Walking The Talk – What Fair Trade Looks Like


Candy Lim Soliano

“In this industry, how you treat people is very important because if you don’t treat them right, they will not work with you anymore. Professional trust is something that freelancers in this industry look out for,” says Candy Lim-Soliano, the managing editor of The Fashion Collective Singapore (TFCS).

A freelancer herself, Candy knows first-hand the pain points faced by peers in the fashion and creative industry, especially when it comes to bread and butter issues such as prompt payment. “A hundred dollars may not seem like much, but to a freelancer, it could make the difference between being able to cover the month’s rental,” she shares candidly.

This was one of the reasons that led TFCS to work with NTUC’s Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) to organise the freelancers in its network and give them a stronger voice, especially in fair trading practices. It is what she describes as giving her work a purpose, beyond the day-to-day projects she and her partners take on to earn a living.

Leading By Example

To set an example, Candy does her best to treat the freelancers she collaborates with on projects like photoshoots fairly. “We usually set-up the terms and conditions up front in a service agreement, so we know who copyrights belong to. Payment terms are a very important thing as well, and preferably it is cash on delivery whenever possible.

“Of course, we’ll set out the working hours, and beyond a certain period, consider overtime pay. Welfare, such as either providing them with food or transport, is important. For us, these are very important things to put up front before our freelancers take on a job,” she said.

The Fashion Collective

When asked her thoughts on the recent Fair in Freelancing event organised by NTUC’s Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit, Candy says: “One of the top things are the resources that this trade fair has pulled together, such as the law firms who do contracts… When an organisation like NTUC pulls these people together, you find that you can trust them [the resources] more. The talks on Government procurement procedures also help us better understand the parameters we need to meet. In that way, we can help our freelancers understand more.”

Share this story: