Meet The Queen of Brand Experiences
Join us for a peek inside the inspiring world of Queenie Lo, CEO of the global retail design brand agency extraordinaire UXUS. Creating holistic brand experiences through storytelling and helping others cultivate their talents are Queenie Lo fortés. Based at UXUS’ Amsterdam office, Queenie also oversees the agency’s London and New York locations. The art of storytelling as a mechanism for branding is something we love the concept of, so when we learned of Queenie and her work, we couldn’t wait to learn more and share it in this edition of Empowered Women Empower!
Be Empowered by Queenie Lo, CEO of UXUS
Love Happens: As our name and the tagline of our publisher, KOKET, denotes, at Love Happens, we are firm believers that you cannot achieve any level of success without love. When did you fall in love with helping others create holistic brand experiences?
Queenie Lo: I was introduced to brand experience at my first job at Tommy Hilfiger Headquarters, managing a team responsible for designing showrooms, trade fairs, stores, offices, and events; pretty much everything spatial with the focus on storytelling of the brand and product.
I don’t think the term brand experience was used; it was a full brand immersion for the end user. This could be a buyer from Harrods at our showrooms, a customer shopping at the Paris flagship store, an employee attending a company holiday party, everywhere where we could tell the brand story. I really loved how the impact of space design was enhancing brand perception. I have always been passionate about elevating and evolving the consumer experience. At UXUS, we look at how to express the overall holistic brand expression throughout all branded consumer touchpoints, from digital and physical to services and people. So, it’s all coming together in my day-to-day job.
Lh: Tell us about your journey from fashion school to CEO of UXUS.
Queenie: At the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and London College of Fashion, the courses focused on interdisciplinary and intercultural management caught my attention. I found out that my interest was going more toward Fashion Marketing. Customer Experience goes beyond fashion; it applies to everything. I’ve been fortunate to understand all sides of the business, starting my career as a project manager at UXUS 13 years ago. Then leading various departments of the agency and being part of overseeing UXUS as an independent global boutique agency transition to being part of McCann WorldGroup. These experiences have been the best preparation for my role as CEO today.
Lh: At UXUS, you practice 3 key principles: Immerse, Collaborate, and Build. How important is the first step, Immersion, and how did these become the key principles?
Queenie: It is all in the name; UXUS means literally “You times Us”. We truly believe that the best work is produced collaboratively, internally and externally. So immersion into the brand is how we start. We need to understand what the brand stands for in order to design for it. We work collaboratively with our clients from brief to creation and include them in the design process throughout. The insights our clients bring help us we can understand their obstacles and goals. We spend time understanding the why from the offset for us then to build the best physical project possible.
Be authentic to who you are, live your true values and communicate them holistically.
Lh: How important is the consumer experience for a company? How would you advise companies to build rapport with customers?
Queenie: In our post-pandemic world, customer experience weighs even more heavily on emotional connection. Brands can connect with these consumers through both physical and digital channels to strengthen brand loyalty. The ways to reach your consumer nowadays are endless. Be authentic to who you are, live your true values and communicate them holistically.
Lh: You believe in a holistic business approach. How does working in a team and being interconnected affect a company’s success?
Queenie: We strongly believe in you x us, both internally and externally. We speak about creating a strong emotional connection with a brand, so we start internally. We have a diverse team, with around 15 nationalities, providing insights into different markets. Our multidisciplinary team works together interconnectedly when driving towards a bigger idea and creating the final product.
Lh: You have a bachelor’s in fashion technology and have studied in some of the most famous places around the world. How does this information on fashion technology affect how you run your business? Would you say that this degree has helped you go further in management?
Queenie: A degree in fashion technology provided insight into the industry’s creatives as well as the analytical side of things. But when I speak about myself, I know the value of work experience is unmatched, how to apply theory to practice. I studied in Amsterdam and London, both cities being so multicultural has contributed to the development of highly adaptable interpersonal skills. Also, working with different clients from all around the world, I’ve acquired a skillset highly attuned to the influences of culture in business.
Lh: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Queenie: My family is my greatest achievement, seeing my sons and the little persons they are becoming. Combining motherhood with my career, some days more challenging than others. In the professional sense, becoming CEO was a recognition of a 10+ year journey here at UXUS. I am still ambitious to propel UXUS forward while staying strongly connected to our foundational values.
Lh: What empowers you most?
Queenie: Learning from my team and clients helps me to get better at my job. By Being exposed to different disciplines, different cultures, different people, and different sectors, I found a way to learn the “language” of our creative teams, delivering commercial briefs. I love how these worlds interact with each other. I might sound repetitive, but the multi-disciplinary and multicultural approach in business creates my superpower.
The multi-disciplinary and multicultural approach in business creates my superpower.
Lh: Who is Queenie Lo the Woman? And as the CEO of UXUS?
Queenie: Through the years, the two roles have become almost one and the same. I’d like to think that becoming a mother has enhanced my leadership abilities. I have seen firsthand how an individual’s display of emotionality welcomes others alike. I value how I lead the agency by staying close to myself; values I find important in my personal life, I bring them to work, values I was brought up with, but also values reshaped by my experiences and all the different people I get to work with on a daily basis. And I see it as a great compliment that my past and current colleagues and clients can see much of myself in how I run UXUS.
Lh: What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
Queenie: Insecurity is something that resonates with us all. It is ok to make mistakes; you will learn from them. Enjoy the process and practice patience. It takes time to figure out who you are and where you want to go. It’s not always a mathematical formula. Listen and talk to those around you, listen to their stories and look for role models; it helps when navigating your own path.
Lh: Do you have any mottos you live by?
I tell my kids to enjoy being in the moment, look ahead but enjoy who and where you currently are. I sometimes have to remind myself to follow that advice as well.
Lh: What’s next for Queenie Lo?
Queenie: I love where I am currently. With my platform, I continue carving out space for expanding diverse representation. I am just as tenacious as my younger self, passionate about doing my part to help cultivate others’ talents. The future of UXUS will be shaped by all of us.