Lined polyester-blend bomber jacket, viscose polo shirt and triacetate-blend pants, from CK Calvin Klein.
When Stephanie Er left her Instagram account in April, it triggered a sizeable reaction. People – friends, followers and the curious – were trying to find her, see her, and hear from her.
“What happened to her?!”
“Where is she?!”
“What is she up to?!”
Well, she has been up to a lot. Including deciding to “not want to be found” so that she can be “more present in real life”.
“My friends go, ‘I don’t know what’s going on in your life now that you don’t use Instagram’. I think that’s great. We can now have a conversation. We can sit down and actually talk,” says Er.
“I think Instagram is definitely a great marketing tool for businesses. But for self-validation like ‘Hey look at me! I dress well!’, I don’t need that anymore. I am a little too old for that. And I think that at some point, everyone should age gracefully and move on with their lives. I’d rather be known for my work. Even if all my businesses failed, I want people to say ‘she tried, she failed, but she tried, that's what I want my daughter to think.”
Her soon-to-be-three-year-old daughter Ara hasn’t just been her focus – she has been pivotal to the change we see in Steph Er 2.0. “I want her to have someone to truly look up to, instead of someone who just takes nice photos of herself,” says Er. “I want her to say, ‘Mummy tried different things’, not just ‘Mummy dresses well and takes a lot of pictures’.”
In April 2016, Er started salad bar Sprout at Duxton Road. “It represents an extension of my home, a place for a good meal.” In January this year, she launched Arch.army, an online “tomboyish-girlie” streetwear label Arch. Her latest project: A Juicery, an online cold-pressed juice business which she acquired last year and turned into a brick-and-mortar at 21 Lorong Telok last month.
Er was previously a customer of A Juicery. “They wanted to sell it, and I have a salad bar, so I thought the two would go well together. They already have an existing pool of customers and we’ve just got to build on that instead of starting from scratch.”
Viscose polo shirt and hooded lined wool top, from CK Calvin Klein. Jumpsuit, her own.
Since taking over, Er and her team of three have changed the branding.
“Previously, its juices were marketed for detox cleanses, but I want to change that perception. Cold-pressed juices are nutritious beverages and thirst quenchers. They should be consumed every day, not just for cleansing.”
They also redesigned the bottles – introducing a smaller 100ml one for exercise junkies and older kids – as well as the website and expanded the menu with seasonal juices. The only thing that’s status quo: the juice recipes, which are now split into four categories – green-vegetable-based, root-based, citrus-based, and nut-milk-based (Er says the latter is a more filling option).
A Juicery also has a basic coffee menu – “Because coffee is a staple, and we are in the CBD” – and to-go wraps that target the lunchtime crowd who want grab-and-go beverages and food.
Next up: A Juicery products will be available via ATM-like vending machines.
“Like a typical vending machine, it will dispense bottled juice. Unlike a typical vending machine, you can’t see the goods, and it only accepts credit card payments. We are still hunting for the perfect location for it.
“My daughter has changed me. I am still superficial, but I am not as superficial as before.
Here with Er is Fion Tan, 30, her long-time friend and “little sister”, and part of the team of three that runs A Juicery and Sprout.
On Tan: lined polyester-blend bomber jacket, viscose polo shirt and triacetate-blend pants, from CK Calvin Klein. Shoes, her own. On Er: lined wool coat and polyester-blend pants, from CK Calvin Klein. Top and shoes, her own.
MIKI GAO/ KIM ROBINSON
HONGLING LIM, USING NARS