Kriti Gupta lives here with her husband and two children, Nivaan (4) and Nia (1.5); we talk to her about daily life and working in Singapore – plus setting up a preloved kidswear brand including Indian ethnic clothes.
Where are you originally from?
I was born and brought up in the north of India in a city called Kanpur, famous for food and the Indian Institute of Technology! I love it here, but there are days when I miss my parents, home-cooked Indian food and the traditional sweets from my hometown. I try to re-live those memories by cooking or getting yummy treats shipped to Singapore!
How did you end up living in Singapore?
I came here in 2006 on a scholarship to study engineering at NUS, and I fell in love with the “red dot” instantly! With the amazing food, quick trips to gorgeous holiday destinations, the convenience and the infrastructure, I knew this relationship would last. Here I am, 16 years later in this beautiful city I now call home.
Tell us a bit about working in Singapore.
Since university days, I’d always been passionate about climate change and sustainability, so I looked for opportunities to contribute to the sector. My first job in the energy sector was tough as I had to convince my company to consider electric vehicles as a key area to develop and invest in, at a time when they weren’t common on roads. I remain deeply passionate about electromobility and its potential, and I’m proud to say that my 10 years of work in this space, through my various roles in the public sector, contributed to the government’s announcement in 2020 about Singapore going fully electric by 2040.
While I had these amazing opportunities at work, I wanted to do something closer to home! The day my first child turned one, I remember standing in the guest room overwhelmed with the amount of clothes he had accumulated in just a year. That’s what led to the genesis of Nimbu – Singapore’s first circular brand for kids.
My vision for Nimbu is to be the one-stop shop for all kids’ shopping because we’re the only platform that provides parents a guaranteed avenue to return their purchases once kids have outgrown them, in exchange for credits with which they can buy something age appropriate. This “buy-use-return” cycle gives another lease of life to preloved clothes or other items you and your family don’t need any more. We’ve received amazing feedback so far, with parents rooting for us as we help them declutter meaningfully.
What are some of the kidswear and products you sell?
Our most popular product is our premium cotton Indian ethnic wear, though we have diversified our product range to include bamboo baby rompers, organic cotton shirts, dresses, PJs to even books, sustainable handcrafted toys and eclectic gift sets. Every item in the gift sets is circular, so they’re a gift that will keep on giving.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I recently moved to Nimbu full-time, which has freed me up to do more in terms of strategy and business expansion. I’m a night person so my mornings are for less stressful tasks like responding to emails and answering customer enquiries. Afternoons are for calls with brand partners and our tech team, and social media planning. I try to keep early evening free for my little ones’ dinner and bedtime. Then I’m back to the laptop for things that need proper mind space like strategy and partnerships.
As a mum, I find I can only focus after the kids are in bed; so 9pm to midnight is my most productive time (unless one of them wakes up, and then being a mum takes precedence!).
Any surprises or challenges you’ve found living and working in Singapore?
Singapore is an absolutely amazing place to work and live. I was working in the public service prior to switching to Nimbu and I can say that the thought and effort that goes behind making Singapore business- and talent-friendly is unparalleled.
The only thing that could be further looked into is greater impetus on sustainability, from supporting start-ups and businesses that are pioneering solutions and business models in the space, to greater awareness and education for consumers to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. It could start with simple but impactful things like banning plastic bags at supermarkets or mandating bringing your own reusable boxes to take away food.
What do you like to do here when you’re not working?
I’m a foodie – in fact, I have a certificate from Le Cordon Bleu in French cuisine! I love exploring new food places with my husband; currently, we’re on a hunt for the best Moelleux au Chocolat in Singapore!
What are you looking forward to most for 2023?
We’re raising our very first angel investment round to grow the team, expanding our offering beyond ethnic wear and working on plans to go international. I’m also looking forward to more work trips, finally meeting our artisans in person and sitting down for a real (not Zoom) cup of coffee with business partners. Finally, we will be revamping our website and operations to better enable parents everywhere to shop guilt-free with Nimbu – whether it’s new or preloved!
Casual restaurant? We love Bakalaki, especially the Robertson Quay branch. The food, the service, the wine menu – it’s great for a date night as well as a mid-week treat!
Date-night restaurant? One of the best meals we have had was at Skai at the Swissotel. The ambience is perfect to celebrate a special occasion and the food is delectable.
Bar? Wine Connection is perfect when I don’t wish to research and just want my favourite wine and cheese without busting the wallet!
Local food? 99 Buona Vista Kitchen has been one of our fave haunts since college! It’s amazing how this little place has been around for so long and is still doing so well with throngs of loyal customers. We love the mee goreng – the best in Singapore!
Nature space? We’ve found a secret place, not so crowded, with gorgeous scenery – it kind of feels like it’s not Singapore! It’s near Hort Park; I won’t reveal the exact location, but will leave it to the readers to explore and plan a mini adventure!
Thing to do with visitors? Shopping, sightseeing, eating, nature trails – there’s something for everyone in Singapore. We love taking our friends on hikes and wrapping up the morning with some good ol’ kaya toast for breakfast.
Nearby holiday destination? Bali for us – it’s easy, kid-friendly and rejuvenating!