Lawrence Au, Experience Designer, Hong Kong
As a child, Lawrence Au curiously watched his father work with tools around the house. He was intrigued and wanted to fix and build things too. He would spend hours taking his toys apart and putting them back together in new ways.
“My first design project was a toy spaceship. I combined several toy cars with a boat. That way the spaceship could move in water,” Lawrence recalled.
His curiosity sparked a career. Lawrence continues to embrace his innovative passion as an experience designer at Kids2 based in Hong Kong. He loves that his job provides him the opportunity to ‘play around’ (aka test and have fun) to see what works and what doesn’t. When designing a new product, he and the team are focused on how it can make parenthood easier. To do that, they make sure they are aware of many different factors including baby development stages and physical (material and safety) and emotional aspects.
“Babies grow so fast and outgrow toys even faster. That’s why creating products that have a longer lifetime, ones that can grow with the baby, are important. These projects can be more challenging as there are wide safety requirements to meet due to the different baby stages, but I really enjoy digging into the design details and thinking about all the mechanism concepts.”
Lawrence grew up in Hong Kong where he attended Hong Kong Polytechnic Universality and studied industrial design. He’s has worked at various companies designing bags, luggage, strollers and nursery items. One of the things he likes about Kids2 is that it is a global company. He says that brings many benefits, including transparency. He finds that there is more information and idea sharing, which reminds him of the importance of being a lifelong learner no matter where you live or what you do.
“I am the lucky one to be part of Kids2 family. I work with many wonderful and even more talented people around the world,” shared Lawrence. “The Kids2 culture fosters one of listening and answering questions, especially for the sake of skill development. You won’t look bad for not knowing something; rather, you’ll look bad if you’re not trying to learn.”
As we all have in the pandemic, Lawrence has spent a lot of time at home…cooking. Now, one of his favorite places to go is to market. He enjoys finding different foods to cook for his family. It’s a bit nostalgic. He has fond memories of his mom cooking many delicious dishes, especially for the Lunar Chinese New Year.
“She made so many different foods that we could never finish them all in one night. We had lots of unforgettable moments during those dinners,” shared Lawrence.
As his mom has gotten older and cooks less, Lawrence has taken on the responsibility of preparing the families’ Lunar Chinese New Year dinner. It takes him almost three days to prepare everything and then another two days to cook it all!
“You are exhausted after all the preparation, but it is well worth it to see the happiness on everyone’s face as they enjoy dinner.”
Traditions are important in his family, as they are for many families. As Kids2 celebrates Asian Pacific Islander month he’s learned a lot about other regions.
“We are living with similar backgrounds, but the different areas have their unique cultures and stories, like bun festival in Hong Kong. It’s been so interesting to see and understand more about different cultures and traditions.”
Lawrence joined Kids2 in September 2020. One of his favorite K2 products is the Around We Go 2-in-1 walk around activity center. He wishes he had that as a kid. Another favorite is the Baby Einstein Together in Tune Piano Connected Magic Touch Piano. He says it’s a great example of how to combine technology and toys.
He knows firsthand the importance of versatility when it comes to kids toys and products. He and his wife, Iris, have a 7-year-old daughter, Audrey. He says she is talkative at home, but shy and quiet around others. Her pets, fish and two crabs, are her best friends. Audrey feeds and talks to them every day but wishes she had a cat. She just might get one. Audrey and Lawrence made a deal that that if she can take good care of the fish and the crabs, she can have a cat in the future.