Founded in Munich in 1976, MCM is known for its colourful $700 studded canvas backpacks. It plans to expand in markets from Japan to Europe.
“We have not even explored the Japanese market yet, we are just starting there,” says Kim.
Unlike many European brands, MCM does not have a star designer, but has an in-house team of stylists to develop its products. Its collection is loaded with logo-embossed products. Its prices are around the same level as brands such as Celine and Louis Vuitton, and it makes around $700 million in annual sales, similar to Versace, reports Reuters.
South Korea has the world’s largest duty free market with annual sales of about $8 billion. MCM is the second-biggest duty free fashion brand by sales after Louis Vuitton, says Kim. Overall, MCM makes about 60 per cent of its sales in Asia, with the balance in Europe, the Middle East and America.
The youngest daughter of South Korean magnate Kim Soo-keon, Kim built her businesses from scratch after gaining experience at US department store Bloomingdale’s then developing Gucci’s South Korean business. After licensing MCM in 1991, she bought the German brand from a Swiss financier in 2005.
Kim says she estimates that within five years, 15 to 20 per cent of MCM’s sales could be through eCommerce.