charmaine seah-ong

charmaine seah-ong
What Charmaine is wearing: A wool-blend dress and embossed eel leather Mary Janes, Emporio Armani. Ring, her own.

Most know her for her style: elegant, effortless – and it’s gotten her into the pages of The Straits Times, society magazines and this publication multiple times. So here’s what else you should know about this 31-year-old: She’s a name to watch in the local creative scene not only for her out-of-the-box ideas (think quirky stop-motion videos to launch furniture start-up Cluster-Cluster), but also for trying to redefine the idea of a boutique agency.

Last year, she started branding and marketing consultancy Elementary Co with what’s pretty much her posse, including husband Derek Ong, brother Russell Seah and fellow F-Collective member/BFF Aarika Lee. The idea was to bring together like-minded folks with different expertise (she, for example, has a background in TV production, while Lee has a flair for writing) to create an intimate one-stop shop.

“Our USP is being able to approach projects from a broad and varied set of perspectives and skill sets. Clients don’t have to go to two or three companies to get a job done, but still get the personal service that comes with a small independent agency,” she says.

But while everyone on board has their own speciality, there are no set roles; everyone’s expected to multitask. “It means that no one can say ‘I didn’t know that was part of my job’ and in the end, everyone grows. Our marketers, for example, have been brushing up on their design chops and can work on simple artwork,” she explains. “It also means complete synergy in the end result. Something from the creative team might look great, but still get tossed out if it doesn’t make sense.”

It’s the ideal modern work place culture and, while she admits that’s more a goal than reality, it has earned the 12-man-team a branding contract with one of the biggest players in the hospitality scene: the 654-room, Philippe Starck-designed South Beach hotel.


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