Ryan Len, Founder of The Workbench

Ryan is on a learning curve as a designer and design educator. He believes your best bet to succeed is to keep reinventing yourself.
What’s your story?
I’m Ryan, a designer and design educator based in Singapore. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 17. This drive led me from one venture to another. Some failed, some succeeded, but it’s all part of the learning process.
Prior to starting Workbench, I was freelancing at different design studios, trying to learn and absorb as much knowledge as I could from my mentors and seniors in the industry.
What excites you most about your industry?
The process of problem solving client’s pain points to production and seeing our designs come to life has always brought me great joy and excitement. Being a multidisciplinary design studio in the creative industry has allowed us to take on a diverse range of projects. Receiving a new category of project always excites me most.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Besides my outlook that screams Asian (haha!), I was born and raised on the sunny island Singapore. Being in a country where we’re a cultural mix of east meets west, it definitely gave us a competitive edge when it comes to doing business and also in our thinking.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
In my line of work, not being bound by inventory and logistics allows me to travel around the world and work remotely with anyone and anywhere. So I would say a favourite city in Asia I would like to work remotely from would be Japan.
Being there inspires me all the time. I’ve always loved the Japanese way of thinking and culture. If I want to be away from the city life, I can always take a Shinkansen out of the city Into other quieter area.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Keep reinventing yourself.
Who inspires you?
My fiancée and family. They’ve been my pillars of strength since day 1. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Did you know Coca-Cola originally contained cocaine?!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would be more savvy about business and management before I dived into business. I lost quite a bit of business and money due to my lack of knowledge at the start.
How do you unwind?
I’d usually talk it out with my fiancée, and if possible, we’d take a short trip overseas at least twice a year to de-stress. Travelling helps me unwind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan! There’s so many things to see and do — from shopping; to crafts; sightseeing; hiking; learning about their cultures; etc.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek
Shameless plug for your business:
The Workbench is a Singapore-based graphic design studio with an international reach. Our purpose is not to create the most beautiful designs, but to create solutions that enable our clients to become better versions of themselves. Working closely with our clients in unison, we craft purposeful ideas and thoughtful solutions across all disciplines.
Since inception in 2014, our works have been internationally recognised with the prestigious Tokyo Type Directors Club Award, and published in Asia Pacific Design, The Straits Times, Behance Showcase, and many more.
How can people connect with you?
Website: www.theworkbench.sg
Email: matters@theworkbench.sg
Facebook: fb.com/theworkbenchsg
Instagram: @theworkbenchsg
Twitter handle?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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