The world’s biggest country is also the world’s largest growing market, and smart businesses in every sector of the economy are trying to take advantage of China’s rapid expansion. French luxury goods brand Hermes is no exception.
But opening another Hermes store in China wouldn’t be enough. The company already has 19 doors there, and more are on the way. WWD reports that Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas thought a better idea would to be invest in an entirely new brand.
“Instead of buying another company, we thought, ‘Why not create a brand from the ground up that shares our philosophy — outstanding quality, creativity, and strong style?’” he said.
With the help of artistic director Jiang Qiong Er, Thomas built a store called Shang Xia, which translates to “up down” in Chinese. The store strives to be a balanced mix of old world craftsmanship with modern style, and sells everything from hand-sewn cashmere sweaters to fine china dinnerware. WWD describes the store, located in the Hong Kong Plaza Mall, as elegant and ethereal.
But even though the brand was built with the intention of capitalizing on growth in China, Thomas plans to take the brand building process slow and steady. Hermes has plans to open up a Shang Xia store in Paris (which strikes us as a little counterproductive) next year, and another in Beijing in a few years.
“We have no sales target for Shang Xia. We have only one target — to surprise our customers. We want to show the world the strong tradition of China, a tradition of thousands of years,” Thomas said.
The store will be open to the public Friday, and plans beyond the opening of a Beijing location will have to wait for a few years.
[Image via Aly Song]