With a new Scandinavian Fair the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore targets expatriate women. The hope is to host two yearly fairs at the Church’s premises on Mount Faber.
In the lush garden and partly inside the mansion sized villa that houses the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore a small fair consisting of 34 vendors, selling everything from homemade jewelry to Danish furniture, was held this Tuesday the 30th of September.
While this was not the first Scandinavian Fair at the Seamen’s Church in Singapore, it was the first to specifically target female expatriates. As Signe Kühl, one of the organizers of the Scandinavian Fair and a volunteer at the Seamen’s Church, said.
“In 2012 we had a Scandinavian Fair as well, but that was more of a family event hosted in the weekend. Now we are trying a new concept, that we hope to host both fall and spring. The new fair is open on a weekday between 10am and 14pm, to fit the schedule of a woman who has gone to Singapore with a working husband.”
More than just Scandinavian products
While the fair mainly targets Scandinavian expatriates, the Seamen’s Church opened up for non-Scandinavian vendors as well. Signe Kühl explains that there were not enough Scandinavian vendors.
“We opened for other applicants and since most of the organizers of this event, including me, falls into the group we target as customers we simply considered if the applicants’ products were something we would be interested in buying.”
Among the non-Scandinavian products were a lot of small designer brand clothing, accessories and quality creams and soaps.
Apart from vendors the church allowed charity organizations to put up stalls at the fair as well. The original intention was to let two charitable organizations participate, but when contacted by two more, the church did not feel they could turn them down.
A chance to meet new customers
Louise Werling Jasper, a Danish expatriate and jewelry maker, -importer and clothes designer, had a small stand at the fair representing her company Jasper Living. Her company is just two years old and she is attending the market to sell jewelry, clothes and meet new customers.
“I moved down here because my husband got a job, and I started my company because I needed something to do. I have a always been fascinated by fashion and design, and since I used to be a buyer for a major fashion company in Denmark I already had a lot of contacts,” Louise says and adds that even though her customers are mostly Scandinavians, thanks to Scandinavian designs strong brand in Japan her jewelry and clothes is popular with the Japanese as well.
Even though the Seamen’s Church hoped for around 400 visitors and only 200 shoved up, Signe Kühl still considers the event a success. The foreign vendors even got a taste of traditional danish “hygge”, a Danish word and concept meaning comfortable and homely coziness.
“The feedback from the vendors was really good, this event was very different from the more busy fairs that they are used to. Even though we only had 200 visitors, the vendors sold a lot, and most of the visitors stayed for several hours to chat with the vendors and have coffee and homemade Danish pastry,” Signe Kuhl said, adding that it was a pleasant surprise that more than half of the guests stayed for the traditional Danish lunch.
Especially the lunch is an important part of making the event a financial success.The Danish Seamen’s Church uses the fair as a way to raise funds, and according to Signe Kühl about a third of the Church’s budget is covered by fundraising events like the fair.
Luckily the word about the lunch had spread and a significant number of Scandinavian businessmen used their lunch break to come by to enjoy the traditional meal consisting of classics like pickled herring, rolled sausage, liver-paste, Danish cheeses, red cabbage made the Danish way and of course homemade rye-bread.