Women Inspire Women #4: Cynn Chua

Women Inspire Women #4: Cynn Chua

Hello beautiful, Summorie has been flourishing for the last five fabulous years! We’ve jumped through hoops and hurdles, and gained so much support from fellow stationery enthusiasts to keep us going. Catching up with our founder, Cynn Chua, in our #SheBlooms interview and fourth edition of Women Inspire Women, we take a step back to recharge on why we do what we do.

Cynn, Summorie's been flourishing for five fabulous years! What sparked its vibrant start to a stationery haven and keeps its spirit alive?

As a stationery brand, our initial idea was to introduce Malaysians to an alternative in stationery. We are passionate about offering aesthetically pleasing designs that we believe can serve as a catalyst for the local community to develop a deeper appreciation for art. Our aspiration is to nurture creativity and encourage individuals to unleash their imaginations through drawing and writing. Through our products, we strive to inspire the younger generation and enhance their lives with creativity.

In the colourful tapestry of Summorie's existence, who would you say has been your biggest supporter or cheerleader? How have they contributed to your journey?

My family has always been my biggest supporters, who have always encouraged me to pursue my passions. But it was when I met my husband, whose family has been rooted in the bookbinding industry, that I gained more knowledge about intricate art of bookbinding. From paper folding to book sewing, cover wrapping to book casing and various finishings technique to premium box making, their guidance with their more than 20 years of experience in crafting books, provide me with invaluable insights into the craft. Now, I'm passionate about sharing what I've learned and helping others see the value in quality books.

Share with us a quirky moment in Summorie's journey that taught you a key lesson about creativity or business.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we faced tough time. We had to stop production, which meant we couldn't fulfill online orders, and our sales dropped. But we didn't give up. Our team put our heads together and came up with a meaningful idea: making productivity kits with help of other local brands. These kits were meant to help people stay productive and happy during prolonged periods at home. As the pandemic subsided, we launched these kits, and they were a hit! Surprisingly, we also started receiving requests from companies for curated gift boxes. This wasn't something we usually did, but we worked hard to find the right gifts and make each box special for our clients. This experience taught us a valuable lesson: when we stay open to new ideas and work together, even tough times can lead to new opportunities for success.

We know Summorie is all about personalised flair! How do you infuse your own passions and personality into each notebook and stationery creation?

I began my journey in the world of stationery at the age of 10, working alongside my father in his small stationery shop. It was there that I learned simple printing and binding techniques, and even tried my hand at creating sticker books using paper wastage, which I decorated with gift paper.

Growing up surrounded by stationery, I became familiar with all kinds of notebooks and stationery items, even though options were limited two decades ago. As I grew older and started working after graduating, my passion for quality notebooks with special designs and customisation options became stronger. I needed a reliable notebook to jot down important thoughts and daily tasks. I hoped to find a notebook of exceptional quality that could be personalised to suit everyone’s preferences.

That's why Summorie offers a range of customisation options, from adding a monogram to selecting a favourite colour or insert template. Additionally, we collaborate with corporate clients to design and customise their desired corporate diary/notebook from scratch.

Can you unveil a mantra or catchphrase that encapsulates the Summorie essence and fuels your team's creativity?

“Be happy for what you have while working for what you want.” — Helen Keller. Always be grateful and appreciate what you have, continue to grow, improve and pursue your dreams.

Looking forward to the next five years and beyond, what exciting innovations or dreams do you envision for Summorie? How do you plan to sprinkle more joy into the stationery world as a powerhouse female entrepreneur?

I envision Summorie continuing to innovate and inspire in the stationery world. Our goal is to exceed expectations in both creativity and quality, offering unique products that captivate our customers. We are dedicated to fostering creativity within our community through our products. As a female entrepreneur, I aspire to collaborate with more female artists, designers, and creators, empowering them to bring their visions to life. Over the next five years, we plan to attract more overseas clients to our e-commerce website and expand our product range to include lifestyle items that enhance every moment of our customers’ lives. With the values we uphold—thoughtfulness, excellence, and a commitment to positive outcomes—we are excited to see where the future takes us.

From passion to purpose, we hope you took away a little something from our journey as retold by Cynn. May you find the courage to pursue your passions with unwavering determination and grow in your own way. And hey, if you're itching for more inspiring tales like Cynn's, our Women Inspire Women series is waiting for you.

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