Belgian handbag brand Delvaux China has opened a flagship store, in Taikoo Li shopping centre in Beijing’s Sanlitun district.
Delvaux also has boutiques in Galeries Lafayette and the Yintai Center in the Chinese capital.
Founded in 1829, the brand opened its first boutique in Hong Kong in 2014 after being acquired by Hong Kong investment group Fung Brands in 2011. It opened its first boutique in Hong Kong in 2014, followed the same year by its first Shanghai store, and a year later in Hangzhou and Beijing.
When it broke into the China market, Delvaux CEO Marco Probst did not expect younger women to buy the bags.
“Our Chinese clients were a big learning curve for us in the beginning,” he says. “We learned pretty quickly that you can have a 20-year-old girl buying a bag for $20,000, so the customer profile pretty much changed, putting the average age down to 25 to 30. Chinese clients are completely open and they learn so quickly.”
Covering two floors, the boutique features an upstairs showroom with white walls and shelving plus white couches. For the launch, the showroom features red-leather bags to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Probst says Delvaux hardly uses advertising campaigns, but gained a boost in interest when Korean actress Gianna Jun of the TV soap My Love from The Star was photographed carrying one of Delvaux’s Tempete bags.
He says building up brand awareness in China has been achieved through “a slow, organic process” that relies mainly on word of mouth plus service that gives a feeling of exclusivity.
Delvaux may close its Galeries Lafayette store and open one more in Shanghai and Chengdu for a total of six locations, then “that’s it”, says Probst, who is being careful about over-distributing the brand.
Meanwhile, the new flagship features mainly classic pieces, as well as the new mostly gold end-of-year Poussiere d’Etoiles collection. Also available is a new sporty style bag, a nod to the athleisure trend in China.