Exploring his interest in making products

While his peers spent their afternoons playing computer games, he was usually found in hardware shops in the vicinity of his parents' bakery at Upper Aljunied Lane.

That was how Mr Poh Wenxiang, founder of Make Your Own, found his passion in combining mechanics and art and started making furniture and lights.

The 29-year-old said: "Looking at the different bolts and gears in the shops inspired me. It made me think about how the different components could and fit together to perform a function.

"I would also talk to people in the shops to find out what the different parts were used for."

Make Your Own, a company which holds workshops teaching people how to make furniture, was founded in June last year after Mr Poh left his job as a visual merchandising designer.

The company is next to his parents' bakery.

The former Nanyang Polytechnic industrial design student now conducts workshops teaching people to make products such as lamps and tables using industrial materials like copper pipes and wooden blocks.

Make Your Own also makes customised furniture and lighting.

The workshops are usually held twice a week on weekends, and they take place at various locations, depending on the companies Mr Poh is working with. There are five to eight people in each class.

Mr Poh said: "I see workshops as a form of sharing knowledge with people and raising awareness for creativity.

"It's also a good way to teach people to find alternatives to products, instead of having them buy items off the shelf."


Mr Poh was also able to explore his interest in making his own furniture and products during design and technology lessons during secondary school.

He said: "The process of turning something raw into a product fascinated me."

He started making and modifying his own furniture when he renovated his new home in 2010.

One of his first creations was a customised coffee counter made out of a children's cabinet from Ikea.

He assembled the cabinet according to instructions, but added some switches and lighting to it.

Mr Poh gets a thrill out of mixing and matching different hardware components to suit their different functions.

He believes that the practice of learning to make your own products is catching on in Singapore.

He said: "When people go hands-on, they'll understand the effort needed to make such a product and this makes them appreciate things. If we keep buying, we take these things for granted."

I see workshops as a form of sharing knowledge with people and raising awareness for creativity.

- Mr Poh Wenxiang