I asked, eyeing the other package in Ann’s massive tote bag. “Oh! And those old-school Haw Flakes we always shared when we were kids?”

“Not only that, I have the Ding Dang and Tora treats that come with those little fun toys inside,” Ann winked. “…which I remember you like, Ning.”

And with that, we started my first beading lesson. It took about 90 minutes before my necklace was finished. And in those 90 minutes I realized jewelry work was not just a simple job of stringing beads together. It required some needle work and clever knots, as well as, a sharp eye for coordination and colours.


A sampler of the various beds used in constructing the necklace

A sampler of the various beds used in constructing the necklace

Ann showing me the ropes... er, threads...

Ann showing me the ropes… er, threads…

The finished product!

The (almost) finished product!

Ann and yours truly with our handmade jewelry

Ann and yours truly with our handmade jewelry

While I was busy making my mala necklace, Ann also made her own bracelet

While I was busy making my mala necklace, Ann also made her own bracelet

So pwetty... Ann's done this for half a decade so it didn't take her long to do this!

So pwetty… Ann’s done this for half a decade so it didn’t take her long to do this!

My necklace with all the shades and colours of tonal subtleties...

My necklace with all the shades and colours of tonal subtleties…

So that was us working with Swarovski crystal beads. That’s one thing I absolutely love about Art/Craft… give different people the same supplies and everyone will surprise you with something different 🙂 I was brought up in a very strict school that favoured Math/ Science over Art and Literature. I think it’s tragically sad that the (now retired) principal herself told me so during one of our one-on-one sessions. This belief was so deeply instilled that everyone dropped Art as an “O”-Level subject, except for me and three other girls.

From the bottom of my heart, I truly hope things are changing now. After all, wasn’t it Winston Churchill who so famously responded to a plan to cut money for the arts to fund the WW2 effort by proclaiming: “Then what are we fighting for?”

…Anyway, in case you’re wondering if I got my (Scooby) snacks, I did!

Retro snacks from our childhood... yay hey!

Retro snacks from our childhood… yay hey!

Suddenly transported back to a time when we were innocents...

Suddenly transported back to a time when we were innocents…

FYI! From now till midnight of 31 December 2015, Ann is generously extending a 25% discount with purchase of S$25 and above when you key in the discount code NINGTHING 🙂 If you’re having an event coming up, you should really take a look at her retro candy buffet. They’re awesome and even comes complete with everything (table with skirting, perfectly fitted crockery and the works!).

Truly, I admire Ann’s earnest energy and drive. Check out the interview I did with her:

Scribble Project - Ann

Scribble Project - Ann Lim

Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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