ABOUT

Kaizen Kiwi = Helping Kiwis Change for Good

Kaizen - Change for Good = Continuous Improvement

 

My Story

Kaizen Kiwi Managing Director Sandra Smedhall

Originally from Sweden, I ended up living in Asia sort of "by accident". A six month exchange program in Singapore studying International Business and Finance on MBA level as part of my Masters, led to an internship with a french bank in Hong Kong. Originally only meant to last for 6 months, I ended up staying in "The Fragrant Harbour" (which is what Hong Kong means in Cantonese) for 12 years. I left finance during the GFC after having done Equity Derivatives Sales for Hedge Funds, been a stock trader and a bond broker, and started a company in online marketing and media. I had no real practical experience, but my degree in International Business & Marketing and lots of drive! 

Quickly my company, Style by Asia, a blogging platform focused on art, design, fashion and architecture, became a force to be reckoned with in a city that never sleeps. In addition to our group of bloggers, the company itself (meaning me) started doing marketing and social media projects for SME's, collaborating with most of the big PR firms and marketing agencies, art fairs, design showcases and fashion events in the city.

In the wider Asia region, the company also collaborated with, participated in, and wrote articles about events such as Successful Design in Shanghai, China and Taipei World Design Capital in Taiwan. We were media partners to most of the big art fairs in Hong Kong and I travelled extensively in the region, participating in talks, emceeing at, and attending events in Singapore, Vietnam and mainland China, just to name a few. 

We also helped local fashion companies with online campaigns, social media strategy and exposure, product placement and general networking.

 

Some of our notable partners included:

Armani - Holding monthly events at the exclusive Armani / Privé restaurant in the Landmark in Hong Kong, with panel discussions on creative topics, aimed at bringing together and supporting the creative industries in Hong Kong.

Design Hotels - Content Collaboration (reviewing hotels on our travels), staying in some of the best luxury and boutique hotels in Asia, reviewing and writing about them.

Richemont Asia - With a group of distinguished leaders from Google, UBS and WealthX among others, I was invited to speak on a panel, discussing the future of retail, for senior marketing executives across the Richemont Asia group for their yearly company conference in Hong Kong.

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) - This esteemed organisation was selling our products that launched under our own sustainable label, Panboo once we rebranded the site into a more environmentally focused one.

The Scottish Government - Hired us to work on their project of bringing homegrown design talents to Hong Kong and Asia when they did a showcase.

Art Central, Affordable Art Fair & Asia Contemporary Art Show - Style by Asia was a media partner several years in a row.

Shanghai Tang - Asian Luxury Fashion Retailer which we had content collaborations with. We also organised an event at their gorgeous landmark mansion and adjacent restaurant in Central Hong Kong for our bloggers.

 

Additionally, we would regularly hold talks, presentations and host panel discussions on everything from creativity to online retail, and to Sustainable Design. In addition I spoke to and in front of many audiences, holding presentations and seminars, including at the Retail Asia Expo in Hong Kong.

Our focus with Style by Asia was always local brands and businesses across the region, and when we later on added an online shopping element to our website, we worked with a handful of New Zealand businesses, giving these companies an opportunity to export their goods abroad. While the original website was built on a Wordpress platform, when we added online shopping, we moved it over to Shopify. Having built and maintained my own sites on these platforms, I have acquired extensive knowledge about both, and I since have built and maintained other sites on both these platforms, plus others on Wix and Squarespace. I am now also a Shopify Partner.

 

Writing and content creation is something I enjoy, and in addition to the vast amount of content produced for my own site, I have also contributed articles to CNN.com. Should you feel so inclined, you can read my articles through these links:

CNN Style: Napier - How a devastating earthquake gave way to this modern-day Art Deco wonderland 

CNN Travel: Rotorua - The Adventure Capital of New Zealand's North Island

 

Finally, after 12 years in Asia, in mid-2018 I moved with my Kiwi partner (now husband) to Auckland, New Zealand.
Since 2019, through my company Kaizen Kiwi, I have been coaching and guiding companies here, assisting them with Business Strategy & Development, all things websites & SEO, Marketing and Social Media strategy and execution. I am also a Business Coach and a Business Mentor through Business Mentors New Zealand.

In May 2021, I completed the Institute of Directors Governance Course, with the aim of going on the journey of board work in Aotearoa and beyond. As an added bonus, I can now also add governance advise to the services Kaizen Kiwi offers. I passed the Chartered Exam in July 2021.

My curvy path through corporate business has taught me many valuable skills and given me invaluable experiences. I am very well travelled (having visited 55+ countries to date) and I have had the opportunity to conduct business in most Asian countries, appreciating the differences in culture across the region, and what that translates to in a business context, to conduct successful business transactions. I have an entrepreneurial mindset and a knack for spotting new business opportunities, thinking 'outside the box' and always giving it my all.

Continuous Improvement is my mantra

 

I pride myself in a job well executed and I never back down from a challenge. I always deliver on time.

The partners I now work with to execute larger projects for my clients display the same work ethic as myself, and when I recommend or bring someone external in for a job, you can trust that they will be professional and always have you and your company's best interest at heart.

Giving back to the community has always been important to me. In Hong Kong I volunteered with the fantastic charity Room to Read for many years, and here in New Zealand I am a Business Mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand, and conduct pro bono work for clients through this network.

I continue to write, mainly through the articles on this website, where I offer help and tips about everything business related. Have a browse through the articles here.

I am also in the process of writing my second book. This one is a Murder Mystery set in New Zealand wine country - full of great wines, beautiful scenery...and a little bit of good ol' fashion murder. Get in touch if you want to know more about it!

 

To see my full background, please visit my LinkedIn Profile

Browse the Services we offer in the section Services
Read more about my personal story in this blog post

 

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