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FIELDTESTED | CARMEN LOW, ENTREPRENEUR & COMMUNITY ENABLER

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Carmen Low is the co-founder of Getai Group, Lepark and Afterglow. Carmen wants to build a community that not only is engaged and relevant but also celebrates the local Singapore culture and community that she lives in.

How did you decide that starting Getai Group, Lepark, Afterglow would be your calling?

It honestly isn’t as romantic as I would love it to be. The three different companies represent different seasons and phases of my life. 

Afterglow was started when I first returned from China and realised the importance of good, honest food that can be tracked and trusted.

For Lepark, it started because we thrive in under-utilised spaces and resources as we were so used to seeing how seemingly unexpected ideas and creativity spark off in the most unassuming places while in China.

Getai Group was a natural birth from Lepark, where we met Tim De Cotta who brought along his strong community ties in the local creative scene. 

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Share with us a turning point in your journey.

The turning point came quite late for me actually, it came to a point I was asking myself why am I doing this and I finally found the answer when a lady came to speak to me one day at one of our activation projects. She told me without knowing that I was one of the co-organisers “Can you please thank the organizers for doing this, I walked into this area feeling that it was one of the worst days in my life, but after watching these passionate people performing the crafts, I am able to walk out feeling a little more inspired and optimistic about my life.”

That made me rethink about why we are still pursuing the things we do, to make a difference (no matter how small) to someone’s life, and to provide hope and inspiration to the community we operate in.

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You seem to be one of those people who have gone out and created a life they love. What principles guide your decisions?

Love people. Make people feel better when they leave our restaurants/events/activation projects than when they walked in.

You speak a lot of culture and community, why is that so?

Yes, through working with the creative community in Singapore, I realized the importance of having a community and a culture of supporting one another. I love how the creative arts community in Singapore really watch out for one another. For example, our photographer is also a bassist, videographer, sound guy and master fixer. They will always jump to help whenever they can and this warms my heart. I hope that this culture of community and collegiality can spread throughout Singapore.

This can only be done if we have something that we can fall back on, which is people, cultural roots and a community spirit, or what I’d like to call a ‘kampung’ spirit.

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What’s an old object that you cherish?

Old printed photos with people that I love. Nothing beats physical objects that I can hold.

Where is your next adventure? Where are you off to?

I am going to trek Mt. Bromo and Mt. Ijen in Indonesia. I am pretty nervous about it as we have been so busy with Getai Soul.

We are inspired by Carmen’s passion for community and culture, and are proud to have her as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring friends that regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and trails to help us improve durability and design. Carmen wears The Sideswept Dhoti + Singapore Solar Yellow, Size 1.