Jebson Tan has been running his Zha Huo Dian (convenience store in Mandarin Chinese) for almost 10 years at Far East Plaza, Singapore. Most who frequent the mall will know it as that “quirky corner shop by the restrooms”, referring to the eclectic mix of goods that the store stocks. The concept behind the shop is simple, it’s a place where Jebson can sell whatever he feels like, so you will find old school snacks to obscure vinyl records to up-and-coming Singaporean streetwear brands.
Here’s a quick Q&A and short video with the man himself:
1. Firstly introduce yourself.
Hola! My name is Jebson and I love me some char siew roast pork rice!
2. Can you tell us a little about 杂货店? How it came about? and the concept behind it?
Long long time ago… 杂货店 was born out of the failures of my previous attempts from the stores I had. The concept was so that I could sell anything and everything I want and not be bound by the store.
3. What would be your best pick from the shop?
There’s too many to mention.
4. So you travel quite a bit to source for these items yourself. Tell us which would your favourite city for vintage items?
Japan and Thailand. They have the best vintage shops and items in my opinion.
5. What’s your definition of vintage?
It’s pretty subjective, can’t really put a true definition for it. Through the eyes of the beholder!
6. You also worked on some collaboration works with some of the fashion labels in Singapore. Can you tell us more about it?
It’s not just with fashion labels actually, I’m also keen to collaborate with any brands be it food and what not. As long as it is made in Singapore. I’ve worked with FIN, Few & Far and also just had a recent collaboration with When I Was Four. I love working with local brands! I believe we should help each other grow in what we do, especially here in Singapore, because we don’t really have that culture here.
7. What makes you do what you do?
8. Do you think vintage has always been “in fashion”?
It has always been, they are practically basics. I always love a good pair of vintage denim and a classic band tee. Love them!
9. How do you define a good piece when it comes to so many selections in the vintage market/supplier?
It’s all about taste. Everyone can source from the same market, but only the one with the better taste will get the best one.
10. Comparing to the older days when you first started this business, have the acceptance for vintage change? compare to today’s?
Locally I haven’t seen any vintage stores around during these times. The last surviving ones were in the late 90s to early 2000. Back then, there were around 10 or so and now there are only 1 or 2 left if you’re lucky. So you tell me if this has changed. But of course never say never, I believe it’ll make a big come back when it does.
11. There are a very few vintage stores left in this city. Why do you think? Do you think vintage is becoming less of value?
I don’t think so. I think it has evolved more into a e-commerce business. Nobody wants to go to a brick and mortar anymore, so that makes me stand out.
12. What other recommendations/vintage outlets people should visit if they were to visit Singapore?
Are there any left around? Maybe just the 杂货店. Must visit right? Haha!
13. Can you share with us what is the process like for a piece of clothing before it ended up on your shop rack?
Refer to question 10.
14. We also heard that you are a big fan of Cantopop. So who is your favourite Cantopop artist and song? And why?
Shirley Kwan Suk ‘E and her cover of 夢伴 from Anita Mui’s classic song. Go listen.
Zha Huo Dian (The Corner Shop)
14 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228213
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