Kwanpen

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ADDED BY
Singapore Memory Project
MEMORY OF
Anglo Chinese School (Barker)
DATE
18/5/2015

KWANPEN

Industry:	Luxury bags and leather goods
Founded: 1938 in Singapore
Founder:	Kwan Pen Seng
Headquarters: KWANPEN Building Singapore
Areas served:	Asia, Europe
Key people: Leonard Kwan (President)
Products:	Handbags, Small leather Goods, Shoes
Website	www.kwanpen.com

Introduction
KWANPEN is a Singapore-based manufacturer and retailer specializing in crocodile leather goods. [1] [3]

History
The company was founded by Kwan Pen Seng in 1938. [14] [2] [10] [15] [16] He started out in the leatherworking industry by offering restoration services for leather handbags owned by the wives of British officers and businessmen. [3] This led the founder to start his trade in manufacturing crocodile leather bags from his home-based workshop. [17]

KWANPEN gradually expanded in mid-1970s to include contract work from top Western labels and the first KWANPEN retail shop opened on Orchard Road in 1976. [2] In 1980, Mr Leonard Kwan, current president of the company, took over the business from his father and the brand’s logo, inspired by the family’s first name, was created in 1989. [14][16][10]

The first KWANPEN overseas retail outlet was opened in Hong Kong in 1999. Since then, KWANPEN has expanded its reach internationally to countries such as the United Kingdom, South Korea and Hong Kong and also operate at department store standalone counters in Bangkok, Seoul and Busan. [8] [9]

Products
All KWANPEN bags are still manufactured in Singapore using the center belly-cut crocodile leather [18] under trained craftsmen where most of the manufacturing is done manually. [2] [4] 

The main collections in the KWANPEN lineup are the Raffles, Droplet, Signature and Classic collections. [5] Their iconic Raffles handbag was created in 1991 [6], and the oldest design still in production is the Lady’s classic handbag first created in 1983. [7]

Collaboration
KWANPEN collaborated with Ashley Isham for the 2013 Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore providing the leather bags as accessories for the runway collection. [12]

Conservation
The company, who has been a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/ Crocodile Specialist Group since 1985, only buys crocodile skin that comes with certification from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). All goods produced and exported by KWANPEN are accompanied with this certification. [1] [2] 

Milestones [11]
1976	       Opened first KWANPEN Store in Singapore on Orchard Road, selling crocodile   leather bags
1989       First KWANPEN Logo
1991        Launch of KWANPEN Raffles Handbag
1996       Opened first overseas KWANPEN Store in Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong
2000	Launch of KWANPEN Signature Collection
2002	Launch of KWANPEN Droplet Collection
2002	Opened first KWANPEN Store in Thailand at Gaysorn, Bangkok
2005	Opened first KWANPEN Store in Malaysia at Starhill, Kuala Lumpur
2008	Opened first KWANPEN Store in Macau at Four Seasons Venetian
2011	        Opened first KWANPEN Store in South Korea at Chung-Dam Dong, Seoul
2011	        Opened first KWANPEN Store in Turkey at Nişantaşı, Istanbul
2012	Opened first KWANPEN Store in Qatar at The Pearl-Qatar, Doha
2015	Opened first KWANPEN Store in the United Kingdom at Burlington Arcade. London

Written by: Richson Ong, Chong Wei Jun, Andre Shum and Evan Loo  
Gallery
KWANPEN women bags’ featuring their signature crocodile clasps	 
KWANPEN’S signature crocodile clasp
 
Craftsman cutting leather for KWANPEN bag handles	 
Craftsman sewing stiches of the KWANPEN bag handles
 
Craftswoman cutting leather for a KWANPEN bag
	 
Workshop area where leather is cut in KWANPEN

References
[1] Global Blue (2013) Retrieved on 30 November 2014, from http://www.globalblue.com/destinations/singapore/kwanpen-singapore/

[2] Han, B. (18 Apr 2011) Singapore brand carves niche in luxury market. AFP News.  Retrieved, from https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-brand-carves-niche-luxury-market-20110417-153809-448.html

[3] The Insider’s Guide to Singapore (2009) Retrieved on 30 November 2014, from 
http://is.asia-city.com/city-living/article/made-singapore

[4] Kwanpen / Craftmanship (2015) Retrieved on 2 January 2015, from
http://www.kwanpen.com/kwanpen/handmade/

[5] Kwanpen / Handbags (2015) Retrieved on 2 January 2015, from
http://www.kwanpen.com/category/women/handbags/

[6] Kwanpen / Raffles 1819 (2015) Retrieved on 2 January 2015, from http://www.kwanpen.com/showcase_item/3568-raffles-1819/?stayincat=11

[7] Kwanpen / Lady’s Classic (2015) Retrieved on 2 January 2015, from
http://www.kwanpen.com/showcase_item/3378-lady-classic/?stayincat=11

[8] Kwanpen / Boutiques (2015) Retrieved on 2 January 2015, from
http://www.kwanpen.com/boutiques/

[9] Get Brands (2015) Retrived on 2 January 2015, from
http://www.getsingapore.sg/brands/kwanpen/locations/

[10] SGLinks (2012) Retrieved on 30 November 2014, from 
http://sglinks.com/pages/480787-singapore-brand-carves-niche-luxury-market

[11] Kwanpen Facebook Page (2015) Retrived on 2 January 2015, from https://m.facebook.com/Kwanpen1938?v=timeline&timecutoff=1395284399§ionLoadingID=m_timeline_loading_div_852105599_820483200_8_&timeend=852105599×tart=820483200&tm=AQCrCZzueIrFItTH

[12] Audi Fashion Festival Singapore (2013) Retrieved on 27 February 2015, from http://www.sistic.com.sg/stix/images/internetcontent/fash0513/doc/Ashley.pdf

[13] Kwanpen / Collections (2015) Retrieved on 27 February 2015, from
http://www.kwanpen.com/collections/

[14] Crocodile Hunter. (2007). The Straits Times, p. 112.Retrieved 13 April from Factiva

[15] Tan, C. (2009). Kwanpen is bagging more buyers. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved 13 April from Factiva

[16] Carry a chic croc. (2009,). The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved 13 April from Factiva

[17] Ong, C. (2012). Fashion retailers urged to go global. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved 13 April from Factiva

[18] S'pore a top supplier of crocodile leather. (2014). The New Paper, p. 6 Retrieved 13 April from Factiva