There’s never a destination. With Jacqueline Shiu.

My original chat with Jacqueline focused on her art career. Two years on, her adventure has taken new developments. What piqued my interest was what she said “The destination is the excuse to take the journey.” Here I sat down with her to learn more of her adventurous and fun-loving side and a candid sharing of life, work, and pursuits.

Can you tell us how you got from art to business?

Of the few gallery openings I have been to, I really didn’t enjoy that social environment. I felt it was very superficial. Also, as I was younger and quite shy I wasn’t very confident about myself, so I never made it into the scene. I was teaching most of the time — I stayed teaching, and I stayed learning just as a student, so I wasn’t a professional or I didn’t see myself as an artist. I had always called myself a painter. Because I think the connotation of being an artist is so vague?

Do you consider yourself an artist now?

How did you come to the understanding?

What led you to diversify?

What did you feel they were liking art for?

And also my guru. I remember having a conversation with him once and it was right around when I went to college, and I told him, I was studying art. He said, “Oh, why don’t you study business?” And it got me thinking, there’s nothing about me that’s business. So I wouldn’t even know where that idea came from. But I also kept this in mind and thought, maybe he’s trying to say I should do business. So there are lots of things coming together.

The inspiration for this chat with Jacqueline Shiu.

Serendipity — things come together

How did you take the first step?

Was it hard? Or was it easy?

Can you tell us more because it sounded like, you really looked for something that aligned with what you wanted to give birth to.

You mentioned that some of the most memorable moments have been visiting factories.

My then mother-in-law has a friend called Samir. Samir introduced me to a guy that he works out with at the gym who has a Kashmir factory. His company is called The Kashmir company. Meanwhile, I found another company online called The Kashmir Industries, to which the owner’s name is Samir. I made a bunch of appointments to meet these factory owners, and I guess I got Kashmir Industries and Kashmir Company mixed up. So they all came to meet me at the same time.

I met with Kashmir Industries first. And I shook hands with him and I kept talking, “Oh you’re a friend of Samir…” and he had no idea what I was talking about. But he didn’t catch that I was talking about the wrong person, because his name was Samir. So he just got confused. I just kept talking. And then the other guy came to pick me up. But by then I had left with the first company. My then mother-in-law who was with me in Nepal thought I had been kidnapped, because the other guy showed up, and I wasn’t there. So there was a huge fiasco.

What was your criteria in finding your business partner, or what you call the surrogate mother to create your scarves?

I asked for signs. And I had to say that I had very promising signs for this particular factory.

Did you have an inkling that this was the most probable one?

So it helped that you actually did sampling with various factories.

At a photoshoot for Jacqueline’s artwork.

Work and relationships as Learning Ground

How have you grown from working relationships?

So for example, a lady who helps with some of the sewing, I get to see a little more about this person and her life and that’s interesting. Then it’s also how do you deal with this person. Because, under normal circumstances, she won’t be my friend. But now I’m put into a situation where I work with this person because of her other qualities. From there I get to see other parts of her which are valuable in ways I wouldn’t see otherwise.

Likewise with my factory in Nepal. In the beginning, I was so annoyed by how things were. For the first few factory visits, we had to take the car for half an hour, an hour, on a very shitty road, and it’s a very small, dingy car. And I was always getting carsick. And for the whole journey, the owner would talk to me about Hinduism, as though he’s trying to convert me. Obviously, I’m Buddhist. And I found it really annoying. I tried to have a conversation with him. But I realized it was pointless. Plus with the carsick. So towards the end, I was just nodding and was like, “Okay, okay, okay.”

But then the relationship changed. Two months ago, he was telling me, “I’m very fond of the Buddhist religion.” And he was sharing with me some videos about Buddhism and some experiences of his life as well. That’s a nice, meaningful connection that I wouldn’t otherwise have if I’m not using this factory. So that’s the kind of relationship that I get to experience outside of my own social circles.

Because you’re working with different people, you naturally would share who you are, you naturally share your Buddhist experience or other things. In this case, kind of opened him up to something new as well.

Being told you’re being too honest. Has it created problems or actually created surprises for you?

You think so? What if your genuine sharing is actually more inspiring?

What did you mean when you said “The destination is the excuse to take the journey?”

What’s that destination?

So the destination is just, it’s like an oasis. You feel like you’re getting there, but you’ll never get there. And it’s actually the desire to get there. That’s the fun part. Because you will actually never get there. So that’s definitely the case with painting. Because there’s no perfect painting where “Oh my God, I’ve done this, I can never, surmount my great work. So I need to stop.” You know, there’s never a destination. I guess it’s the same with life, money, and everything. Right?

Painting entitled Karma. By Jacqueline Shiu.
Painting entitled Karma. By Jacqueline Shiu.
Karma. Painting by Jacqueline Shiu.

Tenacity and renewal

Is there anything else you want to share or add?

Did it set you free? Or did it give you an impetus to stand on your own?

It must have been very tough. How did you pull yourself through?

For this brand, you said you wanted to bring something to the world? What is it that you want to bring?

Now, whenever I come across anybody, I just have to remember I stand for Jacqueline Shiu. I stand for myself, I stand for my brand. So I don’t want to do shitty things and ruin my brand and ruin my reputation as a human being. I think if everyone does that, then it’s good. Right? What was your question?

What do you want to bring to people?

Weaving through narrow alleyways of the brocade factory district. [Sound ON]

Cool. Thank you.


All photos and videos from Jacqueline Shiu.

Date of chat: Tuesday, 23 February 2021 at Jacqueline’s studio.

Look out for the first interview on her training and art next week!

Originally published at on March 11, 2021.

Writer + Host: Filmaholic/ Orchestrii Orchestrator-in-Chief / Design-lover /World explorer. Written for Zolima City Mag, Culture Trip.

Writer + Host: Filmaholic/ Orchestrii Orchestrator-in-Chief / Design-lover /World explorer. Written for Zolima City Mag, Culture Trip.