Catherine Lee

Senior Vice-President of Global Design & Sustainability
Kendo Brands

My Métier d’Excellence 

I’m Senior Vice-President of Global Design & Sustainability at Kendo, which involves overseeing the creation and development of product and packaging design for all our brands. I also oversee creation of the visual identities for Kendo brands (KVD Beauty, Ole Henriksen, Fenty Beauty,…) .

The most important things you need for this métier

Creativity and rational judgment are essential to succeed in my job, I’d even say getting the right balance between the two is what’s most important. Our vision is to create products that are both aesthetic and functional. So perseverance is also very important to bring the projects to fruition.

The best compliment I’ve received

It’s not really a compliment, but what I’d really love is for someone to look at a product in a store and exclaim “It’s so beautiful, I just have to buy it!”. For cosmetics, the first touchpoint for consumers is the packaging, it doesn’t even matter whether the formulation is good or not – if the visual puts them off they’ll never buy it. I like creating things that are not just pretty, but which also spark desire for customers. That’s my guide.

What I love most about my métier 

I love that there are so many different aspects to this work, the fact that each day is different, and that you have several very different projects going on at the same time. I also like the seeming contradiction between the need to be rational to complete projects and, on the other hand, being able to express big dreams when you talk about the future a brand or a new project.

An anecdote 

One of the first brands I worked on at Kendo ten years ago was Tokidoki. We gave it a very distinctive identity, inspired by Japanese animes, really fun. Marc Jacobs saw the brand and He loved the spirit so much he wanted to join Kendo for its cosmetics brand. I was really proud because I led the project and the fact that Marc Jacobs liked the identity we created is exactly the kind of reaction we were hoping for.