Deon Phua (Singapore Entrepreneur)

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Deon Phua
Deon Phua (3).jpg
Born1992
EducationDiploma in Visual Communications
Alma materTemasek Polytechnic

Deon Phua (born 1992) is the co-founder and managing director of Singapore-based creative studio Tell Your Children.[1][2] Deon is also the founder of vintage apparel store Death Threads.[2] For his work in the arts industry, Deon Phua was featured on The Straits Times’ list of ‘30 and under: Young Singaporeans to watch’ in December 2020.[3]

Background

Family

Deon Phua was born in 1992.[1] Deon has a younger sister, Isabel Phua, who was featured by The Straits Times in January 2020 for her work with social enterprise Migrant x Me, an initiative to educate locals about the migrant worker community.[4][5]

Education

From 2009 to 2012, Deon Phua studied at Temasek Polytechnic (TP) where he graduated with a diploma in visual communications, majoring in illustration.[2]

Personal life

Deon Phua is married to Annalisa Yeo.[6][7] The couple tied the knot in May 2020.[8]

Earlier career

From August 2012 to October 2012, Deon Phua was a design intern for Villains Creative Design Agency.[2] From June 2020 to August 2020, Deon was also an adjunct lecturer for his alma mater Temasek Polytechnic, teaching students from the School of Design.[2]

Tell Your Children (January 2014 to current)

Deon Phua illustrating a mural as part of Tell Your Children.
Deon Phua illustrating a mural as part of Tell Your Children.

As of January 2021, Deon Phua is the co-founder and managing director of creative studio Tell Your Children.[2] According to its website, Tell Your Children creates visual content for consumers through illustrations and design.[9] Although trained in illustration, Deon is the managing director of the company, handling client partnerships and managing the company’s direction.[10][2]

Beginnings

In January 2014, Deon Phua formed Tell Your Children (TYC) along with three co-founders and former classmates from Temasek Polytechnic, Kevin Too, Lydia Yang and Russell Ong.[2][10] According to Deon, the idea for starting Tell Your Children came up while he was serving his mandatory national service (NS) with his former TP classmates Kevin Too and Russell Ong, as they did not want to attend university.[11]

In a 2019 interview with digital lifestyle publication Hype & Stuff, Deon Phua explained why he took the risk to start TYC with his friends, saying:

“I think we were just impatient that way. We had more experienced friends telling us to not rush into things, but I think that drives me to prove myself, that this could work. In retrospect, getting a job after army might have been the safer choice, but if we had done that maybe TYC would have never been born.”[11]

Clientele

Even before debuting in January 2014 with their first exhibition show, Tell Your Children already had their first client.[10] Tell Your Children was tasked to draw a mural for the shared office of alcohol brands Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry.[10] Since then, the quartet has gone on to work with clients such as Uniqlo, Razer and MTV.[1]

Conceptualising artwork

All four co-founders of Tell Your Children come together to conceptualise their artwork and designs.[10] In a 2016 interview with The Straits Times, Deon was quoted as having said the following:

"We approach projects in an unconventional way. Because the four of us bring our inspirations to the table, we come up with unique concepts and artworks which I think are comparable with artists and illustrators on a global scale."[10]

Other endeavours

Deon Phua and his team at Death Threads’ store.
Deon Phua and his team at Death Threads’ store.

Death Threads (June 2017 to current)

Besides being the managing director for Tell Your Children, Deon is also the founder of Death Threads, an apparel store based in Singapore selling vintage clothing.[2] Deon founded the vintage apparel store in June 2017, and currently manages the business with his friends.[2][12]

Since its inception, Death Threads has garnered a following of over 17,000 followers on Instagram, drawing huge crowds at its once-a-month store opening.[12] In a 2019 interview with Channel News Asia, Deon was quoted as having said the following about Death Threads:

“Authenticity is key for any brand and we’ve always made it a point to engage our customers through social media. We share our different personalities, our beliefs, our stories, knowledge and product curation on Instagram, and I think our customers really appreciate that.”[12]

Citations / References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Tan, Alanna. “These 4 Temasek Poly Grads Get Paid To Draw On Walls - Worked With Brands Like Uniqlo, MTV, Razer”. Vulcan Post. July 25, 2018. Accessed 11 January, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Deon Phua. LinkedIn. n.d. Accessed 11 January, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/in/deonasaurus/?originalSubdomain=sg
  3. 30 and under: Young Singaporeans to watch”. The Straits Times. December 19, 2020. Accessed 12 January, 2021.
  4. Deon Phua. Facebook. January 6, 2020. Accessed 11 January, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/deonasaurus/posts/10157807087867866
  5. Teng, Amelia. “25-year-old goes the distance to befriend migrant workers”. The Straits Times. January 6, 2020. Accessed 11 January, 2021.
  6. Deon Phua. Facebook. n.d. Accessed 11 January, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/deonasaurus
  7. deonasaurus. Instagram. May 19, 2020. Accessed 11 January, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/CAXIHnmnYz_/
  8. deonasaurus. Instagram. May 19, 2020. Accessed 11 January, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/CAXIHnmnYz_/
  9. About”. Tell Your Children. n.d. Accessed 11 January, 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Woo, Alyssa. “An eye for design”. The Straits Times. July 23, 2016. Accessed 11 January, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wong, Julian. ‘'Meet TellYourChildren Studios —Four Young Singaporeans In Pursuit Of Creativity”. HYPE & STUFF. October 22, 2019. Accessed 11 January, 2021.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ho, Jovi. “When millennials sell 'vintage' 90s ware: Unusual hours and chat group auctions”. Channel News Asia. March 25, 2019. Accessed 12 January, 2021.