Shiseido Travel Retail Gets Future-Ready With New Global Headquarters: Interview

Shiseido Travel Retail marked a major milestone last week with the unveiling of its new global headquarters in Singapore, as it focuses on accelerating growth under Shiseido Group’s Vision 2020 strategy.

As reported, the new office hub – situated in the 235m-tall Frasers Tower within Singapore’s central business district (CBD) – also serves as Shiseido Asia Pacific’s regional headquarters and Shiseido Singapore’s affiliate office. This structure will facilitate “flexible and agile decision-making”, the company said, enabling Shiseido to achieve significant growth through marketing activities attuned to the needs of global travelers and regional consumers.

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, Shiseido Travel Retail President and CEO Philippe Lesné says the new office is “a living and breathing realization of Shiseido’s vision for the future”.

The welcoming reception area of Shiseido Travel Retail's new headquarter in Singapore. Note the minimalist design, open space and floral touches, including the striking installation of camellias and chrysanthemums at the staircase. Courtesy photo

The welcoming reception area of Shiseido Travel Retail’s new headquarter in Singapore. Note the minimalist design, open space and floral touches, including the striking installation of camellias and chrysanthemums at the staircase. Courtesy photo

“The move is part of Shiseido’s Vision 2020 corporate transformation strategy, as the company transitions to a new global management structure that delegates authority and responsibility to regional headquarters around the world. Its state-of-the-art facilities reflect our commitment to growth and innovation, all culminating in an environment that encourages ideation and inspiration,” he says.

For Shiseido Travel Retail – which also has offices in Paris, Miami, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai – the new Singapore hub represents its “strategic home” in the key Asia Pacific region.

“Singapore was chosen for its global status, proximity to our key markets and for its world-class facilities,” says Lesné. “Frasers Tower is located in the heart of Singapore’s CBD, making it a strategic location to connect with our business partners from all over the city and region.”

With the beauty segment in Asia Pacific estimated to reach a market size of US$26 billion by 2021, Shiseido Travel Retail believes its strategic proximity in the region will “empower and guide the team alongside this growth”.

Fostering a ‘One Shiseido’ mindset with innovative facilities 

Following the success of the first phase (2015–2017) of its Vision 2020 strategy, Shiseido Group unveiled a new three-year plan for the second phase, starting in 2018.

“The new three-year plan (2018–2020) will focus on implementing new strategies to accelerate growth and to guide us towards becoming one of the top three companies in the global prestige cosmetics market. We aim to achieve this through digital acceleration and synergizing new technologies with brands that have joined the Shiseido family,” says Lesné.

Talent development is one of the top priorities under the plan, and Shiseido Travel Retail is actively investing in its employees, as well as its brands, beauty innovation and business activities that “positively and sustainably impact society”.

“Our people are the foundation of the Shiseido Group and our new workspace is one way of articulating our ‘People First’ strategy,” says Lesné. “We are committed to investing in our people and by creating an inspirational environment, we aim to lift the energy and mood of our team. We have also designed the space to be a conducive environment for ideation and collaboration and, as part of the Group’s mission, to deliver and inspire a life of beauty and culture.”

To this aim, three new facilities have been introduced in the Singapore hub: the Asia Learning Centre, Asia Pacific Innovation Centre and Shiseido Life Quality Beauty Centre.

Shiseido Life Quality Beauty Centre’s specially trained beauty consultants will teach consumers how to apply Shiseido’s Perfect Cover Foundation. Courtesy photo

Shiseido Life Quality Beauty Centre’s specially trained beauty consultants will teach consumers how to apply Shiseido’s Perfect Cover Foundation. Courtesy photo

The Asia Learning Centre (ALC) – Shiseido Group’s new Centre of Excellence for learning in Asia – is a first-of-its-kind training facility for the company. Its programmes, which run from several weeks to months, are designed to help employees develop leadership, function-specific and innovation skills.

Besides providing a platform for learning, the ALC also serves as a hub for Shiseido’s employees to network: a welcoming space for knowledge and interaction. Catering to different learning approaches, it includes an auditorium with moveable furniture; spaces for presentations, projects, and discussions; as well as quiet reading and working areas.

The ALC aims to train 2,000 employees from Asia Pacific, Travel Retail, Japan and China annually. Additional centers are set to open in other regions.

The Asia Pacific Innovation Centre (APIC) was established to drive “open-source innovation”. It conducts consumer research and product & packaging research to create localized products that are tailored to the diverse markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Consumer focus groups are held in the APIC Beauty Lab, which has a one-way mirror that allows researchers to observe how Asia Pacific consumers interact with products. State-of-the-art skin measurement and visualization technology are also used here to study consumers’ skin conditions.

The APIC is one of Shiseido Group’s five innovation centers globally, with others in Japan, China, USA, and France. It is said to be the only innovation center to be housed in the same building as the marketing team, facilitating cross-functional collaboration.

As part of Shiseido Group’s Vision 2020 plan to boost its research & development (R&D) capabilities, the APIC aims to more than double its headcount by 2021.

The Life Quality Beauty Centre (LQBC) was created to help consumers with serious skin concerns – ranging from port-wine stains, birthmarks, scars, vitiligo and side effects of cancer treatment – to achieve better life quality using the power of makeup. This effort dates back to 1956, when Shiseido created its Spots Cover range to help those with burn scars following the war.

