Who are you?
Name: Lisette Scheers
Occupation: Creative director, La Scheers Co
Time in Malaysia: 7 years
Her nomadic upbringing
I was born in Singapore in 1970 to Dutch expatriate parents. We moved to Malaysia when I was two years old, lived in KL for about six years and then moved to Hong Kong for three and the Netherlands for three, after which the family moved back to KL. I went to Alice SmithmSchool and graduated from ISKL in 1988.
After graduation, I went to study in Antwerp. I then moved to Brussels. After eight years there, I moved to Amsterdam where I worked for McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather. My last position was creative director at O&M Amsterdam and that’s where I actually started my company La Scheers Co.
The itch to move back to Malaysia always remained, as I had been going back twice a year to visit friends and family. In 2004, one year after the birth of my daughter, we moved to KL where I set up the Visual Communication Department and taught at Raffles Design Institute and La Scheers Co was dormant. In 2006, I revived La Scheers Co to become Southeast Asia’s most creative agency.
La Scheers Co’s early days
I started La Scheers Co with a party, where I invited more or less every one I knew and that proved to pay off as a direct result of the party was getting two new clients. The company back then was only me. Soon, I hired a designer, Jayde, and the night before she started, a Dutch friend who had set up a company in Malaysia offered two desks in her office to me.
Then another three people came on board; Bani, who still works for the company; John, an old student from the Raffles days; and my husband, who joined to take care of financial and administrative matters.
There were times when there wasn’t much work as no one knew about us apart from friends. In these quiet times I started Nala, our stationary brand (www.naladesigns.com).
What makes Malaysia such a great place for business
The great thing about Malaysia is that if you have an idea you can realise it relatively easy without big investments and Malaysian friends are always willing to help you develop your business ambitions.
Doing business as an expatriate woman
I never ever felt less as a woman. Malaysians are, in that sense, very open-minded. Business is business no matter what the gender is.
As a designer though, it’s different. Design itself is a very under-appreciated profession and many clients tend to treat you no differently than any of their other suppliers. So, whether you are making a business card or delivering a cement bag, there’s not much difference.
Blending the East and West and making the world beautiful
Overall, to be successful, you have to be Malaysian/Asian. I actually think I look Malaysian, but with a Western set of standards—keeping deadlines, being professional, never compromising and always being passionate and straightforward.
Also, have fun and be sure about your matter always. Don’t sell BS and forever and always stick to our company motto: make the world beautiful.