As the founder of childrenswear label Maison Q, Suhana Ab (@whereissuhanaab) is one of the go-to women in Singapore if you want to dress your kids fashionably from a young age. Starting her brand just four years ago, Ab’s vibrant, kitschy prints have caught the attention of aesthetically-minded parents in both Singapore and Malaysia, who love it for its comfort and versatility. A mother of three, Ab is truly a testament to women juggling both a fast-paced career and the rigorous demands of motherhood. Here, we speak to the fashion entrepreneur about vegan recipes, accessorising don’ts, and the secret of getting a great shot with your kids.
Occupation: Founder and creative director of Maison Q, a childrenswear label that specialises in reversible apparels.
What’s your favourite social media platform? Instagram.
First app you check when you wake up: WhatsApp.
Describe your personal style with three hashtags: #printsplease #practical #buybetterbuyless
What was your first Instagram post? A picture of art and travel books at the Le Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris. I was there for work and my colleagues and I had just heard about Instagram. This was on 27 Jan 2011.
What was the last thing you saved on Instagram? Mmm.. rather makcik (aunty in Bahasa Malay), A tofu recipe by @veganbowlsrecipes. My family and I are vegan four days a week so I was looking for new ways to spice up the humble tofu. They really do have interesting ideas.
Do you prefer posting on Stories or grid? Stories. You can share much more and in greater detail. With stories it feels like you are having a conversation with your friends.
Filter or #nofilter? At 40, filter of course.
Do you have a finsta? I had to Google that. Not quite finsta, but spy-insta? Is that the same? I use it to do market research anonymously, you know, in case my fingers hit ‘like’ accidentally.
What pisses you off the most on social media? I find that people have just become so excruciatingly lazy to check anything for themselves these days. When I scroll through retail accounts, there will be comments like do you have this? Like dude, read the captions, click the link?
Best selfie trick: Wear large sunglasses. It hides the eyebags.
Favourite editing apps: I don’t actually use any, purely because I have no patience for it.
One idea/thought that you heard recently that you found interesting: I saw this on Twitter. Someone was making an example of @theduckgroup. They are wildly successful and run really solid marketing campaigns. Among many things, this person (sorry I can’t remember who) attributes it to the fact that the brand cleverly includes their followers/fans in their social media. Re-posting followers’ photos on their grid, and making them feel like they belong. As a person behind a small brand, I am always looking for ways to improve and I thought this was an interesting take.
The secret to getting a great shot with your kids: Portrait mode on the iPhone.
How do you unplug? I always find something new to clean out and organise—it may be my in my home or office. I have no problem throwing anything that does not spark joy. Just the other day I was organising Legos according to colour and my accessories using acrylic boxes. My husband says I am a bit nuts to equate cleaning to leisure.
Style icons/inspirations: The latest on my list—Minju Kim. She is brimming with talent and I love her designs. And as a personality, she is very relatable. She is proof that good girls do win.
Go-to look for a night out: Dresses are fast and easy. I favour loose cuts with drama on the sleeves, irregular hemlines or one in happy, exuberant prints.
Best recent discovery: Picanhas’ Steakhouse at Club Street. Apart from the good food, I love that it is unpretentious, casual and the service is great.
Style pet peeve: I dislike mixing gold and silver accessories. You can say I’m a little old school.
Last purchase you made: The Daily Battle tote from Faure Le Page. I had a fall because the previous bag I was carrying was too small and my hands were so full. I didn’t see where I was going and slipped down a step. After that, I swore to only carry big bags to work.
Lusting after right now: The limited-edition Louis Vuitton Catogram Neverfull. When it launched in 2018, I paid absolutely no attention to it, but since I am now only using big bags for work, it would be perfect. Functional and cute. I’ve been on a hunt for it for a while now.
What’s always in your bag? Wet wipes. Have you met my three kids?
Most prized possession(s) in your closet: A vintage Chanel backpack which is over 40 years old. They don’t make it anymore and the leather, even after so many years, is still divine. Also, my Hello Kitty x Levi’s denim jacket. I’m a fan.
Last book you read? Cinderella: A Fashionable Tale by Steven Guarnaccia with my 8 year old daughter, Arissa. It is a modern take on the classic tale and features iconic fashion creations such as the YSL Barbaresque dress, Vivienne Westwood’s Statue of Liberty Dress and Andre Perugia’s mask slipper. Quite a fun read.
Greatest accomplishment: Growing Maison Q from ground up, surviving all the lows the entrepreneurship journey has handed me and retailing the brand at over ten points of sale in Singapore and Malaysia. And for not stabbing my husband (who is also my business partner) with a pencil each time we squabble about work.