Derrick Chew (@derrickchew) is the founder of Hyde & Co, an English themed cafe located at North Bridge Road. He started Hyde & Co. due to his love for London and it’s rich culture and iconic architecture. He is also the founder of Sight Lines Production - a local theatre company with a focus on youth and education outreach. We got the privilege to interview Derrick, whom we believe truly embraces the duality of our Jekyll Hyde bags.
1. Hi Derrick, can you tell us a short story about yourself?
I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of theatre and film and how all the various elements come together. So after graduating from school (Film & Media at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Communications at RMIT), I dived into the world of film and theatre as a freelance stage/production manager. In 2010, I joined Pangdemonium! Productions as their Marketing & PR Manager and then started Sight Lines Productions in 2012. In 2014, I started Hyde & Co., my little F&B project. This year, we are launching Hyde Consulting, a business consulting arm of Hyde & Co. focusing on Marketing and Branding consultancy.
Well because this is the space that best reflects me. It is a space created to embody my various passion - Food, Art, Design, Music, Architecture and Interior Design.
Hyde & Co - A contemporary cafe furnish with quaint decorations
3. Can you tell us the story behind Hyde & Co?
I was inspired by my travels to Europe, and I knew I wanted to go for a quaint, minimalistic, white, English style cafe. It needed to exude the Old English charm yet be modern and contemporary. The idea of a blend of two worlds was the genesis of the entire design concept. We decided to craft the idea around Jekyll & Hyde. Borrowing the idea from the novel of Jekyll & Hyde, we envisioned a space with multiple characters - one that is constantly evolving, ever transforming.
As we continued working on the brand, we discovered many parallels and associations that clicked so beautifully that we knew this was going to be our brand name. For example how the ideology of the brand mirrors the Singapore story - of its past - the old world British charm and its present - a thriving independent metropolis. The icing of the cake was how we were able to marry the brand with my passion of arts, theatre and literature.
The little details that make Derrick fall in love with our Strand Briefcase in Midnight Blue (Reversible)
4. What does storytelling mean to you?
Storytelling to me is about building a connection and engaging with your audience. Storytelling is a two way traffic. You need a storyteller and a receiver. If you fail to engage with your receiver, you lose them. And likewise in business - you constantly need to reach out and engage with your customer. And storytelling is that unique concept to connect with them.
5. What is your favourite form of storytelling and why? What influenced it and has it influenced you?
It will have to be my both loves - theatre and film.
Theatre - the idea of live theatre excites me and the fact that anything can happen. That is raw and real at the same time. Theatre also has that amazing ability to connect with audiences on a very visceral, emotional and spiritual level. My work in the theatre has taught me empathy and how to connect with the heart.
Film - The idea of painting a picture and the ability to evoke emotions through it is something powerful that film can do. My training in film has greatly influenced my sense of aesthetics and my design style. It has also taught me the importance of pacing, timing and rhythm which are key in storytelling.
6. Do you have any words that you live by?
I love quotes and these are a few quotes that I hold dear to me:
1. "There are two most important days in our life - the day we were born and the day we find out why."
2. “Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to live your life.”
3. “Doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing but no one else does.”
4. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
The perfect place for a book and a cuppa
8. Do you have a favourite fictional story? Why is it your favourite and how has it influenced you?
Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I studied it for O Levels Literature and fell in love with it immediately. It is a brilliant allegorical story with so much depth and symbolism. I love the book so much that I made it my goal to produce the play one day. And I am glad I managed to fulfil that dream last year!
I fell in love with Literature and Theatre because of Lord of the Flies. I remember we had to put the show up together in class and that was my first introduction to theatre. I was captivated by the entire experience and I knew instantly that this will be what I am going to do for a very long time.
9. Which is your favourite style and what is your all-time favourite piece?
I’ve had many different phases. Growing up, it was OP and Billabong. And then I had the Hawaiian shirt phase, floral and the all blacks phase.
Now I’m obsessed with nautical. I also love stripes and checks. And needless to say, my favourite colour is Navy Blue. I also tend to look out for unique embellishments and design elements in clothes.
My all time favourite is shoes. They inform a lot about the person. Men’s fashion can be quite limiting - shirt/tshirt/polo tee. But shoes has so many categories - dress shoes, loafers, oxfords, boat shoes, sneakers etc. Each has it’s own personality and purpose. It allows you to express yourself without being over the top. It is also the most practical choice because of our weather compared to say scarves or vests.
10. Is there a particular style that defines you or makes you feel comfortable in?
I feel most comfortable in casual shirts and jeans. As an entrepreneur, I would have to meet a lot of customers and clients and t-shirts would be too casual. That said, I always feel formal shirt and dress pants very stifling. Thankfully for my industry, casual shirts work well.
11. Do you have any style inspirations?
Not really. I’m not really a fashion person. I enjoy studying about current trends and then mixing and matching to create my own style.
12. Name one style you think men should adopt?
I feel that men should dress for the occasion. The singlet-shorts-slippers look should only be strictly reserved for going to the market or at most to the nearby kopitiam. And of course, to the beach.
13. Do you have any fashion pet peeve?
Yes. Slippers. Especially when you wear it out to town, I cannot...
14. Can you tell us what are 3-5 everyday essentials that you carry and why?
1. Notebook with Monthly calendar planner - I am a pen and paper person.
2. Xiaomi powerbank - You know how battery life are these days...
3. Ray Ban Shades - I do have sensitive eyes and my optician recommend I protect my eyes from the sun
4. Leather Wallet - This is a hand-crafted leather wallet by my friend who owns Hughes Handcrafted. It was made in 2011 and it is still serving me very well! Check him out at @hughes_handcrafted
15. What do you like about your Strand Briefcase?
1. There are many useful compartments! I love to have stuff organised in different places.
2. Reversibility. I love the prints on the Hyde side. I love that one bag comes with 2 different styles. It’s very in line with what I like and what I buy - unique and differentiated.
“Love the functionality of this bag” - Derrick
16. Describe how you can style your Strand Briefcase.
The Jekyll side in Midnight Blue fits all my styles as it’s a classic colour and texture.
The Hyde side is what I love to have to spruce up my outfits.
“A classic colour and texture for all outfits” - Derrick
Check out Hyde & Co social media accounts:
Check out Sightlines Productions social media accounts:
STORYTELLERS WE LOVE is a monthly series that sets out to uncover different forms of storytelling in the world, by engaging influencers in their own right and thought leaders in their industry. We believe that their stories and way of storytelling will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire personal storytelling without boundaries.