It is often said that to travel is to be inspired. For three Malaysian guys, this happens to be especially important as they see it as an opportunity to gain new ideas – of which, helps them think outside the box.
Bryan Loo is the CEO of Taiwanese bubble tea brand Chatime in Malaysia. His brother, Ryan, and friend, Vincent Tan, founded the Container Hotel brand in the country.
What ties them together is the fact that they have been appointed as Tumi Global Citizens. The trio now stand together with other international figures, all of whom are deemed by the premium travel and lifestyle brand as intrepid globetrotters.
This is the third consecutive season of the Tumi Global Citizens campaign. It sees the likes of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team driver Nico Rosberg and famed South Korean actress Claudia Kim featured too.
Here, we have Bryan, Ryan and Vincent speaking about their experiences as both an entrepreneur and a traveller.
Bryan Loo, 30
“My hectic lifestyle has actually served as an advantage because my mind is constantly moving and on the go,” answers Bryan, when asked about his busy schedule.
The Perlis-born lad then goes on to say that he doesn’t feel at ease when holidaying at places such as resort beaches. Instead, he feels more at home in busy cities like Hong Kong or Tokyo.
Perhaps he has an inherent need to keep busy. Or maybe, that is just the CEO in him speaking. His company, Chatime Malaysia, is after all one of the largest lifestyle tea chains in Malaysia.
Regarding his childhood, Bryan relates: “Growing up, I lived in a three-storey shop lot. My parents ran their business on the ground floor and we lived upstairs. I used to watch them work and learned the ins and outs of operating a business.”
Being named as one of Tumi’s Global Citizens is a big thing for Bryan. He sees it as an honour. He also says that the brand’s travel cases and bags best represent his overall travelling experience as most of his travels are business related.
“Travelling is essential for me to generate new ideas and keep updated with the latest trends. If I could inspire the younger generation to travel more often, then I am content at playing my role.”
“My days are mostly occupied with meetings and events so I carry the Alpha 2 travel case because it’s spacious. The different compartments help keep my things neat as well.”
Bryan however, isn’t stopping there. He reveals: “I aspire to build a multi-level F&B organisation which will consists of various international brands. Chatime from Taiwan, for one. Another is Tino’s Pizza from Shanghai.
“I usually travel to the West, and noticed that Westerners tend to prefer drinking sparkling water. That’s when the idea of SodaXpress came to me, a simple device that carbonates still water at the press of a button,” he adds.
Ryan Loo, 32, and Vincent Tan, 31
Ryan and Vincent got to know each other while studying in Melbourne, Australia. According to them, they share the same passion for a sustainable and eco-friendly development when it comes to the hospitality industry.
“We saw the need for it in Malaysia and understood the importance of going green. There was a huge market for it and we wanted to be able to grow and cultivate the concept here,” explains Ryan.
Vincent adds: “Few years ago, buildings made of shipping containers were very popular in many other parts of the world. We saw it as a great opportunity for the Malaysian market given that it was all fresh and new here.”
Both of them run Container Hotel Group, which has three lifestyle hospitality brands. Container Hotel emphasises adventure – a place to get away within the hustle and bustle of the city.
On the other hand, Capsule emphasises on transit. A pit stop to recharge and unwind in between journeys. The third is Mushroom, a fresh concept in the hotel industry that the two say will be ready for operation in 2016.
Unlike his older brother, Ryan was born in Kedah, while Vincent hails from Kuala Lumpur. That said, their travels for business has brought them to all sorts of places around the world.
According to Vincent, the capsule hotel concept was an idea they brought into Malaysia after having witnessed it in Japan. It is one of the many inspirations across different cultures and lifestyles encountered throughout their journeys.
“We were inspired by the hotels in Japan, and adopted the idea of fully maximising space and creating a place for travellers in transit. We managed to create 120 pods in a total space of 4,000 sq ft.”
“Recently, I was in Monte Carlo for the World Entrepreneur summit organised by Ernst and Young. World-class leaders and CEOs from over 60 countries attended the summit. They were there to share their journeys of success,” says Ryan.
Both of them are proud to be associated with Tumi and they love the different bags from the brand. Vincent is particular about having a bag for every occasion. Ryan likes his travel cases to be handy and stylish at the same time.