How She Hustles… JIAMIN’S SHOES

This up-and-coming designer came out tops in a local shoe design competition.

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This up-and-coming designer came out tops in a local shoe design competition.

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Name: Ong Jia Min 

Age: 29

Job: Footwear and Accessories Designer

Connect with Jia Min:, @thriftythieves

How did you get into shoe designing and how long have you been doing it for?

Last year, I came across an ad from (The Academy of Fashion Professions) for an online footwear design course. I wanted to pick up some basic Illustrator and Photoshop skills, so I signed up – not realising it involved taking part in a shoe design competition. To my surprise, my designs made it to the final eight and I eventually won. I was awarded a diploma scholarship in Footwear Design and Product Development at, an internship with Pazzion Group and a trip to MICAM (an international footwear fair) in Milan. It’s been less than a year since I’ve been on this path.

You were in marketing prior to this. What gave you the confidence to switch careers?

Winning the competition. Also, I received lots of positive feedback from my family and friends, as they had seen pictures of my designs on my social media accounts. The support I got was enough for me to make the switch.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m planning to launch two shoe lines in the future – one for fast fashion and another for classic leather footwear. Meanwhile, I have Thrifty Thieves, a small side gig selling handmade accessories, and it has been sustaining me financially. I’m working towards bringing in other stuff that I feel would complement the brand.

Get to know Jia Min
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Five things that make her happy

“My pets, good food, Netflix, great shopping deals and getting 12 hours of sleep.”

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She’s very comfortable with her own company

“I really enjoy quality me-time at home, where I get to catch up on my favourite TV shows or cook myself a nice meal while doing work at the same time.”

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She had the most memorable travel experience in New Zealand

“We were there for 12 days, but I had so much fun as we went white water rafting, bungee jumping and even skiing. All on a tight budget!”

Text Compiled By Adora Wong.

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