Tzuyanpins: Extraordinary K-Pop Pins and Merchandise
NUR SYAFINA BINTE IMRAN discovers K-Pop inspired young Singaporean entrepreneur, Tzuyan and her art business.
Nur Syafina Binte Imran
Editorial Admin Manager
Hype Issue #57
June 14, 2023
Tzuyan posing with one of her popular merchandise items, a doll of BTS Jimin. Photo by: Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Ng Kwok Ching, 22, also known as Tzuyan, is the young entrepreneur of Tzuyanpins, a popular online art business. As guests enter Tzuyan’s bedroom workspace , they are welcomed by a towering, life-size cut-out of an anime game character, showcasing her love for digital art.
The appeal of her room’s aesthetic leaves guests in awe. To Tzuyan, it symbolises her and reflects her love for the popular Korean boyband, BTS. It also serves as a reminder of the remarkable growth of her online business.
From the name ‘Tzuyanpins’, we can deduce that the main premise of the business is to sell pins. These are no ordinary pins though. Tzuyan’s creations really leverage her ability to create designs from scratch using her digital art skills, on her iPad ‘canvas’. In fact, the level of intricate detail and distinctiveness her designs possess make them very hard to replicate.
A collection of the pins Tzuyan has created since starting her business. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Tzuyan’s journey into the world of art business was sparked by her purchase of a BTS pin from a friend. She was amazed at how pretty the small shiny pin was. This experience inspired and led her to embark on a similar venture to showcase her everlasting love for BTS.
“I was like oh my God, why not just start my own shop with my own pins on whatever I draw?”, Tzuyan remembers. Adding that it made sense because she was “already drawing based on my inspirations from their music”.
That’s how Tzuyanpins was born. It was the ideal platform for Tzuyan to create fan art publicly, expressing her own art form just like her favourite boyband. It became her motivation to create expressive works on their lyricism and discography.
A poster-sized art print Tzuyan made on one of her pin designs based off a BTS song titled ‘Serendipity’. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
Tzuyan’s unwavering attention to detail ensures that her merchandise maintains exceptional quality, Henrietta Chan, 21, is Tzuyan’s long-time supporter and friend, who shared her opinions on the significant improvements in the products.
“[When she was starting out] she didn’t know how to do digital drawings. So, she just drew on paper and scanned the artwork. You’d see those little messy pencil markings on the keychains, which meant they didn’t sell quite so well,” said Henrietta.
Henrietta added that Tzuyan’s art style and quality of pins changed a lot which made her feel proud and impressed, especially when Tzuyan first announced her desire to start her own online business.
Being a final-year student at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Hence, she launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for her upcoming collection, Dream Guardian Fairies, which includes pins, stickers, and art prints. Even though the whole premise of her business is pins, Tzuyan creates other merchandise to have a variety in her shop.
Preview on two stickers from the upcoming Dream Guardian Fairies collection. Photo by Nur Syafina Binte Imran.
When asked about her approach to maintaining a balance between her artistic pursuits and her studies, she emphasised the importance of exploring and understanding one’s own working style, along with effective time management.
“I try to balance them, but I don’t truly think there’s anyone out there who is fully capable of balancing the both of them 100 per cent,” shared Tzuyan.
She conscientiously monitors her sleep schedule to ensure she can fully commit to her studies. The amount of artwork she produces on weekdays is solely dependent on the amount of sufficient sleep she gets.
While sharing her approach in maintaining a good work-life balance, she advises fellow young entrepreneurs to always start with showcasing their work online to gain traction.
Tzuyan said, “You can train or get viral enough. And for shops these days, I think online is the way to go because not only do you not have to pay a retail rental fee every month, you can still work a lot of things efficiently from an online point of view.”
She added, “I want to emphasise that even if you are troubled or going through hard times, this journey will be worth the pain. It can even become your key, pivotal strength afterwards.”