Ingrid Brings Lively Colombian Flare to Hong Kong
What’s your story?
I am Ingrid Burgos, a Colombian Industrial Designer specialized in handcrafts, reviving lost Colombian techniques and traditions, to empower artisans and handcraft through my own brand: STUDIO INGRID BURGOS, a neo-luxury brand of Jewellery, Handbags, and Shoes, 100% handcrafted in my studio in Bogota, Colombia.
What excites you most about your industry?
Crafts & Design are one of the keys for the future. Being able to work in these fields allows me to keep traditions alive, to understand a problem and solve it, to make products that connect and teach people traditions or stories from a country that they probably will never have the chance to visit. For me, the future is handmade. People are in need of one-of-a-kind products that they can connect with, that personalize who they are. A handcrafted item, thoughtfully designed, can help people express their unique viewpoint and personality. Achieving uniqueness through mass market products is very difficult.
What’s your connection to Asia?
After finishing my Masters in Accessories Design at Domus Academy, In Milan, Italy, my thesis won a design competition, sponsored by the luxury brand Dodo by Pomellato, part of the Kering Group. They bought my project and offered me an internship, and later, full-time employment in Milan and Hong Kong. I arrived in Hong Kong in 2014. I was supposed to be here for just one month, but I have resided in Hong Kong for the past 6 years. I love the city, and after working for Pomellato for some time, I decided to leave and revive my dream of working on my own brand. Hong Kong has made me understand how to compete in an international market.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is a city that is not only convenient but very friendly. There are many entrepreneurs here, and this is where I learned how to network (networking here is fantastic!). I have lived in Europe, the United States and South America, and I find Hong Kong to be an amazing city for connecting with people easily, who are very willing to help, to listen and learn from you, as well as provide support. Here, things work properly. This is a very easy ecosystem in which to grow a business.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“You are not your customer.” In design you must understand your customer, because most of the time, as designers, we tend to do what we like. Obviously, there is a signature style in every designer, but the customer has the last word. If you sell your product, you are doing something right, otherwise, listen carefully to your clientele. If more than 10 clients are asking for something you don’t have, make those products.
Who inspires you?
My mother. She is the most courageous person I have ever met. I am an only child, as my father passed away when I was just one month old. My mother raised me by herself. She is a businesswoman and my biggest supporter. She is self-made and has taught me many things about business and life. She told me: if you really want to do something, you will find a way. She also conveyed: All knowledge is in books, but at the end of the day, you make your own decisions. And finally: you can do anything you want, and you don’t have to care what other people think, just do a good job and don’t hurt anyone.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You can not control everything. And, in this moment, you are in the place that is right for you.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would be more organized and wouldn’t abandon my brand while I was working for another company. I guess I thought it was not right, but I had weekends, so no excuses. Also, I would put more work into using social media. I might also trust my gut more. Though I trust my intuition now, I realise that sometimes you push yourself too hard before you realise it was not worth it.
How do you unwind?
Coming from my Latin roots, I love to sing and dance. I also love to watch a movie or something that makes me laugh. For me, laughing has a tremendously positive effect. I think anything that makes you happy should be your therapy.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Kochi in Kerala, India. It has serene backwaters, beautiful sights and scenery, and the wonderful Kochi-Muziris Biennale that is so inspiring. It transports me to another world. Inspiration is equivalent to relaxation for me.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Coach Yourself to Success: 101 Tips from a Personal Coach for Reaching Your Goals at Work and in Life,” by Talane Miedaner.
Shameless plug for your business:
At Studio Ingrid Burgos, we work with artisans using traditional Colombian materials and techniques in unconventional ways. All our products are inspired by stories, traditions and rituals from the Colombian culture. We do our best to design and make products that are unique, and of the very best quality. When you buy a Studio Ingrid Burgos product from one of our collections, you can be assured that you will not find it anywhere else, and it will carry a connection to the people who made it, and to the place where it was made.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ 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 and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.