The LQBC offers complimentary, appointment-only consultations to consumers, who are taught how to apply Shiseido’s Perfect Cover foundation, a dedicated range of sweat- and water-proof makeup. Consultation rooms are designed for comfort and privacy, and beauty consultants receive specialized training so they can better understand and address consumers’ concerns.

Singapore is said to be the first country in Southeast Asia and the fifth country globally to launch the LQBC, which officially opens to the public in the second quarter of 2019. In the pipeline are plans for outreach programmes and partnership initiatives with medical institutes and healthcare associations.

“Our ‘One Shiseido’ ideology is fostered in this environment which enables easy sharing of ideas and insights. With all teams equipped with the right resources and technology, we are able to respond faster to changing market trends and consumer demands, thus promoting growth and profitability,” says Lesné.

Strength in collaboration and diversity

Spanning 5,476sq m over four storeys, the new office features a clean, minimalistic aesthetic that stays true to Shiseido’s Japanese heritage, with touches of modernity and Japanese beauty throughout the space, says Lesné.

“Furthermore, one of our core values is omotenashi – the Japanese art of hospitality – and that has been ingrained in the office design. The aim was to create an environment that inspires creativity, collaboration, empowers our people and represents our background and values,” he adds.

The reception area, for example, with its open spaces, unobstructed views and natural lighting, has a welcoming vibe. Japanese bonsai plants sit alongside blossoming orchids, Singapore’s national flower, which complement the artistic installation of camellias (Shiseido’s logo) and chrysanthemums (a symbol of longevity and rejuvenation) representing an ever-blooming Shiseido.

Promoting diversity and women’s advancement is another key priority as the company focuses on developing its people. “We actively promote gender equality as part of our management strategies in order to establish an organizational culture that nurtures employees’ talents and improves results. We have intensively progressed our company culture, where diversity is now a strength of our workforce,” says Lesné.

The combined workforce of Shiseido Travel Retail and Shiseido Asia Pacific currently numbers around 250, comprising 17 different nationalities. An additional 130 employees is expected to be hired by the year 2020.

“Diversity is one of the core values of the Shiseido Group, and at Shiseido Travel Retail we respect the character and individuality of everyone in the workplace, striving to develop and grow together. We see our diversity as one of our biggest assets, and harness this to nurture fresh and innovative thinking,” adds Lesné.

Besides being able to tap into different perspectives, the proximity of Shiseido Asia Pacific also facilitates cooperation: “Shiseido Travel Retail and Shiseido Asia Pacific work closely to share consumer market insights, to create products and activations that are appealing to the target consumer and deliver greater success to the company. With both teams housed under the one roof, I foresee even greater collaboration between us.”

Shiseido has been at the forefront of the Japanese beauty wave as it undergoes a brand transformation; pictured here is the Ultimune pre-launch activation at Changi Airport. Courtesy photo

Shiseido has been at the forefront of the Japanese beauty wave as it undergoes a brand transformation; pictured here is the Ultimune pre-launch activation at Changi Airport. Courtesy photo

2018 performance 

The new office opening comes on the heels of an “excellent year” for Shiseido Travel Retail, with strong performances from its core brands contributing to growth in 2018.

Shiseido is leading the Japanese beauty wave, according to Lesné. The brand was enhanced last year with the launch of the revitalized Shiseido makeup range and the reformulated bestseller, Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate.

“With Clé de Peau Beauté, we have been using personalization, high-end experiences and exceptional service standards to engage and attract customers, resulting in the brand becoming the preferred luxury cosmetics brand among Chinese women,” says Lesné.

NARS has been “leading the charge in makeup and some of travel retail’s most eye-catching activations”, he adds. The latter includes the NARS Lip Gallery with King Power in Bangkok, which was followed by a second roll-out of the activation with DFS at Hysan Place in Hong Kong.

“Dolce&Gabbana has been connecting with consumers through engaging outposts that showcase the brand in innovative and eye-catching ways, including personalization features like engraving services,” he says.

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Underlining partnership in 2019

Lesné believes that the new office will set a firm foundation for growth in the year ahead.

“The outlook for Shiseido Travel Retail in 2019 is an exciting and ambitious one,” he says. “It will be a year of pushing boundaries and setting new standards for innovation in travel retail – both on the product and activation level. Thus, it was imperative that we provide an environment that inspires new ways of thinking, while simultaneously building the capabilities of our people and creating fantastic offerings for our travelers, retailers, and partners.

“Looking into the future, this new office marks a milestone as we move towards Vision 2020 and our ongoing achievements. We look forward to more collaborations with our partners, in the form of cutting-edge outposts and rolling out new concepts in the industry, as well as the continued growth of Japanese beauty. We are also very excited to unveil ‘S E N S E’, a multi-sensorial art installation created in a Shiseido-led collaboration with Jewel Changi Airport and teamLab.”

“2018 has been a year of milestones, exciting partnerships and captivating product launches. Our growth and successes would not have been so without the trust, collaboration and hard work of our team and our partners. Let us continue to make 2019 another exciting and successful year for Shiseido Travel Retail, as we work towards our goals of Vision 2020.”


This post originally appeared on The Moodie Davitt Report, our content partner site. 


Beauty, Market Analysis