What's in...Dan Luo's Lego collection

SINGAPORE - Lego fans might be wondering about the new restrictions imposed by online retailer Amazon on shipping these toys here, but do not ask the new Singapore head of Lego about any of them, as those restrictions were not her team's doing.

"We didn't do that," explained Ms Luo, 46, who was appointed country manager of Lego Singapore late last year.

The restrictions, she surmised, might be a move by Amazon. Her role is to grow the brand, she said.

Last November, the company opened the first Lego Certified Store here at Suntec City Tower 3.

Although designed and stocked like one of the many official Lego Stores around the world, a Lego Certified Store is operated by a third party. In this case, it is managed and operated by local Lego retailer Bricks World.

In a Lego Certified Store, fans can expect to see exclusive Lego sets such as those found in Lego stores across Europe and in the United States.

Ms Luo, who has two children, is the first to admit that her family is more excited about her job than she is, as they are looking to her to be their Lego supplier more than anything else.

"Especially my younger one. He expects me to bring home a box of Lego every day," she said.

Having grown up without much knowledge of Lego, she was first exposed to the toys when her elder son, who is now 11, got them as birthday gifts. The biggest set he ever received was a Lego castle from his uncle. He and his brother still play with the set today.

Her husband, who is an architecture fan, introduced her to the Lego Architecture range, which recreates landmark buildings in Lego structures.

"I have no say over what buildings are chosen but, personally, I want a Great Wall of China set. With China growing so strong, it can be relevant to many people," she said.

Born in China, Ms Luo studied computer programming at university in Shenzhen. Her skills took her to Thailand in 1991, where she stayed for seven years performing operational roles in a company that made baby prams and strollers.

She then worked in the area of supply chain management with US toy company Mattel for a year in Thailand, before going to Switzerland in 1999. After getting her MBA at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, she went to Pittsburgh, US, to work for Heinz, the food-processing company, as general manager of business improvement and analysis, then moved within the company to Australia.

It was there that she married her husband, a Frenchman, and had their first son. Since 2003, the family has lived in Singapore. Their second boy is now five.

Ms Luo aims to lower Lego prices here, but high rents make this challenging.

While the first store is a partnership with local Lego retailer Bricks World, she said that "we are also exploring other opportunities" with subsequent stores here.

Do not expect to see an official Lego Store here in the near future, though. Said Ms Luo: "Singapore is not a huge market and in this part of the world, we want to work with partners to deliver the experience."

This article was first published on Feb 04, 2015.
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