Dolores Au, CEO – VLV Pte Ltd
Dolores, the founder of VLV is a veteran in the marketing and media industry. Dolores brings with her more than 18 years of management experience in public relations, branding, marketing and journalism, carving a niche for herself as one of the key players in the industry, not only in Singapore but across Asia. She has also built two successful public relations businesses, one of which grew under her leadership to include branches in China and Central Asia.
As part of the core senior management team for both KU DÉ TA and Catalunya, Dolores played an integral role in driving business strategy to create greater brand exposure and value through incisive press relations and marketing strategy, turning these two venues into landmark spots in Singapore during its heydays. Prior to her successful foray into the lifestyle sector, Dolores served as Assistant Editor – Special Projects for The New Paper.
With an ambition to start something of her own, Dolores has now embarked on an expanded portfolio as the face of VLV to drive the creation of an iconic venue which will expand to destination cities worldwide. “In each city, the VLV experience will weave together stunning vistas, inviting interiors and the comfort of Asian hospitality, together with the venue’s four key concepts of premium dining, entertainment, nightlife and riverside dining”, she says.
Dolores is a proud mother of 4 daughters aged between 5 months to 17 years. She is an avid foodie and bibliophile, and particularly enjoys sake paired with fine Japanese cuisine.
Here are some more insights about Ms. Dolores share with the team of ABT.
Tell us about the journey of VLV and its evolution.
VLV has been many years in the making, the idea to create a made in Singapore lifestyle brand spanning many concepts across the major cities in the region. For now, VLV is a Restaurant, lounge, casual dining, live entertainment venue in Clarke Quay, but the road map has been set to take the brand to various major cities in Asia and beyond.
What were the circumstances that inspired you to establish VLV?
I travel a lot for work and in my travels I see a trend of multi-concept venues and I always envisioned being able to create a concept in Singapore. When I first saw this stunning heritage building with more than a 100-year-old history, the space captivated me from the get-go. I saw the beauty and business potential of the space when I first set eyes on it, and knew it would be a perfect place to showcase authentic Chinese cuisine in a modern, lush and inspiring setting. Spanning across 20,000 sf of prime space, it gave me the opportunity to create 4 different experiential zones: an award-winning restaurant; a sophisticated, cutting edge Club Lounge; an alfresco courtyard with ‘live’ music and a riverside dining enclave.
Do you recall any challenges from initial days? How did you overcome them?
We were fortunate to start up with a very strong core team almost from the get-go; they have been instrumental in bringing the offering in Singapore to market. The gorgeous building we are in came with its share of challenges. I had a vision in my mind how I wanted the venue to turn out, a lot of time was spent making sure the interiors conveyed the look and feel I wanted for the brand.
How is VLV, a niche in the industry?
VLV is committed to creating quality experiences that are multi-dimensional, and engage all the senses of our guests. From the scent that greets guests at the entrances, to the many textures within the venue that set the stage for the quality food and entertainment offerings. All these come together to define the VLV experience, and helps create a unique memorable brand.
Now a day’s people emphasize on healthier food, so with the changing tastes and demands of consumers, how does VLV incorporate consumer mindsets?
Our culinary team is very forward looking, Executive Chef Martin Foo is well known in the industry for putting his modern spin on very traditional Chinese flavours. In this aspect, a lot of his dishes take the tastes and modern demands of consumers in mind. Through unique sourcing, he is able to put a healthier spin on some traditional dishes. For example, his is able to use half the amount of sugar usually used to achieve the sweetness in Char Siew by using his own unique marinate with specially sourced fermented beans. He also takes pains to ensure that suppliers meet his requirements; the duck used for Peking Duck is intentionally sourced to be less fatty for a healthier meal.
How does VLV presents unique themed nights and rides along the latest buzz in town?
We are always looking to introduce new content to keep our entertainment offerings fresh. We have different highlights in the venue every month both for the lounge and our live music lineup. We believe that continuously creating new content will help create a stronger identity for our venue.
Tell us the new tenants at Clarke Quay and how the area is revamping itself to become the hip location for locals and tourists.
I think the key is not just to be hip, but rather to change the mindset that Clarke Quay offers quality dining and entertainment options for locals as well as tourists. Since opening, we have built a strong following of locals and corporates, and are definitely looking at attracting more mature demographic to Clarke Quay.
Being a proud mother of 4 daughters how do you create a balance between work and family?
I start my days very early, to spend some time with the girls before they head to school. During the week, my work consumes most of my time, so I have Sundays set aside as family days where I spend time exclusively with the children.
As the CEO of VLV what would you like to achieve in the next coming years?
From 2017, we will be aggressively growing the brand in the region, we have exciting sites confirmed and will be putting the final touches and rolling out the new venues that have been in the works. We are also definitely looking at continuing to establish VLV Singapore as a forerunner in the Singapore dining scene.