Qi Xin Gwee
From beauty to The Botanist, Singapore-born Qi Xin Gwee brings his expertise in managing brands in different stages of development to the ever-revolving realm of Global Travel Retail.
In brief, your background?
I spent 10 years in beauty with my journey starting in Singapore: First in sales, before moving to marketing. I learned a lot in managing different brands, as all were in different stages of development, presenting unique opportunities and challenges. Moreover, having the opportunity to live and work in different countries—France, Singapore, and China—means working with different cultures, which is extremely enriching on a professional level.
Delving into spirits?
I felt it was time to look for a new challenge and that I would gain much richer personal expansion by learning new things, particularly in marketing. You see what good marketing can do for brands: either build them or turn them around. There is so much to do in brand management! Before joining Rémy Cointreau, I remember reading about how a whisky distillery on Islay was doing things differently, and thinking, “Wow, that is such a cool brand.” I later found out that Bruichladdich was a part of the Rémy Cointreau Group.
What did you find appealing about working with Rémy Cointreau?
It boils down to the brands, the people and the culture. It’s what I found attractive, and it’s what I still find very attractive. Going through the interview process, I was engaged by the brand stories: the history and the heritage that we have behind them. It’s very powerful and authentic. For someone who has a marketing background, to have the opportunity to work with such a strong portfolio of brands is a privilege and an honor. Moreover, I found the people to be very warm, friendly and welcoming. I believe that part of this stems from the family ownership. The overall culture is very empowering. You’re granted trust and the power to make a difference.
If you had to summarize your role?
To build brands, especially in the retail environment, revolves around creating engaging client experiences and, of course, developing our people and team.
What is the Singapore office like?
When I joined, we were a small team. We have grown, and so has the office, so there is an uplifting spirit. A lot of people have joined the team in the last 12-18 months, so it feels like every one of us is on this journey together. There are various teams in our office: Travel Retail, Southeast Asia and Pacific, and then you have the shared services team: Finance, Supply Chain, HR, IT …
Coolest thing about Singapore?
It’s really dynamic. You feel like change is constant. Every time you visit, something new has been done. Singapore is also home to some of the trendiest bars in the world, and it’s livened up quite a bit over the years. It’s also very efficient. Things get done.
Favorite Duty-Free shop?
It has to be Singapore—it’s my home airport! It has to be! Another interesting one would be Dubai. It’s a massive: multiple terminals, so the selection is immense.
Favorite place to travel?
You can’t go wrong with Japan. What is there not to love about Japan? First and foremost, the Japanese culture is very respectful. Everything they do, including gift wrapping, is so meticulous.
Your favorite places to go out in Singapore?
When I feel like a treat, it would be Shinji, a Japanese restaurant. For something more casual, it would be an Okinawan eatery called Narai-Kanai.
Favorite Rémy Cointreau spirit?
The Botanist and Tonic, hands down. Sometimes, I throw in rinds of citrus: it could be a lime or an herb. I’m a gin and tonic person, but when I moved to a The Botanist and Tonic, I did not look back. I find the flavor to be very unique and well-balanced. The botanicals really stand out. And knowing that these are hand-picked botanicals and that the gin was started by a couple on Islay … it is just amazing!
Please drink responsibly.