Hands-on accents

TELECOMMUNICATIONS engineer Agnes Leong and protection associate Saran Mutang Tagal found a business partner in each other.

Being in a fast-paced and rigid industry, Leong and Tagal needed a platform to express their creativity and destress from their hectic work life. Sometime last year, Leong and Tagal established DIYKL and have not looked back since.

DIYKL is nothing like what it sounds, and it is surely not a hardware store. DIY (or “do-it-yourself”) is a culture that was embedded in Leong and Tagal’s lives at an early age. Leong, 27, came from a family who encouraged her to learn how to do things by herself, while Tagal, 26, started making her own jewellery when she was studying in university.

Inspired by culture, tradition and random things that catch the eye, the duo believes in having your own style. Hence, unlike ordinary jewellery stores, DIYKL inspires clients to make their own accessories.

Why make accessories when you can buy them?
People tend to get sucked into the shopping mindset of ‘I can buy it so I can throw this away’ but if they make the jewellery, the appreciation is often very different. Anyone can buy but piecing the jewellery yourself makes it unique.

How does it work when someone wants to buy materials from DIYKL?
You can pick the design or products that you need and get them delivered to you in the form of a DIYKL kit – in a box. You can create what you want with the supplies. All you need is a little thinking and designing, and then assembling the parts. It gives the client an opportunity to customise their own jewellery, to make a different kind of statement.

How long does it take to make one piece of jewellery?
It depends on the design of the jewellery. One piece of jewellery can take between five and 30 minutes.

Are the tools important to make these jewellery pieces?
Yes for some but not all jewellery designs need tools since we pre-cut the items for them.

Could you give us a fashion advice?
Tagal: You should have your own style, and be comfortable in what you wear because they make you confident.
Leong: I believe in taking a step back and looking in the mirror. I like it toned down. Make the required edits before leaving home – you’ll know when it all clicks.

Any plans of opening a physical store?
No. We believe that the future of business is in e-commerce. It is convenient and easily accessible. However, we plan to open pop-up stalls at selected bazaars and organise workshops for our clients.

What about YouTube tutorials?
Nothing is concrete for now because it is slightly difficult to shoot YouTube videos as it requires time and shooting from the right angles. With photos it is much easier to capture the process. We are considering it for the future – we’ll see how it goes.

Buying gifts for a male friend can be challenging. What do you think is a good gift for him?
Tagal: I would make bracelets for them; something that doesn’t look girlish of course. Aside from that, I’d give them something they can put to use.
Leong : Something useful. Guys don’t care about accessories as much as we do. They are more practical.