Hubert Burda Media

Rose Among The Thorns

Who says life’s always a bed of roses? The beautiful LOO HONG XI has always worked hard to earn her keep. Growing the family business to new heights is one way. Suhana Ab meets a driven heiress

When Loo Hong Xi was just seven, she was made to read an entire chapter of a textbook before being rewarded with what seemed to be a big treat at that time — Smarties chocolate. Not the entire packet, mind you, but just one.
She laughs when sharing the anecdote and concludes that it was her parents’ way of making her understand that to “eat”, one has to work hard or, in other words, you reap what you sow. Fast forward some 20 years and Loo has not forgotten that lesson.
Instead of chocolates, she now gives her all for the growth of the family business, Sinflora. Started in 1979 by her parents Bernard Loo and Charlotte Lee, the company is one of Singapore’s largest wholesalers of plants and garden-related supplies.
Since its inception, its portfolio has grown to include the production of floral foam and shade nets, and the planting and export of chrysanthemum flowers and tomatoes. The company has factories and agricultural space in China and Malaysia, as well as an export office in Hong Kong.
As its director, Loo shadows her father to learn the workings of the company and formulates new ways to extend its reach. At print time, the Singapore Management University alumnus was working closely with him to secure land space in Thailand as part of Sinflora’s expansion plans.
“Being in the family business has been programmed into my DNA. I witnessed its transformation from a humble outfit selling artificial flowers, to what it is today. It is only natural that I be a part of its future,” Loo quips.
When asked if she feels the pressure to perform, she gives a firm “no”. “I’m a competitive person by nature and at times more ngiao (Hokkien for fastidious) than my parents,” she admits with a laugh. “I fit right in.”
“It’s inevitable that my family brings work home. But it’s worth it because you know it will translate into something tangible for us and not anyone else”
— On drawing the line between business and pleasure
“Being my father’s daughter does open doors, especially for someone my age. But where it takes me thereafter is all up to me”
— On being a young business figure
“I love fashion and try to make the time for it. I either do this when i travel for business or at my desk visiting some of the world’s most established fashion portals”
— On taking time out from a busy schedule
HAIR / KAZU L (9448 3233)