Check it out
WHAT: projectshop Cafe
WHERE: 290 Orchard Road, #03-41/44, Paragon Shopping Centre
WHEN: 10.30am - 9.30pm daily(the cafe opens from 9.30am to 10pm daily)
HISTORY: Launched in 2006 by cafe owners and design collaborators Peter Teo and Richard Chamberlain, Property Of... has earned itself an international following for its fine bags and goods.
This secret shopper was at Paragon Shopping Centre when a yearning for coffee kicked in.
With many cafes in this upmarket mall, one was spoilt for choice. While riding on the escalator down to the third storey, I chanced upon PS.Cafe, from which emanated lovely coffee scents.
But this joint offered an even more remarkable sight: bags. Lots of them. And very well-designed ones at that.
It turned out that PS.Cafe, also known as projectshop Cafe, is managed by the same company that manages the local Property Of... brand.
Property Of... sells mainly bags and accessories. Though it has only one outlet here, the brand has a much stronger following overseas.
Half of the bags I spotted were made of waxed canvas cotton, a water-resistant material. This secret shopper also spotted goods made from full calf leather and a worn, washed denim.
There was also a wide variety of accessories such as wallets, card-holders, laptop cases and coin pouches.
But what I found most intriguing was a rectangular fold of canvas displayed under lock and key. It was eventually revealed to be a shoulder pad which can be fastened onto the sling of one's bag.
The curious feature of the store is that it was also a cafe.
Split equally along the length of the unit, one half was filled with tables occupied by customers sipping their coffee and snacking on desserts, while the other half was the shop proper.
Though it was the thought of coffee that drew me into the store initially, I felt a little unnerved by the presence of cafe patrons nearby.
But the shopfront was beautiful indeed. Apart from the standard display of bags, there was a faux shelf of faux books alongside stacks of Juice magazine and brochures for the We Heart Emma concert and upcoming La Cage musical.
Service & Price Point
The service was impeccable. Although there was only one sales assistant in the store, the moment I approached her, she was more than willing to attend to me.
Whenever I pointed at a bag that interested me, she did not have any problems recalling its price - and pricey they were indeed.
A backpack hanging outside the store cost $300. Its cheapest bags, the shopping tote bags, cost $34.90, while the most expensive was a $900 cabin suitcase of full calf leather.
Its accessories, though cheaper, were still expensive to this secret shopper: A 15-inch canvas laptop case and lined with leather cost $89.90; the shoulder pads cost $45.90 each.
Although I was later told of the existence of a Web store, I was advised by the sales assistant that the website is geared towards international customers, which means that the prices listed there are higher than at the brick-and-mortar shop here.
If you are looking for a place to have your coffee and check out well-crafted bags, this is the place to be.
Although the bags are a tad pricey, you can be assured of paying for top, home-grown quality.