How One Singaporean’s Multi-racial roots led to the birth of a Social Enterprise

Mirfie Chan, founder of Love, the Chans, shares how her experiences as a Singaporean immigrant, wife and mother raising a mixed-race Asian American family have led her to champion diversity and the birth of a social enterprise.

7 Mar 2022 / By Mirfie Chan

You know the saying “you can take the girl out of the island but you can’t take the island out of the girl”? This perfectly describes me. I’ve lived in New York for over 2 decades now which also means I’ve lived in both places for almost equal amounts of time. In fact, I’ve lived most of my adult life in New York. I’m often asked if I still feel or consider myself a Singaporean and the answer to that is always a resounding yes! 

Mirfie and her family

Like many immigrants, I wasn’t always sure of my place or identity here. Where do I fit in? Why does my food and cultural practices sometimes offend others? How do I find my voice in the vastness that is this city? Social Media did not exist in the year 2000. Perhaps it did in some form or other, yet it still is not the thing it is today. There was no network of Singaporeans going through the same experience for me to tap into. The Overseas Singapore Unit was formed in 2006 and SGN was born in 2019, almost 2 decades after my flight landed in New York where I was to start a whole new life. 

‘The struggle was real’ as they say! For the first few years, home sickness, the loss of my entire personal network and support system all played into the feeling of displacement and loneliness I felt it so acutely despite having a very supportive partner in my husband and in laws who made it their mission to help me feel like this was where I belonged. 

Like most transformative work, it had to begin from the inside out. The thing I missed most about Singapore was the incredibly immersive and rich cultural experiences I shared with my childhood friends, neighbors and family. I slowly started introducing my new friends to the taste of South East Asia through food and created traditions during festive celebrations. My in laws would even dress up and eat the spicy food I made even though they’re not fans of the heat from chili.

Mirfie and her relatives

For Singaporeans, multi cultural living is a way of life. It’s so much a part of who we are; so organically infused into all the things we do that we don’t even truly recognize this until we’ve been uprooted and planted in another country. The events of recent years have shown us what a rarity it is to have a love for all fully integrated into your being. I often find myself feeling an immense sense of gratitude for having been fortunate enough to have this appreciation, respect and love for other cultures nurtured into me since birth. Here, most conversations around diversity and inclusion are often led, publicized, talked about and championed by big corporations and politics. While this is most certainly necessary, my childhood experiences clearly demonstrated a critical differentiator – the constant presence, education and nurturing of this love for diversity at home. In hindsight, it is no surprise that my passion was centered around this.

Fast forward to 2020 after building a successful career in Corporate America, I found myself launching ‘Love, The Chans’ a social enterprise focused on helping others find simple solutions to normalize the presence of diversity at home. Knowing we are all so busy, I wanted to make sure we were not adding to the already full schedules but rather integrating joyful experiences and activities in the things we already do daily – what we see and hear, what we eat and what we wear. 

Having met several chefs on my travels, I now share these beautiful humans and their family recipes with our community on our social media page as well as our blog. For those looking to add culture into their home and wardrobe, we offer heritage rich pieces lovingly made from fabrics by artisans in Indonesia and India. The dream is to build a community of global citizens who are champions and lovers of world culture while creating even more opportunities for the artisan communities around the world. They are the heritage keepers whose trade and talent are increasingly at risk. In the spirit of global citizenship, a portion of our proceeds goes back to communities at risk locally in the United States as well as globally.

Today, I feel so much gratitude and confidence in where I am rooted. I’ve come to realize that is possible to love all – even countries – with equal passion. This is why both the Lion City and the Big Apple are my home.


Join us and meet others like Mirfie.

Be a part of our network and gain access to networking events, jobs, and opportunities to meet other like-minded professional from all corners of the world.


About Mirfie

Mirfie Chan is the founder of Love, the Chans, a social impact-based artisanal textile brand. Born and raised on the beautiful tropical island of Singapore, love led her to a magical winter wonderland in New York City. An unexpected plot twist in the love story and she found herself moving to NYC permanently. Her heart refuses to choose so she call both these amazing cities home!

You can read Mirfie’s blog and purchase these beautiful artisanal products on their website. She can also be found on Instagram.



Don’t stop here, check out these other great reads…

How These Fresh Grads Built an Edtech for Rural Communities
Edwin Ho and Deevak Premdas persevered through a series of failed startups …
More Than a Buzzword: The True Meaning of Mental Health
Mollie Jean de Dieu, the founder of Emotional Inclusion, explains how companies …
Why you should join the tech industry in Southeast Asia
With demand for talent far outstripping supply, tech companies in Southeast Asia …
How “Regulated DeFi” Will Ensure Financial Inclusion
Access to high quality investment products (like listed securities or private equity …
Fighting Food Waste One Crust at a Time
Meet Travin Singh, the Singaporean who founded Crust Group to upcycle surplus …
Connecting the Little Red Dots: Singapore’s Emerging Blueprint for Future-Proof Food
Ryan Huling from The Good Food Institute Asia Pacific elaborates how Singapore …
5Qs with Jane Shi, Character Designer and Illustrator
Our 5Qs series is a chance for the SGN members to know …
A Singaporean Chef’s Recipe for Success
With a spoonful of drive, a dollop of hard work, a splash …
Why international tech startup Parcel Perform chose Singapore to raise funds and grow its business
Singapore is a vibrant location for tech start-ups looking for funding, but …
Entering a New Era of Space Exploration in Singapore
George-Cristian Potrivitu, co-founder of Aliena, discusses the exciting future of Singapore’s space …
How This Restaurateur Launched 3 Concepts amid a Pandemic
Gibran Baydoun recounts his move from New York to Singapore at 27 …
How a whirlwind tech career took him to San Francisco, Shanghai and back to Singapore
Meet Jx Lye, a seasoned product manager who has worked at the …