Pang Siong Wee, Luke
Pang Siong Wee, Luke graduated in 2009 and is the Visual Merchandising Manager, Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty Asia Pacific

When did you discover your passion for the field you work in?
It was the moment when I unwrapped the prototype for my first-ever launch unit, when I first joined Estée Lauder back in 2009. I did a holiday unit for China and for the very first time I experienced working with multiple materials. We took time to get the design right and it was magical seeing the design come to life.
As the Visual Merchandising Manager at Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty, what do you do?
I work with the team to come up with off-site and on-counter event execution and recommendations, as well as merchandising solutions and guidelines for Asia Pacific programmes and initiatives. These cater to our multi-category axis launches (skincare, makeup, fragrance, luxury).
What is a day at work like for you?
I spend a good amount of time speaking to the designers on design creation and development. The rest of the time I focus on communication across the global brand, regional, affiliates and vendors.
How did you get into this profession?
We had a Store of the Future studio back in DID when I was in Year 4. It was in collaboration with Estée Lauder and this kickstarted my exposure to the brand. After the studio, my ex-boss kept in contact with some of the groups he worked with for the project and roped us in shortly after graduation for an internship. There are three from my graduating cohort currently working here; Dominic Poon, Mak Mun Yin, and more from other batches.
You started off as a visual merchandising designer at Estée Lauder; from school to the working environment, how was the jump for you? Was it a steep learning curve?
The transition to wo rk life was definitely challenging, but I was very fortunate to have many mentors who guided and enabled me with multiple opportunities. Participating in Store of the Future helped provide us with background information as well as paved future work relationships with my then boss.
Were the skills learnt in DID applicable to your job?
The hard skills (creative thinking, sketching, semantics, 3D visualisation, illustration) definitely enabled me to pick things up at work much faster. These allowed me to communicate my ideas and understand production processes at an accelerated pace.
You have been in Estée Lauder for six years now, what keeps you staying?
The brand is constantly evolving and that brings new challenges every year. I am also very lucky to be working with the best people in the industry on a daily basis!
Looking back, what was DID to you in one word?
Mind-opening. We were exposed to many aspects of industrial design and had the opportunity to have studio with brands that created depth for the modules.
What to you was the best part about being in DID?
Studios—absolute nightmares yet incredibly enriching.
Since leaving DID, what has been the most engaging project you’ve worked on?
Design Inventions & Innovations was something back in DID that I often looked back on as it allowed me to see in-depth the cycle of design innovation through lots of groundwork. I go back to this cycle daily and think about how I can look at a design request from a different perspective. Out of school, we had a recent store opening in Malaysia’s Sunway Pyramid that had us collaborating with multi-functions (marketing, digital, education, special events) to create a new store experience targeting millennials.
What would you say is a character trait needed to be successful in a company like Estée Lauder?
Change agility. The ability to adapt to change constantly is required in today’s work, given the rapid change of the world environment.
If you’re not already in your dream job, what would it be?
I read somewhere that your dream job is one that you love on some days, can tolerate on most days, and yet still pays the bills. I count myself incredibly lucky that some of my days at work are absolute gold.