When you work with us you are partnering with a formidable team of experts in enabling growth for consumer food and beverage brands in our region.
Andrew is the founder and CEO of The Silk Initiative, China’s only specialised food and beverage insights-driven brand consultancy. A native Australian, Andrew managed a global career where he quickly climbed the ladder of large agencies in Shanghai, New York, and Sydney before carving out his own path with the launch of TSI.
As the CEO, he’s here to give your brand a bridge into the Chinese consumer food and beverage market through brand development and innovative product solutions. With over 15 years of experience working with major brands including Campbell’s, PepsiCo, Arla, Vita Coco, Goodman Fielder, Pizza Hut, US Dairy, New Zealand King Salmon and Mars Wrigley, Andrew has a strong understanding of the strategic approach brands need to thrive within the Chinese market. His expertise has led to him being featured in major publications including Smart Insights and Entrepreneur and being called on by think tanks, banks, and government organisations wanting China consumer and branding expertise.
When he isn’t helping his clients’ brands prosper, you’ll find Andrew entertaining guests with his partner, experimenting with new cuisines or showcasing his 34-year expertise on the bagpipes – much to the delight of his neighbours.
Executive Board Member for North America
Steve is our executive board member supporting TSI’s expansion into the US. With over 20 years of experience in market research and consulting, he prides himself in building and scaling world-class consultancies and client relationships. With a keen eye for market trends, he strategically evaluates and capitalises on market conditions to help his clients achieve exceptional growth.
By leveraging his extensive understanding of brand development and his captivating storytelling capabilities, he helps us share TSI’s story with our North American clients to bridge the gap between their vision and ours.
A global traveller, he's constantly running out of pages in his passport as he continues to explore the many wonders of our world. Although he is a native South African, the only time you could pick that up from his accent is when he’s exposed to his kryptonite - a jalapeño margarita made with exotic mezcal.
Client Services Director, North America
Tom is our passionate client services director based in the US who’s here to listen to the needs of our US clients and work closely with our Shanghai based team to design and implement the right engagement to meet client needs. With decades of experience in branding, communication, and research, he understands the importance of gaining a deep insight into your ideal consumers’ psyche and tailoring your marketing efforts to speak directly to their needs.
A trusted advisor to companies such as Procter & Gamble, Abbott Nutrition, and Merck, he leverages his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for results to help his clients develop, package, and launch their products and services. At TSI, he leveraged this same innovative approach with brand and new product development to support our recent work with Campbell Soup Company brand Tim Tams and their expansion into China.
When he isn’t striving to achieve exceptional results for his clients, you’ll find Tom indulging his passion for yoga and photography or planning his next trip to Thailand with his family.
Senior Client Manager
As our senior client manager, Joel is here to be your strategic frontline partner by helping you push your brand and new product development forward. With a sharp mind for marketing and a passion for achieving growth within the fast-changing Chinese market, he’ll target the right consumers, with the right questions to get you the insights you need to succeed.
This passion for sustained growth has helped Joel excel at TSI. From developing market entry strategies for large brands, such as Mars, Campbells, Simplot and Vita Coco, to helping design teams craft exquisite packaging that resonates with local consumers, his keen eye for strategy and branding is second only to his drive for results.
With a curious mind and a craving for new experiences, Joel makes an effort to try a new, exotic Chinese dish every weekend in Shanghai. When he isn’t indulging in a new culinary experience, you’ll find him train hopping and exploring different parts of the country.
Creative Services Manager
Leigh-Anne is our multi-talented creative services manager. Having lived in China and Taiwan for over 20 years, not only is she utterly (frighteningly so) fluent in Mandarin, but she has an exceptional understanding of the complexities involved with taking an idea from conception to completion in China.
