Sarah Kochling

Managing Principal of Blossom Innovation

Experienced marketing and innovation professional, China veteran, entrepreneur, creative connector.

Starting her career at P&G China in 1991, Sarah is one of the country’s marketing pioneers. Fluent in Mandarin, she earned her marketing stripes and set category benchmarks launching iconic brands such as H&S and Tide Detergent; and leading the feasibility and local licensing of sachets and styling aids for the total P&G haircare. She continued to build her brand management and strategy expertise at J&J International, where she led sales and marketing for the Acuvue brand across Asia, and launched the first ‘teen’ contact lens.

Apart from MNC experience, Sarah has worked on web and wireless start-ups as a founding partner and as CMO for China’s very first theme park project, and for the world’s largest lingerie OEM (a local Chinese firm).

Realising her true calling was helping others to unlock the promise of China and to make professional breakthroughs on a personal level, Sarah began her consulting career providing China/Asia market entry strategy consulting for a broad array of packaged goods and B2B service providers. She subsequently joined The Continuity Company, where she worked with China’s top retailers on driving increased customer spend and loyalty. In 2008, she began her official innovation career, first serving as an Inventing Director at What If Innovation?!, then as MD building an innovation practice for Dragon Rouge. At both organisations, she led teams supporting Fortune 500 companies (Pepsi, J&J, Philips, Coke, Kraft/Mondelez, HSBC, Ford, IHG, L’Oreal, etc.), to develop and implement innovation strategy and to drive critical product development efforts. In addition, Sarah coached senior executives, local and international, on innovation skill set development and leading for better innovation outcomes.

In 2014, Sarah founded Blossom, a strategic insights, innovation and design consultancy that supports clients to get to breakthrough consumer, market and industry insights and collaboratively transform them into impact at all levels of their organisation. Offering her clients an optimal balance of best-practice experience and entrepreneurial savvy, the firm services Fortune 500 firms, as well as leading local SMEs.

A frequent speaker on innovation and market trends, Sarah is also an active community volunteer. She regularly supports the entrepreneurship programs at Hult and Jiaotong Antai Business School. She is co-founder and co-chair of the Women’s Executive Network (WEN) for Amcham Shanghai, serves as a board advisor and mentor for several local SMEs, has served on the steering committee of TEDxShanghai Women for the past several years, co-founded and now serves as an advisor to the Wellesley Club of Shanghai and sits on the annual gala board for ChunHui Children’s Foundation.

Favorite quote: “One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again” – Henry Ford