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Crafting his niche with some beads by Esther Chandran

Derek Tan certainly has guts! He has a job that most other guys would not do or even talk about. In fact, Tan ventured into a field that is so much liked by women and is ever so comfortable when he’s deftly crafting with beads.

That’s right! Tan is a jewellery maker and with nimble fingers, he creates exquisite jewellery from glass beads, seed beads, pearls, semi-precious stones and wire, much to the envy of women.


The 26-year old has been in the beaded jewellery line for the past nine years after picking up a love for beads and designs while studying Business Computing at APITT after completing Form Five. 

“A girl friend introduced me to bead making while I was in college. I was looking for a part time job that did not require me to stand all day and jewellery making was just the thing because I could sit and make beads, “ Tan said with a cheeky smirk on his face. 

Born and bred in Petaling Jaya, Tan has an identical twin who shares his boyish good looks but does not share his passion for beads. Tan’s twin prefers travelling and is an air steward. 

This youth enjoys going online and looking through the pages of magazines scouring for the latest fashion trends. 

He sees the jewellery line as part of the fashion industry. 

“I’ve always been more inclined to the creative world as I am fascinated with colours and like experimenting by mixing and matching beads with natural and semi-precious stones. 

“I have received my fair share of stares and startled looks when I tell people what I do for a living but it has never stopped me from pursuing my interest in this line.

 “After all, a lot of men are involved in the fashion, hairstyling and cooking industries, things which are associated with women but also popular with men,” said Tan who recently opened Derek T, an outlet featuring his beaded creations where he also teaches beading in Plaza Damas, Kuala Lumpur.

Note: The original article above was published in The Star paper on 20 June 2009 and is written by Esther Chandran. However I have been trying to locate the article online but have been unable to do so. As I need to declutter the growing number of newspaper clippings that I have been keeping, I took a photo of the article and typed out the text myself. I hope this article will serve as an inspiration to others, especially guys who want to venture out into an industry mostly associated with women.

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