Perfect Pairs

We know February is the month of romance and coupledom, but we’ve decided to focus on expatriate duos in Kuala Lumpur of a different kind

by / Published: 12 Feb 2015

Perfect Pairs
Words Kelly Johnstone
Photos Delvin Xian/ Image Rom
Art Direction Andre Chan
Hair Angeline Low / Make-up Joey Yap
Yes, it’s February and yes, we know it’s the month of romance and coupledom, but we’ve decided to focus on duos of a different kind. Discover the relationships of our expat pairs and find out how they’ve put their partnerships to good use, sometimes with the odd bump along the way!
Rachael Meckel & Emma Holcroft 
The Hanger
“As a stylist, amongst other things, I sift through the wardrobes of my clients to ensure that what’s in there is something that really suits them in terms of personal colouring and fi gure. Anything that doesn’t is ideally discarded. Rachael and I ended up talking about what’s done with all the clothes that are being gotten rid of. Rachael liked the idea of a clothes swap event.”
After further discussions Emma voiced some concerns about the clothes swap model and whether it would work on a large-scale basis.
So instead of a clothes swap, they decided to launch a regular event that would invite vendors to sell their unwanted clothing, most of which is almost brand new and all of which is extremely good quality, to a select group of invitees in a cosy and intimate location. And so the concept of The Hanger was born.
“Rachael and I are friends, we get along, but we aren’t BFFs. It’s very important to keep a good business head on and to ensure that our work and friendship are kept very separate. I think that’s why it works so well. I have no doubt that it would be very different if we lived in each other’s pockets.”
“We have quite different personalities, which I think is beneficial for the business. Emma is very calm, methodical and commercially-minded whereas I am perhaps more creative when it comes to ways of pulling the event together.”
Keeley Cane & Gary Cane
KL Tigers Rugby Club
Ask a majority of wives what winds them up about their husbands and one of the (many) answers will undoubtedly be related to their obsession with sports, whether it’s watching it, playing it or simply talking about it.
Not Keeley Cane.
Taking more of a ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude to her husband and son’s unwavering passion for rugby, Keeley has gone the extra mile and joined forces with husband Gary to help the development of rugby here in KL by helping to start up the KL Tigers Rugby Club.
“Rugby is a sport that is massively growing in popularity across the world and it’s becoming more and more popular right here in Malaysia. As such, we thought that KL could do with another independent rugby club and so set about making that happen,” Gary tells me.
So how did an entire family become so hooked on such a physical sport?
“Jack, our son, started playing rugby when he was just four years old. I saw how much he enjoyed it and I thought it might be a nice idea for me to take it up too so that we could have a shared interest"
"I took it  up about two months after Jack and, having previously been a footballer, am now a total rugby convert. Then a year later, Keeley felt she was missing out so she thought she’d give it a go too. It was and is Jack’s passion and enthusiasm for rugby that made us think, let’s do this."
“We are both very strong characters. Whatever we talk about, and however heated our discussions may become, we are able to find a positive resolution and our ideas flow naturally from that. Basically, we are both on the same page when it comes to developing rugby. It really is great to work together on something we are both so passionate about,” says Gary.
Stefano Ambrogi &  Fabiana 
Sibling rivalry, heated discussions and constant mickey-taking are all part and parcel of having brothers and sisters. But, no matter how well you get on, how many of us would seriously consider going into business with our closest relatives? Well, that’s exactly what Italian brother and sister Fabiana and Stefano have done.
As Fabiana goes off to get her make-up done for the photographs, Stefano is quick with a put down about how long it will take to have her looking half decent. She responds by saying she expects him to wear some of the jewellery they brought with them for the shoot, even though it’s all aimed at women.
Yes, jewellery. That is what this sibling team do. Stefano designs it and Fabiana is the business mind behind their company OsàreDesign. “Osàre is really Stefano’s baby, he designs all of our pieces.”
“We make a lot of our jewellery from scratch, we carry out all of the necessary processes in our lab in Italy. But we also buy unique elements that we find at jewellery fairs or markets and assemble them ourselves.”
“We are Italian, we are both fiery and neither of us is calm. There are always fireworks, in good and bad situations, it’s the passion! But Stefano is defi nitely the more daring one, while I can be a bit more reserved.”
So had they always thought they might end up working together one day?
“If you had asked me a few years ago whether I would be working alongside my sister I would have said no way!”
To read the full cover story 'Perfect Pairs' grab a copy of our February 2015 issue, KL's Power Pairings, out on selected newsstands and major bookstores!