John Tan, Founder of Controlled Commodity

What’s your story?
Entrepreneur turned investor turned entrepreneur. I’m run a fashion ecommerce label ( and I’m an active investor in, Marcella and Ninja Van. I’m also a co-founder of Saturday Kids, a programming school for children.
What excites you most about your industry?
Tech is a great space to be in. Lots of bright people looking to make a dent on the universe. I count myself lucky to be part of the community and ecosystem.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Born and bred in Singapore. Went to college in London. Came back to Asia and been running my own businesses the last 5 years.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. Easiest place to do business. Efficient and uncorrupt.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
No balls, no babies.
Who inspires you?
Entrepreneurs, both the ones I invested in as well as those I didn’t invest in. Not every startup makes it, but the effort that founders put in to try and make their startup work is admirable.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That GrabTaxi, a South East Asian startup, just raised $250 million dollars.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’ll learn how to code.
How do you unwind?
I do circuit training twice a week, and I play football twice a week. I listen to a lot of music on Deezer and Spotify. I love art house films.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Niseko. Love the skiing.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Delivering happiness.
Shameless plug for your business:
Controlled Commodity was created to take a stand against the current culture of disposable fashion. We create chic, fun and modern pieces that people won’t tire of wearing every day. With inspiration drawn from music, adventure and urban culture, every piece incorporates design twists and details to elevate everyday wear into something personal and unique.
How can people connect with you?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
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