With over 15 years of experience in the Chinese food and beverage industry, she’s a key member of our creative services team, a workshop designer, and a facilitator for new product innovations and creative execution projects. Not only has she led the design of ideation workshops for McCain Foods, Campbell’s, and Mars-Wrigley, she’s also highly experienced in bringing cross-functional, multi-stakeholder groups together to work towards a collective goal.
As the manager of TSI’s digital marketing, her expertise has allowed TSI’s insights on China to reach a global audience through several international publications.
When she isn’t channelling her positive energy into a client project, you’ll find her practicing Muay Thai or sharing her creative spark in Shanghai’s experimental theatre scene.
Grace is one of our trusted TSI’s moderators who works tirelessly with client service teams to ensure our focus groups, consumer immersions and market visits are rich and insightful. Grace is at the coalface with the Chinese consumer and it’s this proximity that is an essential ingredient in unlocking winning brand strategies for our clients.
She’s worked with many of TSI’s largest clients, including Tyson Foods, Campbell Soup Company, Arla and New Zealand King Salmon
An excellent communicator with a deep understanding of how Chinese consumers think, she knows how to ask the right questions, at the right time, to get the strategic insights that our clients need to succeed.
An avid reader of feminist writers and an amazing watercolour artist, she loves to unwind at the end of a busy week with a great book in one hand or a paintbrush in the other.
Qualitative Research Moderator
With a personality that’s as cheery as her name, Cherie is one of our expert qualitative research moderators who helps us execute on the many consumer focus groups that we conduct in China. Starting her insights career many moons ago with NFO Worldgroup, Cherie is one of the few Unilever accredited moderators in China (a tough gig to make) with over 15 years of experience working across sectors. She’s also lucky enough (or maybe not…) to have been working with our CEO Andrew now for more than 17 years in Shanghai!
With exceptional bi-lingual capabilities and cross-cultural experience from her years spent abroad in New Zealand, she brings her diverse cultural perspective to every client engagement. She’s worked with many of TSI’s esteemed global clients clients including Pepsi Quaker and across multiple Campbell Soup Company brands including Kjeldsens, Tim Tams and Goldfish to help them gain the consumer insights needed to grow their brands in China.
A fitness enthusiast who loves to stay active, you’ll find her destressing from a busy week by playing her favourite sport or by breaking a sweat in the gym.
A master of organisation and project planning, Jie is our in-house project coordinator who’s here to ensure that your project engagement with us gets executed when it should, the way it should.
With previous experience in market research agencies, she has a strong intuition for what it takes to leave a consumer delighted. It’s this passion for market research and her vision to bring high-quality health and food products to Chinese consumers that brought her to the doors of TSI.
With a range of expertise from data and ROI analysis to social listening and insights development, her ability to manage multiple projects with her exceptional multi-tasking capabilities ensures that every project runs as smooth as silk.
An avid fashion lover with a keen eye for the latest fashion trends, when she isn’t showcasing the latest styles, you’ll find her experimenting with a new recipe to create her next culinary masterpiece.
we work with:
Partnering with small to large global brands.
We work with global CEOs, CMOs, marketing directors, brand owners and insights professionals responsible for Chinese food & beverage strategies and commercial business challenges.
These are often clients who already have teams on the ground in China, but are often too stretched with their day-to-day operations to provide thorough thinking on strategy and insights work.
These decision-makers need laser focus big thinking, credible methods, and thoughtful action with a client-consulting team that has the agility to navigate across various time zones and connect with internal and external partners.
We utilize world-class qualitative and quantitative research tools to help ensure solid strategic direction for our engagements. Depending on engagement need and budget we utilize online and offline, primary and secondary sources.
Strategic planning workshops
Market entry, sizing, structure analysis
Consumer habits & practices, market immersions (ethnos, safaris)
Multivariate- and needs-based segmentation
Brand equity and proposition development
Big Idea communication development and testing
Naming development and testing
Online and WeChat consumer discussion forums
Volumetric sales forecasting and modeling
New product development, end to end: Idea, Concept, Product, Packaging optimization and validation