Yi Lut (centered) at the Canton Fair discussing newly developed products.
What is your expertise?
My specialty is industrial design, and I am a senior designer at JT Rose & Co. in New York City. As a main product designer, I design and sell products to large retail stores based in the United States, such as Sam’s Club, Burlington, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Ross. In addition to designing home décor, I develop products, packaging, and monitor the entire production process from the first design drafts to when the products appear on the market. The role also involves stepping into several managerial roles – I am also in charge of sourcing, quoting, leading and price negotiating with factories, as well as buying new products from trade shows. At JT Rose, I oversee production for all products, which includes managing production testing if required, and generating presentation for prospective buyers.
What makes you stand out from your peers in the field?
My designs focus on practicality – I believe in the functionality of a product. A design needs to be as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. I am known for conceptualizing practical designs without hindering the aesthetics of the work. Throughout my college years, I took on challenging projects as I am passionate about benefiting society through my work. Some examples are the exoskeleton I designed for urban rescuers, a Heat alerter for the blind, and prosthesis for astronauts. Additionally, being in charge of sourcing, production, price negotiations and development has allowed me to develop as a leader as well as a designer.
What is a major career accomplishment?
Sam’s Club came to me with my first major order – a $500,000 order of clocks. I designed and oversaw the entire production of 40,000 clocks, which was a detailed process interspersed with frequent testing that let me put my skills to use.
I began with designing the clock, then moved to designing the full packaging, and then I managed the entire production until the clock reached the store.
The client gave me wonderful feedback, and currently the clock, which is a 28” full metal clock with an excellent retail of $29.99, is selling in Sam’s Club and on their online store. If you’re asking about awards, I did win a drawing competition once when I was much younger in 2006 for “International Heart Day” hosted by the HK jockey club. That was very inspiring for me and I like to think of it as an example of how art and design have been long-lasting interests of mine.
What are you most proud of?
Being able to use my expertise as an industrial designer in my field, and also having opportunities to successfully lead important productions in my career. The product I am most proud of is an exoskeleton I designed with urban rescuers in mind. The exoskeleton is meant to streamline the work of urban rescuers and allow them to perform search and rescue much more efficiently. As an industrial designer, it’s part of my work to make sure that designs are realistic, but that doesn’t mean we cannot have high aspirations within the spirit of the work. My own work converses with the issues of society in a creative and efficient manner, whether it’s the everyday desire to own a functional and aesthetic clock or the desire to support and protect urban rescuers.