Callum Connects Amutha Saravanan, Co-Founder of Da Vinci Group Published 2 years ago on July 13, 2015 By Callum Laing Share Tweet Creating and educating with clay. Find out how this entrepreneur links art and science as da Vinci did hundreds of years ago. What’s your story? I did psychology for my bachelor’s degree and then went on to do a masters in psychology by research where I did my thesis on a topic in clinical neuropsychology. I started working with SingHealth, but left soon after wanting to learn a different skill set in the business world. I joined Egon Zehnder, a senior level executive consultancy doing research when I discovered pottery as a hobby and immediately fell in love with it. Within a year of learning, I was being commissioned by friends and family for my works, which was when I started Amooo’s – an original . in 2012 and bought a kiln. Given my background in psychology, I realised that there was more to clay as a medium. I researched extensively and discovered a teaching methodology called neuroeducation, which is a subset of neuroscience. Neuroeducation enquires into how the brain learns at a biological level. It states that when learning occurs with multiple senses, our neurons fire and connect seemingly unrelated pockets of information together, for example, pairing the topic of how plants grow with making a pinch pot through clay and then embellishing it with the knowledge acquired during the lesson. This results in creativity, abstract thinking and problem solving in the long run. I then started Da Vinci Group with my husband in 2012 as well, named after Leonardo da Vinci for the brilliance during his era where the arts and sciences were not segregated and were applied with each other. We created NeuroCeramicsTM and created a curriculum for enrichment classes, team building events and workshops for children, adults and the elderly. When I became pregnant in 2013, I decided to creatively document my pregnancy journey by making ceramic pots off my belly during various stages as well as baby print platters when my son was born. These are now service offerings under Amooo’s – an original . as well. The clay and glazes I use are of high quality. They are food, dishwasher and microwave-safe. I went full time into my businesses in January 2015. Amooo’s – an original . was featured in Business Times in 2014 and Da Vinci Group was recently featured on NewsAsia Channel this year. What excites you most about your industry? We are pushing boundaries with our service offerings for both businesses. Neuroeducation is known in the US and Johns Hopkins University has a Neuroeducation initiative. However, the idea has not trickled down to Asia yet. We are the pioneers doing this in the education sector and we have plans to go regional with this. As for Amooo’s – an original . BellyPotsTM is a very novel idea and is different from belly casting with plaster. Many of my clients love the fact that they have a functional use for their creations and it is a marvellous way to remember and preserve the memory of creating a new life. Being able to create and play with clay, day in and day out excites me fundamentally. What’s your connection to Asia? I was born here in Singapore. My dad was born in India. He has been a Singapore citizen for a number of years. My mum is from Singapore. Asia has an exciting realm of possibilities and has huge potential for the work I do. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Singapore. The infrastructure, system, processes, government support, the law are all excellent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. The ease at which we can get things moving on the business front is something I am very grateful for. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? A business never fails. You fail the business. Don’t get stuck. Think creatively from a different context and have a structure for fulfillment. Who inspires you? Many people. My husband, my family, my friends, my business partners, my clients, Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, Lee Kuan Yew. If we relate to everyone as the greatness they are, inspiration isn’t very difficult to find. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? I was blown away the other day when I went to collect some clay for a BellyPotTM session when I realised that never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a potter and create for a living. It put a huge grin on my face for a long while. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? I would have just got on with creating the businesses as soon as I had the ideas. Taken the plunge, made the commitment and gone for it earlier. I think I lost a couple of years contemplating about it. I am a firm believer, ‘everything happens for a reason’ though, so the experiences I went through during that time of contemplation were necessary for the outcomes I have now. How do you unwind? Many ways. A glass of prosecco or red wine and some music dependant on my mood and clay time. Painting and drawing. A trip to the beach or zoo with my toddler and husband. Swimming or trekking. Lunch dates with my husband. Catch-ups with friends. Family gatherings and outings. It really depends on what my soul craves for in that instance. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Hong Kong – the Asian version of New York. Love how there are so many trails to hike on, so much to see and experience and a good party scene. Everyone in business should read this book: Zen in the art of archery. Applicable not only in business, but really in the way one lives their life. Shameless plug for your business: About Da Vinci Group (www.davincisg.com) Da Vinci Group (DVG) is a premium educational and training services provider, whose mission is to stimulate creativity and productivity through the concept of Neuroeducation using pottery as a platform. Neuroeducation has its tenets in neurobiology and psychology. It explains how engaging more than one of our senses while processing information strengthens existing and creates new neural networks. Creating pottery is a hands-on experience that engages emotions and stimulates creative expression. When such an experience is paired with learning or acquiring new concepts, associations are made with seemingly unrelated pockets of information which stimulates abstract thinking, problem solving and creativity. We have created NeuroCeramicsTM based on this concept where we use pottery as a platform to engage children, adults and the elderly. Amooo’s – an original . (www.amooos.com) Amooo’s – an original . focuses on creating ceramic wares such as belly pots and baby prints that crystallize beautiful memories in a tangible form, which can be passed down to future generations. BellyPotTM making is a pleasurable experience for mum, dad and baby, a wonderful opportunity for prenatal bonding as well as a special, novel and unique way to capture one’s journey into parenthood. Imprinting your babies’/children’s feet and hands on clay is an excellent way to mark milestones and etch in your minds how tiny your little ones were as they grow up. Whether you make functional ceramic wares like vases, platters or coasters, for example, or decorative hanging ornaments, these creations are awesome keepsakes that you will cherish for many years to come. We also facilitate fun-filled clay jamming sessions for families to spend quality time together. Amooo’s – an original . also accepts commissions and corporate gifts projects. Ceramic wares created are made of high quality materials that are lead and toxins-free and are food, microwave and dishwasher-safe. How can people connect with you? Through email, mobile, facebook, Instagram and my websites. Twitter handle? @Da_Vinci_Group @amooos_original — This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur: Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives. Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/> Connect with Callum here: twitter.com/laingcallum linkedin.com/in/callumlaing Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com Related Topics:asiaasianasian entrepreneurbusinessEducationEntrepreneurfailfeaturedgovernmentHong KongIndiainterviewjourneylifemesingaporeStorySupportthe asian entrepreneur Continue Reading You may like 10 Effective Funding Models for Non-Profit Startups Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings Women on Top in Tech – Pam Weber, Chief Marketing Officer at 99Designs Renata Brkić William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market How We Can Innovate the Legal Industry like Elon Musk Callum Connects Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings Published 1 day ago on December 15, 2017 By Callum Laing Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched. What’s your story? I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects. What excites you most about your industry? It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift. What’s your connection to Asia? I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position. Who inspires you? Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start. How do you unwind? I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd. Everyone in business should read this book: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki Shameless plug for your business: Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning. How can people connect with you? Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected] Twitter handle? @malcolmABM — This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’. Connect with Callum here: twitter.com/laingcallum linkedin.com/in/callumlaing Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com Continue Reading Callum Connects William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market Published 2 days ago on December 14, 2017 By Callum Laing William Chin set up Mummy’s Market. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore. What’s your story? After National Service, I enjoyed a rousing start to my corporate career with successful stints at events and conventions companies such as IQPC, Hannover Fairs Australia and Lighthouse Independent Media in management roles, building my experience in conventions, trade fairs and events. However, I hit a particularly bad streak of unemployment after that, facing difficulty finding jobs because according to recruiters, I was overqualified, yet too young. In fact, at one point I was struggling so badly with my family loans that I was sharing bowls of ramen with my girlfriend for our meals, to save costs. My financial pressures eventually culminated in my forced venture into entrepreneurship where I had to strike out my own path with a brief stint in Expomal. However, this turned out to be my next break that fuelled my current success. It was there I built up Smartkids (another wildly successful baby and child fair) before it was bought out by a bigger company. Inspired by SmartKids, I started Mummy’s Market and eventually Baby’s Market, outperforming established names in the business to take its current place as market leader. What excites you most about your industry? Mummy’s Market is the industry leader in baby, kids, maternity and household with 80% market share and our clients – coupled with branding, advertising and exhibiting on Mummy’s Market platforms, we are seeing a 30-60% company growth year on year despite the downturn in the economy. With attendance of over 100k consumers per fair and serving 70-80% of pregnant mums, our actual business is in data, data collection and processing from consumer fairs. I am excited about how big data analytics from Mummy’s Market can be applied at every stage of the retail process such as data segmentation – for retailers now when mums are giving birth to sending relevant content over. This will transform and innovate the industry of baby fairs and Mummy’s Market, with the huge amount of data we process from our fairs yearly, is the forerunner in this disruption. With this, we have transformed the DNA of how digital business has always been done. Global online marketplaces are burning cash quickly to achieve big data analytics, but not us. Another testament to Mummy’s Market’s popularity is that huge marketplaces have been trying to pass off as Mummy’s Market. It shows that we are heading in the right direction and the most exciting part is, we are only at 10% of where we want to be – a platform where $1 billion gross market value products are transacted annually around Asia in a niche market. What’s your connection to Asia? I was born and bred in Singapore, and intend to stay in Singapore to build the Mummy’s Market brand. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Singapore – if one can strategically become a leader in a small market like Singapore, its grounds to show that one’s business has an opportunity to grow further in larger countries. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “It is easy to become number 1 because the others can just copy and tweak to overtake you. It is more difficult to STAY number 1, because you have no one to copy. You have to innovate.” Who inspires you? Steve Jobs – he transformed the digital age. Without the invention of smartphones, mobile computing and mobile advertising would never have grown. He changed the way businesses and consumers communicate. Without the introduction of iPhones, mobile applications would have never existed the way we are using them today. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? You no longer have to lick stamps to make it sticky. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Nothing. I love my life and my family. And I love the platform Mummy’s Market has created to help businesses grow. How do you unwind? I play with my little 1 year old baby girl. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Taiwan – cool weather with beautiful mountains and lake scenery. Everyone in business should read this book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey Shameless plug for your business: Mummy’s Market has established its reputation as not just Singapore’s but Southeast Asia’s largest baby fair: Nearly S$100 million gross merchandise volume transacted on Mummy’s Market platforms annually 800,000 visitors at its fairs yearly 80% of all of Singapore’s baby product distributors in one convention 15-20% year on year increase in sales volume at every baby fair since its inception Apart from market dominance, Mummy’s Market also has the largest database of parents and the number 1 platform for MNCs and SMEs to reach out to this audience. From exhibitions, magazines, seminars to digital campaigns and roadshows. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore. How can people connect with you? [email protected] https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-chin-23910a9/ — This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’. 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