The multi-generational success of Royal Selangor has seen the pewter company spread its wings across the globe. From its humble start at a shophouse in colonial Malaya, the brand quickly attained a broader relevance across the march of time. Last year, its Star Wars collection debuted to white-hot popularity, with a stellar rendition of classic and contemporary icons from the films. Yong Yoon Li, the fourth-generation scion at Royal Selangor, discusses the finer points of the company’s longevity and, of this season’s theme of New Beginnings.
On Royal Selangor’s values
Our spirit of innovation has been the key element in our growth. When my great-grandfather first came to Kuala Lumpur, he began by making Chinese ceremonial products but once his trade was established, he started meeting the demands of other customers such as Western expatriates. Today, our team of designers and craftspeople are constantly pushing the envelope in pewter design.
On the process of creation
My formal involvement in the past ten years has helped me enjoy the process of designing and creating beautiful pieces for our customers. There is great value in working with skilled and talented people who share the same passion in their areas of expertise.
On new beginnings
The theme of New Beginnings was chosen to focus on the happiest moments in people’s lives; getting married, moving into a new home and the birth of a baby. In a nutshell, this encapsulates Royal Selangor as well – we celebrate life’s special moments through our design and craftsmanship. Our new Crystalline range is particularly exciting to me. The talents of Singaporean designer Jarrod Lim in this collaboration is expressed through his perfect understanding of pewter as a material.
On the appeal of Royal Selangor
Our tableware and homeware has traditionally enjoyed great popularity in markets such as the UK and Australia, as wedding and house-warming gifts. I believe our design and product range makes us an easy option as we provide almost everything from champagne flutes and wine decanters to photo frames and tea sets. A personalised pewter gift is more meaningful and becomes an heirloom when passed down from one generation to the next.
On his personal new beginnings
I’ve been fortunate to have experienced many of life’s new beginnings: from my wedding to a new home to the birth of my first daughter. Another memorable start is graduating from IMD Business School just before joining Royal Selangor. At IMD, I was in a fairly small class of only 89 people and because we were put in many groups to work on different projects, the experience helped me to appreciate the value in working with people of different cultures and backgrounds.