Melissa Liu Poulsen is the Country Director of Kvadrat Singapore.

"I’m always amazed when I see our new collections of beautiful designs, and I admire the creative talent of the external designers we work with. I equally enjoy collaborating with our many clients who inspire me with their ideas and passion for design."

Q: How did you get started at Kvadrat?                       

In 2011, when our Asia VP, Jorgen Hansen, came to me with the mission of opening the office in Singapore, it was clear to me that I should join and support Kvadrat’s new journey in Asia. With my Taiwanese-Danish background, I saw the perfect opportunity to make use of my language skills, as I'm fluent in mandarin, and the familiarity I have with Asian cultures.

Co-establishing our Singapore office and building a new market from scratch is one of my biggest accomplishments. In 2011, our Singapore subsidiary was established, and I was the first employee to be hired. The beginning was bare-bones and humble. Working from home and cold-calling studios to arrange meetings was exciting.

The following year Christina joined and together we built a successful network and business in no time. Today our showroom is in one of the most beautiful areas of Singapore. We are the preferred textile brand in contract business, with the ambition of becoming the powerhouse for Kvadrat Acoustics in Asia. This successful journey would not be possible without the support of the entire team. 

Q: How are you able to fulfil your potential at Kvadrat? 

Fulfilling my potential would not be possible without a close collaboration with my team. In Asia, our industry is characterized by a fast-paced work environment and the nature of our contract projects change daily. To stay competitive, our clients need prompt and swift responsiveness. As a result, close communication within the team is essential.

As I handle accounts across our three segments, focus is vital in my daily work. From Singapore we cover projects in South East Asia as well as India. To best serve our overseas clients, the markets have been split between our sales manager, Christina Lee, and myself. This allocation enables us to deep dive into the dynamics of each market and build a winning network that secures projects.

Thanks to my colleagues, I have a forum to share ideas and challenges. They have ample managerial experience, and I find their opinions insightful and incredibly inspiring.

Q: What inspires you in your work?

I’m always amazed when I see our new collections of beautiful designs, and I admire the creative talent of the external designers we work with. I equally enjoy collaborating with our many clients who inspire me with their ideas and passion for design. Moreover, I enjoy working on projects where I experience synergy in internal and external team collaboration. Especially on difficult projects where we support each other through close communication and sharing of knowledge.

Q: How does Kvadrat approach diversity and inclusion?

As a sales company in a design industry, diversity is one of the key drivers for success. Our differences are our strengths, and they spark innovation and creativity. I believe that a diverse workforce will question the status quo, while a homogenous workforce will succumb to stagnation and predictability. Our varied backgrounds allow us to view the same topic from contrasting angles and thus we achieve a broader range of ideas that enable us to flourish as a business.

Our sustainability report tracks our progress and where we are heading. It’s a very positive sign when our management is gender diverse and varied in nationality.  It signals that everyone can climb the career ladder, and it’s not linked to one’s nationality, gender, race, class or age. It’s all about one’s attitude and skill set.

Regarding inclusion, Kvadrat has implemented many exciting concepts to build the collective spirit, such as the RUM or A&E Space concepts. The concept is to have small online communities for managers and sales to share knowledge and experience. The goals are to strengthen the bonds between us and provide a sense of belonging despite geographical dispersion.