Lift Lifestyle Managing Director and visionary, Francis Li, designs, manufactures, exports & imports beautiful, on-trend, functional outdoor furniture, lifestyle and home decor products for Hong Kong, Western European and the Asia Pacific markets
What’s your story?
I am a fit-out specialist, a buyer, and an export/importer of outdoor furniture for the past 20 years. I started Lift Lifestyle when I noticed the range of outdoor furniture available in HK was very limited; also super expensive. I saw the demand and as I was already in the export business it was natural to expand to the local market. I also co-own a boutique co-work office in Hong Kong. Sourcing and making beautiful and unique products, putting them together to build/refurbish a space to make it functional and amazing is what I enjoy doing very much.
What excites you most about your industry?
I love to travel and see new things, that’s a big part of my job. As Steve Jobs said, “keep searching, don’t settle.” This is pretty much how the manufacturing and design industry operates. There are always new designs, ideas, trends, new products, new materials to use in the products I make or source. There are endless things to discover and you will never get bored. Every project is a challenge as each client has a different set of requirements, tastes, based on a set budget, but each project is an opportunity to innovate and find better ways of doing things – saving time, saving money and connecting people to deliver above and beyond.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Hong Kong, raised in Melbourne. I moved back to Hong Kong for a job at HSBC in 1996. I left the job after 13 months but never left Hong Kong since then. Hong Kong is my hometown.
Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong for sure. The efficiency, flexibility, open-mindedness, acceptance of new designs/products, and people. The proximity to China makes my operations miles easier and smooth.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Hope for the best, expect the worst, take what comes with a smile.” I learned it through life.
Who inspires you?
Peter Li, my father. He is the happiest and the most positive human being in this world. He is an electric engineer and has run his consumer electronic manufacturing business in China since the 1970s. He is the one who introduced me to manufacturing, business, and he is the one who took me to the first trade fair in my life. Work hard, play hard. I learned that from him.
What have you just learned recently that blew you away?
I read the story about grandma Mary, a 71 years old Singaporean lady who only started learning acoustic guitar at 60, she is now a full-time electric guitarist and even performed in the Singaporean National Day parade. One should never give up their dream!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Spend more time with people that I love who are no longer here.
How do you unwind?
Dragon boating, playing netball, taking my dog for a long walk, hanging out with my amazing friends.
Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali for sure. Love the food, love the people. It has the most beautiful sunset in Asia.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Hannah by Paul Loup Sulitzer
Shameless plug for your business:
At Lift Lifestyle, we are highly experienced in handling export orders worldwide and assisting our clients with projects from the smallest balcony to outdoor areas of international hotels.
We offer advice, service and specialized delivery of truly inspirational furniture and products for outdoor living. We can help you furnish the smallest balcony, country garden, superyacht or any restaurant space and make sure you make the most of your space.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of two best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.