SFi by Me and
Name: Fanny Khoo
Profession: Strategy / Creative Director
Did you know?
I fall in love every single day.
As a child I loved making stories. My ideas literally live outside my head. I was always idealistic and naïve enough to think that I could change the world. All this happily allows me to do what I do, so I try not to complain too much!
I attended LaSalle in Singapore and upon graduation, became an in-house designer for a cruise ship company. I met Mr Jones (aka Tom Merckx) in 1997 and moved to Belgium. I then joined 2 design firms before eventually working together at then Bizart which we revamped as Flink in Antwerp. 4 years later, I was asked to head Equus in Singapore - where I'm from originally. Equus is an award-winning agency with a strong corporate communications background. And our job was to accelerate its repositioning from a 15 year-old design agency to a multi-faceted brand consultancy.
We spent 3.5 years making that happen before returning 6 months ago to Antwerp where we finally established Me and Mister Jones. It's slowly taking off but the cultural climate is vastly different from Asia's ambition and drive. This takes a lot of getting used to... I probably won't have to because the world is so much more bigger than where we're based. And I don't plan on being stationary anyway.
I started doing strategy at Equus 2 years ago due to practical reasons. Brand strategists cost way too much to outsource. They also wield a lot of influence without being able to lend any creative firepower. I've always thought that both are equally important. If you arrive to a logical solution, it must always be able to translate to the best creative in all different medium. Oh and I've never met a brand strategist with excellent taste. And unfortunately no, taste is not subjective.
I write copy professionally but strategy work can be very taxing. It only starts to pay off when you're able to form that cross-over between strategy and creative. It's very challenging (but hugely exciting) each time when you're tasked to learn about a completely new industry or subject (depending on client type). You have to be prepared mentally to make these leaps back and forth, filling up gaps and then dividing them. Doing that again and again until you make perfect sense. New yet relevant. Simplified but not simplistic.
At the end of the day, your creative product must be able to go through fire - unscathed.
I absolutely love what I do because I've never been bored with dealing with complexity or design. Making everything come alive with a special soul, whether it's a logo, website or a shop interior - it's such a rare privilege to have the opportunity to create. That said, I do spend as much time working on convincing people - they need attention in order to change things. You can only bring real change through people. So that's very important.
Like Steve Jobs say, "We don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. And we've all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it. And to me, it really is.
10 Works / projects
Biggest hurdle overcomed?
Changing agencies, changing people's minds. Nurturing creative people which can be a real bitch because I am totally not easy. Haha
But I would say the biggest hurdle is always myself. I'm never satisfied to be just good. How can I say this? It's just never enough. Not for me, anyway.
Being part of Equus's (occasionally painful) transition from a design to brand consultancy. But the greatest moment is always looking at what's next instead of actually 'achieving' it.
I used to say I'd like to 'die trying to make it, rather than having made it.' To me, there's nothing more boring than 'being there'.
Making Me and Mister Jones work in both local and international context - being the next ACNE whom I admire greatly. Jonny Johansson can't be pinned down to being one thing and that's such a fantastic place to be at.
Why join the navy when you can be a pirate?