Food is so much more than the glorious calories you're about to devour. In fact, Nom Studio (@nomstudio.my) will argue that it's everything right down to the little details. From the type of plate that you use, its color to its matching cutleries; they all tell a story of the culinary experience you wish to share with your loved ones. This is exactly why the two best friends behind the brand embarked on a journey to create and curate timeless tableware to help tell that story, one beautifully speckled ceramic plate at a time.
How did the idea of Nom Studio first come about?
We have been best friends for ten years and studied in the UK together. During which, we travelled around the world for gastronomic adventures, hosted many dinner parties and have been lucky enough to be guests of the loveliest hosts as well. All of these experiences were elevated by the use of simple yet beautiful tableware. The real tipping point really started off with CY who returned from London last year during the Covid-19 period and started sharing her happy tableware hauls with me (Chooi Yau).
On top of that, food photography has become a trend especially during the lockdown when people started venturing into cooking and dining at home. We realised that there was a huge gap in the market for the tableware that we love, and we wanted to bring this joy to the comforts of homes of people we love. After all, so many memories are created over a meal with our loved ones, over food that we have prepared for the people that matter. But God forbid we serve these foods on mismatched free plates with floral motifs from our parents’ Darlie purchase! So we onboarded on this journey together and here we are 7 months later.
How would Nom Studio describe its tastes when it comes to homeware?
Pushing boundaries in a way you wouldn’t expect, by taking it all back to basics. Our tableware is very hygge, simple but with an edge, lots of creamy whites and speckles. The designs are made for the modern kitchen in mind, with quality that can stand the test of time.
This leads us naturally to the next point! Can you share with us why hygge appeals to your brand?
We’re all about the pursuit of everyday happiness and contentment, focusing on the small things that really matter. We do it in a way we know best, through thoughtful, beautiful homeware designs. That cute vessel you drink from every morning? That’s hygge. A dessert plate for your pastry takeaway? That’s hygge.
How do you curate homeware for Nom Studio? What are some of the things you constantly look for?
Our starting point for each collection will usually be a city/ town that we travelled together to, where we have personally experienced dining there. We then base our designs around the culture in that city/town. Furthermore, we also work with a few small businesses overseas to bring in more pieces such as dining flatware to complement our collections, that’s when the curation will come in. We will typically look for businesses that are sustainable, pay fair wages, whose ethos are in line with ours and with great quality to boot.
In the age of Instagram, aesthetics have become really important. As a brand, why does Nom Studio think that the vessel is just as important as the food itself when some people might deem it as "too extra"?
You do you, that’s always what we tell people. If eating from matching, modern tablewares makes you happy, that’s great. Equally, if eating on a plate that came free with your Darlie’s purchase makes you happy, that’s great too. The definition of extra differs from one another, don’t go around imposing your beliefs on other people! But for Nom, we are strong believers in the little touches. We feel happier when we eat from beautiful tableware, croissants just taste and look much better on it. But don’t take our word for it, try it yourself!
How are your products sourced and made? Do you guys have a hand in making them too?
Our products are sourced and made by our potteries and small businesses overseas, mostly in Thailand and occasionally a small village in China for certain designs that require more complicated work. We design a large portion of the tableware you see on our website, but in terms of actually making it by hand, we leave it up to our trusty team.
As best friends who founded the brand, can you share with us how you manage a healthy personal and business relationship?
We’re sisters at heart! We never had much problems managing the business together as we have been best friends for over 10 years. We are quite different in terms of personality, CY is the more gungho one, while I’m better at relationship management and definitely far more calm. So yeah, we complement each other really well.
We’re all about the pursuit of everyday happiness and contentment, focusing on the small things that really matter. We do it in a way we know best, through thoughtful, beautiful homeware designs.
What has been your favourite project thus far and why?
Hmm, tough question! When we are set on a new collection, we go all out. We love all the projects that we decided to be a part of, be it for home use, corporate gifting or cafes/restaurants, they are all our babies! But if we were to choose, we love our work with Drum & Desk Kelantan. When they first got in touch, they had mismatched tablewares that lacked a strong brand identity. We came up with a special design for them, advised them from end to end on their interior, use of tableware and the like.
Few months later, they came out of our discussion with an amazing interior, beautiful tableware and great pastries to boot! This we believe, is a strong example of what Nom strives to be, that we’re not just a tableware store. For home users, the tableware we create is to enhance the home-cooking experience to bring your loved ones together. For businesses who work with us, Nom is here to help you tell your story.
Lastly, what does Nom Studio wish to achieve as a brand?
We want to help more families to have beautiful dining experiences and equally, we want to help more cafes and restaurants to tell their stories better. And we do this through a way we know best, by creating and curating beautiful, timeless tableware. And one day, just like how now people say let’s grab there, when people think of a tableware, they will say… let’s Nom this.