Dee Poon | Chief Brand Officer at PYE

Dee Poon is the creative force behind the bespoke men’s shirt brand PYE, creating the men’s equivalent to the little black dress: the perfectly tailored crisp white dress shirt.
A frequent presence on best-dressed lists in Asia and around the world, Poon is Hong Kong fashion royalty, the daughter of Dickson Poon, the owner of luxury retailer Harvey Nichols, and Marjorie Yang, the chairperson at Esquel.


Dee-Poon_P3My Highlights | I am proud of the fact that as I look back on my life, I can see that I am becoming a better person and in a growth process.  I see life really as a journey, and I don’t know if I can pinpoint any particular moments that are of extreme significance.  This may also because I have a habit of celebrating small successes – I remember how good I used to feel when I finished certain essays in college more than I remember the day I graduated!  I am glad that as I grow older, I can start to take care of the people around me, and to contribute rather than take.  I hope to grow strong, and that would be something I would be proud of.


A Key Talent | Something I think that has been helpful in getting me to where I am today is the fact that I also love to get excited – and getting excited gets me moving and engaged.  Where I am going with this is to say that I did, and continue to do, a lot of things.  I probably have too many things on my plate actually, and I will slowly try to manage them down to fewer so that I can have a deeper impact on the areas that I care the most about.  But it was through going out and participating that I learned.  I learned about the world, and I learned about how things get done.  Often times things are much more straightforward than they seem – although that is not to say that they are easy! And the more things you do, the more you will realize that you are capable of doing things.  And the more capable you believe yourself to be; the more capable you will allow yourself to be.  And so I would say that first, be curious.  When you are curious, you will find things that interest you.  When you find things that interested you, you will get involved.  It is really important to go out and do things.  The more you do the more experience you will have.  You will meet interesting people.  And you will learn about yourself, and what you are good at as well as what you are interested in.  And people will respect you for being willing to work and to help.  I think being willing to engage and offer my time gave me a lot of opportunities to establish myself. I think it is important to take on leadership roles – and often these came to me because nobody else wanted them!  But it was because I was willing to go out and just do things, and to be engaged first with ideas and issues, and then with solutions, many of which were just things that I saw needed to be done, and then stepped up to do.  So I would say that something that I did that anyone can do is to just be open to the world, and to look to be open to ideas and opportunities, and then jump in.


Principles I Live By | I think that it is very important to recognize one’s humanity.  If you can recognize your own humanity, then you will be able to see its the same humanity in others.  This is the first step towards being able to connect.  And, when we recognize that we are all the same, then we will never do anything that will hurt others – at least not intentionally! – and rather hope and allow for the best for them as we do for ourselves.  I am very lucky to have been given so many opportunities, and so much love and attention.  I have been lucky to have had so many friends and mentors who have spent time with me to help me grow. So I try to remember how fortunate I am, and to try to share as much as I can with people around me in the same way that much has been shared with me.  I also hope to add something positive in each thing that I am near, so that big or small, I can add to the collective growth or betterment of the world.  I think that we often forget how each thing we do has an impact – even if it’s something very small, like smiling to someone if you happen to catch their eye in the street.  But in everything we do, we influence something.  And if we can all be working towards things that will lead towards betterment, then we will leave the world in a better place than we found it.


Dee-Poon_P2The Characteristics Of Success | I spend time working on self-awareness, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, and find peace and comfort in an unstable or uncertain environment.  I think that these are all very necessary skills for me as they allow me to work through the challenges that I bring to the table – where I might “get in my own way.”  Being able to achieve something requires each person to be able to think and work through the biases in his or her own mind, and to remain calm and ready to face situations that are often uncomfortable (although perhaps these are also the fun moment!).  Self-knowledge and self-awareness is my first step towards being able to manage and lead oneself.  Apart from this, empathy and communication are two other extremely critical skills that I constantly keep in mind.  Doing something is always a team effort, and being able to share, listen, and understand are the keys to working together effectively.


How I Use My Mind | I try to keep things in what I consider manageable chunks.  When I was first learning to ski, I refused to go down the slope.  My instructor taught me to take it “one turn at a time.”  It’s very easy for me to look too far and see things as impossible, too hard, or just too unlikely.  This is very disconcerting!  I have now taken that ski instructors words to heart and applied it to all of my endeavors.  I take things one turn at a time, knowing that one day, I will get to the end.


Dealing With Doubt | I think that the best way to conquer fear is to constantly challenge yourself and just do it.  When you are an entrepreneur, you have no choice other than to do this!  In the process, you start to realize that even if you don’t get it right, you’re still standing.  Often in life, there is no perfect solution – and even if something goes wrong, you will still have opportunities.  Someone once said to me that “it isn’t over till you are dead.”  It’s a crazy and rather dark statement, but it’s true.


Performing At My Peak | I try to ensure that I am always able to perform by taking care of myself.  This usually requires a balance of physical exercise and rest, time with friends and family where I feel safe and comfortable, and a cross-section of mental activities that keep me excited and engaged with both my work and the world in general.  It’s really easy to get burned out and to work too hard.  It’s really easy to not actually ever rest or give yourself space.  I try my best to be conscious of how I am feeling, and to not overwhelm myself or to overexert myself.  Honestly though – I’m still working on this!


Dee-Poon_P1My Future Dreams And Ambitions | There are so many things that I want to do.  I want to make PYE, the brand that I am working on, a space where we can redefine aspirations and also create betterment.  People often see fashion as an industry that is vacuous and shallow – and often times it is.  But it is also one that is full of creativity, and one that impacts a lot of lives (through the supply chain) as well as the environment and the world that we will continue to live in.  Through fashion, and through PYE, I hope that we can create something that is engaged with the creative world and a space that will inspire people to look good and feel good as they go on to shape the world, while also developing a supply chain that enables us to help people who are at the bottom of the income pyramid move up in the world.  I hope to work through our footprint to bring about betterment in the lives of the people that we work with, through changing the way industrial enterprises and institutions understand and interact with the world’s most important resource – people – which also happens to be the reason why we probably do anything at all.  We have always been leaders in this, but I hope to take it farther!  And if we can create the model, then we can share it. The more agencies we have, the more we will be able to do. We are off to a good start, but there is still a lot to be done. I am excited by the work ahead of me.


On Inspiring Others | I think that people work with me because I respect and value them, and because I challenge them to do more and to achieve things to exceptional degrees.  I started working with no functional skills – and it might be argued that I still don’t have very many!  I learned from day one that other people are smarter and more knowledgeable that me, and I have always appreciated people who will bring their best and apply their talents towards what they do.  I really do prefer to be in an organization where we are able to all contribute and bring our respective talents and abilities to the table – I don’t want it to be all about me, but at the same time I will have the backs of those working around me and take on the responsibilities of leadership so as to facilitate the development of our goals and our desires.  Everyone has something to contribute, and if you can help them find a space to shine, then they often will not only live up to the challenge and out-perform your expectations, but also enjoy it and come to work and have fun.


I Am Inspired By | I am inspired by so many people and in so many different ways.  My mother is one of my role models – she is so passionate and clear in her goals and the change that she wants to make in the world.  Being near and close to her, I also get to see her humanity, and the troubles that she faces.  I think that it is important to remember that nobody has had a perfect life and that even our idols and role models are human and face the same problems and challenges that we do.