Founders of Bynd Artisan
CFS, Funding Partner since 2016

What does influence mean to you both personally?

James Quan (JQ): Influence means to be able to motivate and persuade others with my views and ideas when engaging in shared discussions. It is to have people understand my perspective.

Winnie Chan (WC): Influence, to me, is the ability to make a positive and impactful difference in someone else’s life. It is to be able to empower the people around me and play a part in their growth through continuous sharing and learning.

Any stories about the potential of youth that are powerful for you and you want to mention?

Both: Millennials are often labelled by employers as self-entitled individuals that are a challenge to work with. We beg to differ. The younger generation has much to offer— many have an entrepreneurial spirit and a positive attitude towards work, which makes them a valuable group to engage with – both as colleagues and customers.  

We have young millennials who work as part-timers alongside our older craftsmen, and they have always projected themselves as professional, positive and sincere. Despite the generation gap, the youths are accepting towards differences, and are patient and understanding towards their older colleagues. As such, we feel that millennials are more open-minded and thoughtful than we give them credit for. The younger generation should not be stereotyped based on a few negative examples of their peers. More faith and trust should be placed in youths as we believe that every individual has the potential to excel and succeed with the right guidance. As business leaders, it is up to us to nurture the youths to realise their true potential.

As parents, what keeps you up at night, thinking about the future of youth – their influencers and their sphere of influence?

JQ:  To be a youth in this day and age is not easy as it has become very competitive. Being good scholastically is no longer enough – the benchmark for excellence is raised continuously and youths are pressured to meet more demanding expectations. Thus, for youths to be able to make a difference in today’s world, it is crucial for them to have social skills, a positive mindset and the right attitude.

WC: I agree that society has become more demanding, but that does not mean that youths should shy away from challenges. We need to instill in them the hunger that our pioneer generation had which drove them to strive for a better future despite the setbacks they faced.

It is promising that today’s youth influencers comprise of a mix of young entrepreneurs and creative talents who can inspire them to be more daring in working to realise their dreams. I believe it is important for the leaders of the younger generation to empower them and show them the possibility of matching passion with purpose. Youths have to challenge social stigmas and be the change they wish to see.

As entrepreneurs, what are some emerging trends in your realm of work that you think has an impact or influences youth and the next generation?

JQ: Being in a unique industry of traditional craft, we believe that transformation does not necessarily have to involve cutting edge technology. While it is important to stay updated with technological trends and consumer preferences, creativity and innovation are the key elements that differentiate a business. Creativity can be used to reinvent the old and produce something extraordinary. Innovation is also crucial for growth and we feel that it is another factor that resonates with the younger generation.

WC: As our brand engages with the younger generation, we realise that youths today are very savvy – they know how to differentiate between fake news and real news and are less easily hooded compared to the older generation. As such, authenticity and sincerity are essential in building a brand that young millennials love, and this is something that Bynd Artisan prides itself in.

In addition, youths are also passionate about the things that have meaning to them and can be very hands-on when engaged. For example, in philanthropy, they do not stop at providing financial aid to those in need. Instead, youths would go the extra mile to put in time and effort to a cause that they believe in because they want to create an impact. I feel that such mindsets are commendable and believe that it will have a positive impact on the next generation.

How do you recommend a young person navigate this new trend/future?

While we believe that there is no standard ‘template’ or ‘roadmap’ for success as every individual’s journey is unique, we would advise youths to follow their passion and be bold in chasing their dreams.  Embrace challenges, dare to take the road less travelled, and enjoy the journey. They will be pleasantly surprised at how much they can accomplish with a strong drive and positive mindset.