Father of two children — his daughter is in university while his son will be conscripted next year — James Quan was a record-breaking runner for his school when he was a teenager. While in college in the US, James Quan started bowling for fun and it “rolled” into a rather competitive pursuit. “We played almost every night and the intensity was very strong as we pitted against each other (Yes, money was involved!) A few went on to bowl in the Professional Bowlers Association. We became that good,” he reminisces.
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What do you enjoy about bowling?
It’s a solo game and yet can be a team sport. It is always about improving your scores and being good at it consistently. As a team event, one learns how to rise to the occasion when a teammate falters and also understand that individual failures can be nullified by teammates who support you wholeheartedly. There is always another game to play, another chance to make good.
Any special ritual or gear?
A lot of stretching! I once bowled 10 hours from 12 am to 10 am… Yes, the things you could do when you were younger! I had the baddest “Robocop” glove. I felt more powerful with it.
How obsessed are you with bowling?
Obsessed enough to have bowled every night for eight months without any intermission – until I tore my shoulder ligament. We were all very competitive. It became a nightly mini United Nations ritual. The Koreans had 20 cheerleaders every time. Teams from other cities in California drove over to compete and it became very serious when prize money of US$1,000 was introduced.
Do you play any other sports?
I played badminton with my children when they represented their primary school.
Nothing extreme. I’d rather spend more time catching up on sleep.
Driving a really fast convertible that has two doors and seats five adults comfortably.
Success to you is…
Sleeping at 11 pm and waking up fresh at 7 am, then enjoy everything that I do after that. It’s that simple.
Greatest challenge ever faced?
Getting my wife to say “yes” after three weeks of knowing her.
Starting Bynd Artisan almost four years ago. We received accolades like the President’s Design Award, Design of the Year and Singapore Tourism Board’s Best Shopping Experience within three years of inception — we remain the youngest company to have gotten them.
What motivates you?
From the business perspective, happy clients. Whether it is an S$35.00 retail sale or a million-dollar corporate bespoke order, I’m extremely excited when I see people enjoying what we have done. I met President Halimah Yacob in the Community Chest Charity Show recently and she told me how our foreign dignitaries loved the state gifts we designed and crafted for the Istana. My clients drive me to go the next distance.
What we didn’t know about you?
I’m an introvert. My Mandarin is better than my English and my Cantonese is better than my Mandarin. I can’t dance to save myself.
What’s on your bucket list?
List Bynd Artisan on the Stock Exchange before I turned 60. Stay in a traditional ryokan with my wife before I turned 70 – we talk about it every time but shopping always got in the way. Learn to play a musical instrument before I turned 80.
Does WhatsApp count? Deliveroo? We use it at least once a day. More like a life-saver app.
Cause you feel strongly about?
Senior workers and the important roles they play in business.
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