Markus Steger and Eurofragance
Passion, Performance and Entrepreneurship
Markus Steger holds two roles at Eurofragance, one as the General Manager for the Asia Pacific region, the other as Corporate Head of Development managing the global creative and innovations process for the company.
Eurofragance, based in Barcelona, specialises in the design and production of fragrances for perfumery, cosmetics, personal care and home care products. Furthermore, it is also one of the founder members of the Spanish-Singaporean Chamber of Commerce.
1. Hello Markus, could you please introduce yourself?
I guess you could describe me firstly as a person driven by a passion for our wonderful and very unique industry. Perfumery is probably one of the really few industries where true creativity, business purpose, and service live side by side. Having been in this world of smells for over twenty five years now, I am still as amazed by what we do as the day I joined. I simply don’t see the time go by as every day is different.
I am also fortunate to be working with a group of very like-minded people in an amazingly entrepreneurial company. We like to say we are the ‘hyperactives’ of our industry and I have to say its great working with a group that likes to say ‘yes, and how’ to every question. The company spirit and culture is really due to vision of our founder Mr Santiago Sabates and we all share his passion, with no challenge too big, and I love it.
In addition to my work I also have a very strong interest in both environmental change and recycling, where I support a great local NGO called Soap Cycling Singapore. Soap Cycling is about re-using and providing reprocessed soap for less privileged local and regional communities. During the recent lockdowns for example we have been supplying soap bars to worker dormitories and other communities to help prevent the spread of the virus. Soap Cycling is run mainly by committed local volunteers and it’s a testament to them and their passion for helping society that I love.
On the personal side I am married with two lovely daughters. My wife and I met in London at work and like me she has a foot in two cultures being both British and Swiss, though we are both learning Spanish!
2. When did you arrive in Singapore and what brought you here?
This is our second sejour in Singapore and both times it was work that brought us here. We originally arrived in 2004 with a one year old and our second daughter was then born here in 2005. We then left for Shanghai for four years before returning again to Singapore in 2012. We are big fans of the Lion City and have really put down roots here.
3. Could you share with us how has Eurofragance evolved since you started in it, 5 years ago?
Its’ been an amazing journey, actually right from day one as I was hired by the family to join what they called the ‘project’. This was and continues to be, to make our company one of the mid-tier leaders in our industry. To do this starting in 2014 a new management team was brought in to develop and expand all aspects of this already very successful company. Since then we have doubled in size and opened up many new countries through direct participation or partnerships, most recently India and China.
4. “More than twenty years of experience managing complex business environments”… What is your point of view in regards to making business in Singapore?
Its’ simply a great place to do business. For our industry in particular Singapore is the hub for Asia, so not only is it easier to find specialists here, but the infrastructure is very supportive in terms of other aspects such as sourcing raw materials and logistics. They know how it works and are super supportive. You also have a very open and simple base in terms of the setup and other certification processes.
5. How could our readers know a bit more about Eurofragance?
Its’ our 30th anniversary this year, and although we are a young company we are a very ambitious one! Our mission is to deliver the very best quality perfume solutions to our clients and customers. We pride ourselves on having very high standards and deliver consistently, as the saying goes ‘it takes years to build strong relationships but only seconds to destroy them’ paying attention to the detail is what we do. To help us in the mission we have launched a series of new initiaties looking at key topics such as digital transformation, sustainability and evolving our teams and their environment. You can find out more about us and our mission on both LinkedIn and our website Eurofragance.com.
6. Would you like to give a piece of advice to someone willing to set up a business in this country?
Don’t assume this is where you want to come, take a look and compare other options. Before we decided to build our factory in Singapore we looked around at other options and finally for us at least it was clear Singapore was by far the best option, but it may not be for you. Find contact and talk to everyone as you will always learn things. Asia is a great place for business as I find that people and even potential competitors are very open to sharing experiences. Before I built our factory I was invited to see the operations of other companies and meet the people who built them, this helped a lot with avoiding potential pitfalls and making sure we delivered our project on time and budget.
7. How did you Eurofragance cope with the recent pandemic globally.
The company has always placed people first, and so when the situation became very serious in March, we immediately put in place team restrictions and set up work groups with an aim of workplace distancing. We developed the model first here in Asia as this is where the impact was first felt, but then applied the same to all our global operations, all of which continued to operate and support our partners and clients throughout the lock downs.
It’s been a very chastening experience as it exposed so many of our teams to living and dealing with potential danger and illness, but I am proud also that through our actions we had no serious direct impact. In a way it’s also brought us even closer together and shown us the power of team work and decision making in support of our people.
8. And last, What is your favourite place in Singapore?
If I had to choose one place it would have to be the Botanical Gardens in the centre of town. We live very close by, and so I am in the Gardens almost every day come rain or shine. It has a wonderful history and there are some magnificent trees and walks, something so rare in the centre of such a big and busy city.
Thank you for your time Markus!
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