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Sulian Tan-Wijaya | Women of Power 2022

Sulian Tan-Wijaya

Executive director of retail and lifestyle at Savills (Singapore)

Pre-pandemic, we had Sulian Tan-Wijaya to thank for the revival of Orchard Road in the face of massive digital disruption, with various interesting new concepts pioneered by her in her role heading retail and lifestyle at Savills (Singapore). While things slowed to a halt in recent years, she has not stopped in dreaming up novel ideas to revitalise and strengthen the shopping and leisure scene here.

In addition to representing new overseas retailers expanding into Singapore, she is currently busy with a few exciting projects. They include the highly anticipated Guoco Midtown; 8 Club Street, which is a 900-room hotel with an underground link; Mondrian Hotel, a 300- room luxury hotel with F&B offerings; Dairy Farm Mixed Development; and HometeamNS’ waterfront clubhouse in Bedok.

“Retail and F&B were among the worst hit by the pandemic, so the two-month lockdown was surreal for me, to put it mildly. My stubborn refusal to be defeated by the pandemic kept me going and the efforts paid off,” says Sulian.

It was during the height of the pandemic that she and her Hong Kong counterpart successfully secured the 18,000 sq ft Adidas Brand Centre in the heart of Orchard Road. “Our meetings were conducted mostly remotely via video across different time zones. This deal was a perfect example of Adidas’ slogan: Impossible is Nothing. I was also inspired by
a few clients who actually thrived and chose to expand in spite of the pandemic, some of whom I didn’t even get to meet in person due to the tight restrictions then.”

To prepare for the looming business uptick, she and her team are now brainstorming ways to identify and capture new opportunities. She adds, “Retail is a dynamic and rapidly evolving business. From online to offline/physical stores to the metaverse, I have to keep up with what the brands are doing in order to create opportunities with them.”

In her down time, the proud mother of two Cambridge University graduates (one’s an oncologist, while the other’s an investment analyst) continues to support her two favourite charities: Caritas and Assisi Hospice, where she is looking to get involved in projects that support youth who were mentally traumatised by the pandemic. The former model is also
a passionate musician and deejay who has expanded her eclectic repertoire to include R&B and hip-hop from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China.

Sulian wears the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang King Gold White Diamonds 39mm

Photography: Bryan Foong/BF Studio; Art Direction: Audrey Chan; Hair: Leong, using Keune; Makeup: Wee Ming, using Dior Beauty