A fond farewell to Canny Kwok, a true travel retail superstar

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Canny Kwok: “My experience at Bvlgari has been like a really colourful tapestry that will always be in my memory”

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

– Carole King, Tapestry

‘Sweet ending to a memorable journey.’

The wording on the farewell party sign at Canny Kwok’s farewell party in Hong Kong this week was as succinct as it was appropriate. It has indeed been a memorable journey for the Bvlgari Asia Pacific Perfume Travel Retail Managing Director, a simply outstanding travel retail executive – and an even better human being – who has given so much to our industry.

Canny bowed out in style at a packed event at Mr & Mrs Fox, in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong on Wednesday evening, an event I and everyone there felt privileged to attend.

And a sweet ending? It sure was, packed with retailer partners and with guests (including Ever Rich Duty Free’s Michelle Chiang and Duk Kwon from the brand’s Korean agent Samsung International Company) flying into Hong Kong especially for the occasion.

I know countless people in the travel retail community worldwide. But I can think of few who are held in the universal regard and affection with which Canny is. She is an impeccable professional, astute and adept in every aspect of her brand leadership role, liked (make that loved) and respected by her team, her retailer partners and her brand peers. And me.

Canny has simply been one of the nicest, most understated, most helpful travel retail executives I have had the pleasure to have known during my near four decades in travel retail.

Canny has worked both on the retail and brand side and across multiple categories. Those who have been in the business for a while will recall her years with The Estée Lauder Companies, where she worked for almost 12 years from 1989 until late 2000. Travel retail was her focus then (with Aramis, Clinique and Estée Lauder) as it has been for much of her subsequent outstanding career at Bvlgari across watches & jewellery and fragrances.

Opening proceedings, Bvlgari Global Perfume Sales Managing Director Alberto Goncalves summed up the sentiment in the room very nicely, telling Canny: “You are a very loyal, very dedicated person. Everyone likes you very much.”

Next up was Hervé Debacque (pictured below), Bvlgari Managing Director, Asia Pacific Perfume Division Domestic and Travel Retail. Hervé spoke from the heart (and for everyone), when he commented, “First of all, it’s all about professionalism with Canny – she puts the company before her own interests at all times. It’s also about her caring for the people.

(Left to right) Canny with long-time Bvlgari colleague Jenny Cheah; DFS Senior Vice President Global Merchandising Amael Blain; Bvlgari Global Perfume Sales Managing Director Alberto Goncalves; DFS President Merchandising Christophe Marque; and DFS Senior Vice President, Global Merchandising Watches & Jewlery Charles-Henry Chenard
A great shot with great partners: Amael Blain and Christophe Marque of DFS celebrate the moment with Canny

“It’s not by chance that our partners and operators are here tonight. Canny, you managed over the years to maintain an amazing relationship with them, which really shows that every time you are trying to create the best success for everyone. When I meet your team all around Asia, they all mention the same thing – the caring part.

“What I also like is that you do everything with a lot of passion. Not everybody is like this. You are passionate about the brand and about your team. So thank you for all you have done, not just for the brand but for all the people you have taken care of over the past 22 years.”

Canny with me and Michelle Chiang of Ever Rich Duty Free, who flew in from Taipei especially for the occasion

Finally it was the turn of the travel retail superstar herself, a typically self-effacing few words, full of warmth but mainly focused on her appreciation for others.

“22 years seems a long time, but it has just flown by because it has been such an amazing journey,” said Canny. “I have been able to work with beautiful categories like watches and jewellery for eight years and then perfume. My experience at Bvlgari has been like a really colourful tapestry that will always be in my memory.”

Noting that the whole company was “brainstorming” what she might do next, Canny added: “My new job is to enjoy life. I’m very lucky to have been part of Bvlgari – it’s such a beautiful brand. I joined the brand 22 years ago when it was a kind of family business. I came across my business card from those days and my email was @Netvigator.com!”

Much has changed since then, of course. Canny has long had a Bvlgari.com email address and the company has grown enormously globally (and been acquired by LVMH in 2011). In very large part in Asia, due to one Canny Kwok, a true travel retail superstar and a weaver of a beautiful commercial and human tapestry. ✈

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(Left to right) Bvlgari Managing Director, Asia Pacific Perfume Division Domestic and Travel Retail Hervé Debacque; DFS International Senior Assistant Merchandising Manager Camille Munnich; Canny; DFS International Merchandising Manager France Pauphilet; Alberto Goncalves; and Mendy Cheung
Selfie time with Canny and Amael Blain

(Left to right) France Pauphilet; Maison Francis Kurkdjian Regional Brand General Manager Emily Au; Camille Munnich; and Bvlgari Area Sales Manager, Travel Retail Parfum Bobo Lau


  • Thank you Val, yes, time flies… Thank you so much for your kind words.. take good care and stay in touch!!

    • Thank you Ken, sure will spend more time in Melbourne, I have two places to call home, HK and Melbourne!
      I will spend a month in Melbourne in May, let’s catch up on a nice cup of aussie flat-white!

  • Oh Sweet Canny! What a wonderful article, full of appreciation of the magnificent soul that you are.

    To think we started it all at Estee Lauder together! Our BVLGARI days were some of my most favorite. And you a favorite, kind, sincere, caring colleague and friend.

    You deserve all the praise and admiration bestowed upon you. Congratulations dear one, to a professional life well lived. NOW, go enjoy the next chapter…I hope our paths continue to cross, as we waltz down the road….xoxox – Big Love – Valerie

  • My dear Canny! Wish i could have been there to wish you farewell! You are my longest partner in crime in TR 😜 and I have enjoyed every moment working and collaborating with you. Wish you all the best. Take care and keep in touch.

    • My dearest Andre, for sure your were missed in the party!! May all our crimes stay as ‘cold cases’ and our fun memories stay forever! hahaha… You have inspired me so much at my work, my personal life… definitely more than a friend you are to me.
      All the best to you!

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