Angie Chong has had a fruitful and illustrious career in the premium lifestyle beauty, fashion and fragrance retail industry. Helming various high-end international brands, she successfully led her various teams to achieve rapid growth and expansion even against all odds in periods of economic downturn.
In the early years, Angie carved a solid career out of managing reputable global beauty and fragrance brand, Lancome. These formative years in the beauty and fragrance industry saw one of her most well-told successes – that of the sale of 1,000 units of Lancome’s Tressor fragrance in a day, that set a historic world record.
As Regional CEO of leading luxury and lifestyle fashion and watch retailer F J Benjamin Malaysia and its related group of companies, she lead a team of 600 and spear-headed the growth of international brands which included Gucci, Fendi, Celine, Guess, La Senza, Gap, Banana Republic, Raoul, Girard-Perregaux and Bell & Ross. In her 18 years with the company, she was involved in successfully strategizing and implementing brand building and business development activities.
Recognized as one of Malaysia’s top female corporate leaders by The Edge and Retail Industry, Angie was one of the main driving forces in setting retail best practices in Malaysia. During her tenure with the F J Benjamin group of companies, her business acumen, real estate selection and ability in nurturing talent were key ingredients that contributed to the success of the company’s business operations in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Angie was also CEO Asia Pacific of Crabtree & Evelyn, and did a stint as a Consultant-cum-Managing Director at Miwaki (part of the Luxasia Group) Singapore & Vietnam. She subsequently spent a year in Parkson as Advisor to the Executive Chairman-cum-CEO for Branding & Innovation for Parkson SEA.
Angie has won numerous awards internationally and locally. Among others, Angie has been awarded the Individual Leadership Achievement Award by Limited Brands in 2009. Chosen from a pool of 38 executive leaders globally, this award was in recognition of her exceptional leadership qualities.
Other notable milestones in her career include:
- Keynote speaker in the annual Malaysia Women’s Summit organised by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, speaking on: “She Wins, You Win – Women Supporting Women to Succeed”.
- Secured the distributorship for iconic brands Banana Republic and Gap.
- FJ Benjamin Malaysia awarded Best Campaign Execution by GUESS International for executing a 360 degree campaign on GUESS handbags, which involved all aspects of building brand equity.
- Angie led FJ Benjamin Malaysia to achieve a historical growth of 63% in sales turnover and surpassed RM200 million in sales. This momentous growth placed FJB Malaysia on the world map in business comp growth for Guess and La Senza.
- Featured on the cover of The Edge (Malaysia’s No.1 business weekly) together with 3 other retail industry leaders as the “Driving Force of Luxury.
- FJ Benjamin Malaysia awarded the Exemplary Marketing and Social Media Initiatives Award by La Senza International, having initiated numerous out-of-the box social media marketing campaigns.
- Angie was honoured with Individual Leadership Achievement Award of The Year by Limited Brands in Montreal, Canada.
- Awarded Best Partnership Award of The Year by Guess International during the Global Leadership Conference held in Beijing. This was the first time such an award was given in recognition of the exceptional achievement made by FJB Malaysia.
In Malaysia and the South East Asia region beauty and fashion retail industry, Angie Chong is synonymous with commitment, passion, brand building and business acumen. Her passion and drive for brand-building is indeed a force to reckon with, and is greatly respected by industry players and brand owners.
As the driving force behind the historical growth in FJ Benjamin, what stands out most is her innate ability to translate the ART of fashion into a profitable SCIENCE. Angie has the courage to push the boundaries of both the possible and the impossible. She believes that the first step in building brands and business successfully is to take ownership. Secondly, is to bring talented people together and creating something that will make a significant difference. Angie leads by example, aims to inspire and shares with passion.
“She approaches work and life with her philosophy of walking the extra mile with passion, intensity, integrity, and a clear conscience.” – People at The Peak First Edition, 2005, p. 455.
Angie holds a Master of Business Administration Degree (Part I) from University of Bath, UK and also majored in Marketing from the London Chamber of Commerce, UK. She is married to Dr. Kang Beng Su and has two children aged 22 and 17.
MICHELE KWOKFounding Partner
Michele is the “Entrepreneur Extraordinaire” – driven, dynamic, creative, energetic and with an innate sense of what works and what doesn’t in business, at any given point in time. With her unwavering spirit and sense of purpose, she has navigated her way to the top of the game in the traditionally male world of entrepreneurship.
With her natural flair for turning novel ideas into successful businesses, Michele has, since the age of 20, immersed in a number of successful enterprises – from Business Trends Personnel Consultants Sdn Bhd, a headhunting and recruitment agency; to Noel Hampers & Gifts (M) Sdn Bhd, a franchise for flowers, gifts and hampers to Corporate Collections Sdn Bhd, a company trading in clothes, jewellery and premiums.
She also saw the birth of Sharity Greetings, facilitating expertise and networking to raise much-needed funds through the sale of greeting cards, for local charities such as the Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA), WWF Malaysia, Shelter Home and the Kiwanis Down’s Syndrome Foundation. Since its inception a decade ago, donations have surpassed the RM2 million mark.
With Michele, timing, as they say, is everything. She inevitably engaged in businesses that had their own niche markets at the time, and successfully filled that demand.
But it is in the F&B arena that she eventually found her calling. Pioneering the successful SOULed OUT Kuala Lumpur 19 years ago, this famous café has become a symbol of fun and celebration for an eclectic mix of patrons over the years.
She has in the past two decades opened a number of iconic F&B outlets, including the award-winning 7atenine at Ascott Kuala Lumpur – voted the ‘Best Chill out Bar of the Year for 2007-2008,’ and the ‘Top Ten Hot Concept of the Year 2007-2008’ at the prestigious Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA).
Her Southbridge Jazz@7atenine outlet in Singapore won the ‘Best Casual Dining Restaurant’ from Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2009-2011 Singapore Series and ‘Best Restaurant Bar Award 2010’ from Singapore Tatler.
There is also the Tujo Bar-sserie & Grill Kuala Lumpur, followed by the Hubba Hubba brand outlets opened in 2014 – three new concept dining ventures each with their own particular (and market-focused) offerings. Her forte in the field of building brands is legend, in the local F&B fraternity.
In the course of her entrepreneurial career, Michele’s leadership and business acumen have earned her numerous awards and nominations, including :
- TAG Heuer “Alter Ego Women of Distinction” 2003
- Malaysia Tatler “Most Enterprising Woman” 2001
- Montblanc & Malaysia Tatler “Montblanc Ladies Business Award” 2001
- Gold Award for Good Corporate Citizen, by MCBC Business Excellence Awards, 2006
- Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee, MCBC Business Excellence Awards 2008
- Finance & Commerce Division, The Malaysian Women’s Weekly Great Women of our Time 2010 Nominee
- HAPA Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 Nominee, Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards 2010-2012 Malaysia Series
- 2011 Ernst & Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award Top 5 Finalist
Ever on the look-out for new challenges, Michele is an extremely focused individual on the job at hand, and directs her energy towards taking positive and meaningful steps in all her ventures. A doting mother of two boys, and a recent grandmother, she remains a highly grounded individual, thanks to her inherent family values and ability to view things in perspective.