Meet us at Shoptalk Europe, 6-8 June 2022, ExCeL London
April 4, 2022

Elinor Li, Head of Business Unit 1 & Kyle He, Associate Operations Specialist: People of Pattern

By Ronald Wu & Clea Boyd-Eedle / Asia, Brand Growth, Marketplace Management, Tmall

At Pattern, we believe our people are integral to our success. With more than 1,170 team members and 10 office locations across the globe, we’re proud to have some of the world’s best and brightest minds working to make Pattern great. Our #People of Pattern series puts a spotlight on our people – their responsibilities, achievements, and why they choose to work at Pattern.

This week we spoke with two members of our China team based in our Guangzhou office - Elinor Li, Head of Business Unit 1, and Kyle He, Associate Operations Specialist. Both joining us in mid-2021, they have leveraged their expertise to make great contributions to our operations in the Chinese market, in particular the selling of health supplements and healthcare products.

Could you tell me a bit about your role and experience working at Pattern?

Elinor: I started working at Pattern last August and am now leading one of the business units in Guangzhou, with healthcare products as my team’s focus. At Pattern, my main responsibility is building sales channels on Chinese local marketplaces for our brand partners. I am also in charge of compliance matters for the products we are selling, engaging with regulators on necessary licenses and documents for products to be on sale.

Kyle: I became a member of Pattern last July. My main responsibility here is to review marketing materials for healthcare products, as developed by my team members. I have pharmacological knowledge, thanks to my education and previous work experience. I ensure the accuracy of those materials in terms of context and highlight the product’s benefits to better resonate with customers. I am also involved in assisting our brand partners with any customs clearance issues. Pattern can help products move through customs quickly by explaining the product’s ingredients to the agents.

Why do you choose to work at Pattern?

Elinor: The great potential to grow is the main reason I chose to work at Pattern, as I saw its management team’s agility in running the business and thorough understanding of the Chinese market. Before Pattern, I worked at several state-owned enterprises, and worked with some global names in the pharmaceutical industry. I can tell Pattern’s flat organisational structure is the best fit for ecommerce nature, as it offers swiftness. For example, my team was requested by Tmall for a price adjustment on some product listings on the eve of Singles’ Day 2021. None of my previous workplaces would be able to accommodate such a short-notice request. Here, the leadership culture and organisational structure encourage fast reaction, allowing me and my team to tackle the challenge successfully.

Another thing I recognise is Pattern’s global expansion strategy. Most of our Chinese local competitors can only serve foreign brands with local offices in China. We are on the upper hand but Pattern, with the active collaboration among its talents in major markets around the globe, can provide professional service to clients in the same time zone and the same language.

Kyle: I graduated from a pharmaceutical university in China and was then hired at a state-run science academy. Under the leadership of a renowned scholar, I worked on research and development, production, marketing, amongst other responsibilities, for healthcare products and health supplements. It was an enlightening experience, but my development was hindered by the bureaucracy, due to the organisation’s complex structure and excessive regulations. I saw delivering concrete results as my sole purpose at the job. I eventually made up my mind to leave the private sector, striving for a more agile workplace to turn my knowledge into actions. At Pattern, I am pleased to contribute my expertise to a company that yields remarkable, tangible results.

What’s the most rewarding part of working at Pattern?

Elinor: Pattern has the ideal environment for me to fully exert my experience in the healthcare and ecommerce industries, as well as my bilingual communication skills in Chinese and English. What I enjoy most is the autonomy at work. Take the building of sales channels as an example. In my previous workplaces, I was expected to follow established rules, with narrow room to experiment with my ideas, even though I was in senior executive positions. Here, I have plenty of chances and sufficient trust and autonomy to plan, endeavour and execute the strategies I develop with my team. That’s exactly what I strive for in my career – to prove my capabilities in a fast-paced environment.

Kyle: My motivation at work is boosted greatly by Pattern’s workplace culture, particularly the close collaboration with team members that I never experienced at my previous workplaces. The lack of teamwork undermined efficiency, and eventually, those who were originally keen on delivering concrete business results became unmotivated. I am also grateful for having ample opportunities to extend my knowledge beyond my pharmacological profession. Since working with the ecommerce veterans here, I have learned a lot about doing ecommerce and data analytics. I have started applying these new skills to complement my original profession, trying to understand how consumers receive and interpret product information from another perspective. I trust that this new skill set is greatly beneficial to my future development in the ecommerce industry.

Why would you recommend working at Pattern?

Elinor: Pattern is an ideal place for people who are creative, capable, and willing to push themselves. Our workplace culture encourages discussion and exchange of ideas on an equal footing, which is not common among local companies. In traditional Chinese companies, it is the leaders who make the decision, while the team members simply execute their given orders. I am proud to see all Pattern’s people be so passionate about the work we do. We are happy to have autonomy at work that allows us to think, endeavour and implement what we want to achieve.

I also appeal to those who want to train themselves to the highest standard of ecommerce to join Pattern. We are setting the standard for how to form a partnership with foreign brands. We know some ecommerce agencies focus on results only. They overlook necessary and transparent communication with their brand partners. We always attach great importance to integrity when working with our partners. It is proven by not only the detailed and credible reports we provided, but also our enthusiasm to assist them to understand the market landscape and regulatory regime in China.

Kyle: The strategic mind and respect for knowledge of Pattern’s leaders make our company recommendable. I am delighted to see at that variety of talents are brought together to form a highly cooperative team. I know the young Chinese generation desires workplaces that offer reasonable autonomy at work and work-life balance – that’s exactly what Pattern offers. On the other hand, these innovative and energetic minds are essential for us to stand out from the fast-paced, ever-changing ecommerce market in China.