Founder & artist Céline Chou has created unique fashion and home accessories, inspired by her paintings.
Tévy wants to infuse your wardrobe with a dose of artful fashion!
We met with the artist in Hong Kong for a very inspiring interview.
Who is behind the Brand Tévy?
Céline Chou, founder of Tévy. I am French from Cambodian heritage, and I have been living in Hong Kong for more than 6 years now.
I did not study fashion nor Art. I have a business background although a part of myself always knew a career in business would not be fulfilling enough, I’ve always had a strong artistic flair.
Please tell us more about you. What is your Background?
I was born in Paris, grew up in Lyon and graduated from a Business School in Marseille.
My first experience abroad was in Shanghai where I studied for a year. During that time I had the chance to visit Hong Kong in 2009. I immediately loved the vibes! Then I headed back to Paris working in Marketing for a French international corporation but I missed living abroad. So when I got a job opportunity, I decided to move to Hong Kong in 2011.
After an early career as a business consultant, I decided to set up my own company. Since my childhood, I constantly enjoyed embodying my ideas on drawings. Very quickly I came up with the idea of creating Tévy, a fashion brand and home accessories, inspired by my paintings. I saw my business background combining with my passion for art and fashion bloom.
Where does the name Tevy come from?
“Tévy” means angel in Khmer (Cambodian). It is also my middle name and artist moniker.
When did you get the idea to create Tevy?
Back in 2013, I started thinking about the concept of making art-inspired products. But, I was only 26 years old then, and I needed to get more experience first. I was not ready to step out of my comfort zone yet. Plus, I was “a newbie” in Hong Kong, I needed to get more market knowledge and contacts. So I kept working for the company who hired me in the first place, while working on this business idea on the side.
I met in Hong Kong many creative talents and entrepreneurs who inspired me to eventually launch my own business: In 2016, I formed Tévy so I could design and create my own accessories, mostly silk scarves, all of which have been inspired by my own paintings.
What is the identity of Tevy?
It is intrinsically linked to my art, to the artist behind the brand.
I like the idea to give a second life to my artworks through the concept of wearable art (or art pieces you can bring home- speaking of the home decor range). That way, more people can enjoy it!
My iconic item is the scarf- an essential for many French ladies. To me, scarves are great accessories because they give character to any outfit, weather casual or elegant. I most often wear black, white, single coloured outfit and when you add a scarf it gives immediately this pop of colour you need.
Scarves are statement pieces and they are also versatile because there are many different ways to wear it, it doesn’t have to be too “strict”, you can be creative and wear the scarf has a headband, around your wrist, as a top, attached to your handbags, etc.
How would you position Tevy?
Tévy is within the “affordable luxury” range, a brand for Art lovers, for people who are looking for something different, original, colourful. My Product line includes fashion accessories such as silk scarves, cosmetic bags, and also home decor such as cushions, coasters and every piece features my artwork.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I used to paint a lot of landscapes and portraits in France when I was younger but I never found a specific style that I could say was mine. But, when I moved to Hong Kong I started art jamming and then I found that abstract art was what I enjoyed most. I love creating paintings from my imagination/memories and expressing my emotions through the use of color and movement.
In the end, it is always connected to my personal life: a travel, an emotion, an acquaintance… Each painting has its own story: memories of childhood in France, a remarkable life event, my first trip to my country of origin, Cambodia… It could seem very abstract but actually it is very personal, each of them have a meaning for me. But after all, what each painting really represents is not essential, I like inviting the audience to enter my world and to use their imagination to define what they see and what they feel. I really enjoy seeing how people interpret them.
What were your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge it to be able to do a bit of everything, to run both a company and develop a brand: from making a business plan, to accounting (which is not my cup of tea), the admin part, sourcing, production follow-up, marketing, communication, design, sale, negotiation, networking, event organization, etc. Luckily, having studied management, it gave me some knowledge in most of the fields.
Any tips or recommendation you would share with new entrepreneurs in “Fashion” or Artists?
Offering something different. In my opinion, beyond their functional utility, products shall have a symbolic meaning, a personality. But most important is to do something you like, something that motivates you.
Apart from “Tevy”, are there any brands or artists you would recommend worth checking?
I love La French Cut handmade shoes. Their designs are quite unique and refined. Because it is so hard to find beautiful pair of heels that you can wear all day long! You can also have them custom-made, which is great.
I like the paintings of Justin Y, a Hong Kong-based abstract contemporary artist who paints with his fingers directly on canvas. He also has a limited edition of finger painted leather clutches.
Also, I like the work of Yaz, a French artist who is specialized in mixed media, painting, sculpture, photography, and art of mirror. You can see his artworks in Hong Kong too.