Claire’s to open largest APAC Franchise in Shanghai
Good to know that Claire’s has picked their media group (Universal McCann) to help them break into the China market. Even better, they’ve chosen the far more cosmopolitan city of Shanghai (sorry BJ, you know you were never going to win this fight) to open up their flagship store in!
Still - I am hesitant as to how this will work. See, when I think of Claire’s, I think of a) cheap and b) accessories. Anytime you needed to get a silly headband or a flashy pair of earrings to wear to impress your mans at the mall when you were in middle school – you went to Claire’s. If there was a Halloween party and you only had a witch’s hat, you got your crazy ‘witch’ stockings from Claire’s. If you wanted to dye your hair last minute all blue for the school dance with a cool color hairspray– oh wait, you went to Limited Too. Nevermind.
Anyway, you get the point. And it’s great for the U.S. market, I’m sure! Have everything made in China, put them all in the giant malls that the United States has, give the tweens something to scream over and then grow out of and then take their babies too when they’re little for cheap (but sanitary!) ear piercings, belly button piercings, what-have-you. But in China?
How are you going to charge $6.95 for a fancy necklace that everyone knows you can get on the streets outside the clothing markets for 10 kuai ($1.85), if you bargain it down? Shanghai has an endless supply of pick-up and go cheap accessory markets. I buy my tights at the cart in front of my house, my necklaces and earrings in the People’s Square underground market where I bargain everything down to 3 dollars or less. For more cultured scarves and “funkier” bling (I’m sorry), I’ll buy it from the Xinjiang ladies outside of the Fabric Market. There are already tried and true places to go and get your cheap accessories.
Plus – let’s not forget Forever 21 already is in the building. They’ve got a giant 5 story warehouse that rivals the New York City Times Square location, easy – and it’s in a very similar area of Shanghai, the Nanjing East Road Pedestrian Street, so everyone knows where to go. They’ve got cheap accessories too. But the most important difference is that they also have a brand that has been built over time, slowly and surely in Hong Kong, around the world, but most prominently, in Korea, where all designs and fashions are born (hop off, Japan), especially for the trendy girls in China.
So, I’m not saying that I don’t think it’ll work because maybe UM has some big surprises in store. Maybe they’ll open a huge Taobao store and sell everything mainly through there – give or take a large flagship brick-and-mortar shop for the girls to check out all of the goods. The article quotes a digital campaign. Possible? Sure. Anything can be done right in China. I’m just saying that I hope they think it through before they jump in.