Member Spotlight: Helene Raudaschl
Member Spotlight: Helene Raudaschl
A Hong Kong Chinese by birth, ONE°15 Marina’s Member, Helene Raudaschl, is a supplier and manufacturer of high-quality foods—and halal food is one of them. Add to that an Austrian last name by marriage, and there is nearly nothing “expected” about the young Founder and Chairman of Indoguna Productions FZCO. Her introduction to the food industry wasn’t by chance either. Raudaschl and her older sister were introduced to the best and most exotic in the industry by their entrepreneur mother Elena Tang. A supplier of high quality meats, seafood, dairy products and fine foods, Tang would source them from around the world for the local Hong Kong market.
Barely eight to 10 years old, the sisters were savouring quality caviar, truffles, raspberries and blueberries, and could tell the difference between European cheeses. This was in the ’80s when these were all exotic and unusual to this part of the world—as it was for a woman from a traditional Chinese family to set up her own business. “My mum’s time was very challenging; she had to battle many odds to get to where she was without any support. Everything she achieved was also purely through self-exploration—it’s not like she had a business degree or anything to back her,” says Raudaschl with genuine respect. “That aspect is one of the main things that drives me to be a strong woman myself.” Raudaschl grew into the food business by first working in her mother’s company.
About two years later, she entered a joint-venture with a small company called Indoguna, owned by one of their Indonesian partners in the business. That, and marriage to chef and entrepreneur Georg Raudaschl brought her to Singapore—“the rest as they say is history”, she smiles. Today, Indoguna occupies three buildings within a 5,500sqm compound in Singapore. In 2005, Raudaschl expanded business operations to Dubai and subsequently built a factory that manufactures top quality halal food.
“I’m very quality driven in terms of many aspects of my life, and not just the business.”
NEW LAND NEW GROUND
Raudaschl attributes her ability to spot gaps in the market to her experience working with her mother— she was quick to spot the influx of Asian tourists to the Middle East and the growing demand for traditional Asian products. With great foresight, she progressed to tag her intent to offer good quality Asian food with a full line of production for halal foods as well. It was very difficult to produce things that were very Asian, but had to be halal, she recalls.
Although proximity to Singapore and Malaysia made finding producers who shared the same philosophy that much easier, it was important to also ensure that her in-house team had the complete know-how about what was allowed and what wasn’t. Additionally, every product from her manufacturing facility in Dubai comes locally and internationally certified—they are certified for export to the U.K., EU and the U.S. as well—and sans MSG.
“It’s not about the money or how much it costs, to me, it’s about quality in life,” she says. “I’m very quality-driven in terms of many aspects of my life, and not just the business,” says Raudaschl steadfastly.
Equally important to her are passion, perseverance and the strength to follow through. These qualities have held her in good stead in business and an industry that continues to be a male-dominated one, but “I have never felt or been made to feel different just because I am a woman, even in a place such as Dubai”, she says.
“People have a little bit more respect when they see what you know and give you the benefit of the doubt when they see you have the knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or man.”
“The Hong Kong business is 33 years old, Singapore’s coming to 28, and Dubai, 16 years,” rattles Raudaschl almost absentmindedly. Albeit sure signs of a successful business, it also means that it has been that many years of long working days and extensive travel away from home and family. Regardless of how busy she has been in all these years, she and her husband have always made it a point to spend time with their son.
“We are both very close to our son. No matter how busy I have been, it was really very important for us to explore a new city with him every year as a family—experience the food, the culture, together,” she says. Her eyes light up with affection and pride as she talks about her 20-year-old son Maximillian, who has also lovingly coerced her to become flexitarian.
In true fashion, Raudaschl also recently launched a new fully plant-based line called Arlene. She is also busy planning Vegan concepts for an upcoming family venture in Chiang Rai, Thailand—a coffee concept that embraces farming and roasting, which is the brainchild of her husband. It will also include a café and school for the Akha people, the tribe indigenous to the area.
Canny and straightforward, by her own admission, Raudaschl has an easy smile and laughs heartily—there is no half-way for her. But she realises that it is time she slowed down as well and has been actively working with her board to appoint her successor. Her life now revolves more around the things she loves—family, tennis, gym and swimming. “I love the water—I used to be a competitive swimmer.
That’s one of the reasons I became a Member at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove. But I have not found the time to plan yacht outings so far. Now I can,” she smiles. “Today, my time is spent on thinking of new concepts, about how we can put new products like our plant-based line out into the market—our communication and our message to the public. I enjoy these things a lot,” she says. To Raudaschl, success is a sum of all of the above. “It could be any number of things, but if speaking of today, it is having the luxury of time, ” she says. What better measure can there be?