Cha Ling, a skincare brand inspired by the rare Chinese Pu’er tea, has made landfall in China with a flagship store in Shanghai.
Owned by LVMH, the label is the result of a secret project developed by Guerlain president/CEO Laurent Boillot. After five years of preparation, his team launched Cha Ling (which means “the spirit of tea”) in Paris early last year, followed by two boutiques in Hong Kong.
There are reports the brand plans to expand to Beijing and Chengdu soon.
Boillot says the goal is to appeal to an international clientele. The brand’s ingredients come from Yunnan where farmers harvest 500-year-old tea trees. Products include Pu’er-infused cleansing powder, serum, massage cream and a “steam tablet” for purifying pores.
There are also lifestyle products including perfume, clay teapots and ceramics, and forest-grown Pu’er tea. The Shanghai flagship offers spa and massage services featuring its products.
Boillot gained his inspiration for the brand from an orchid research trip to Yunnan for Guerlain. He befriended German biologist and conservationist Josef Margraf and his wife Minguo Li-Margraf, who were working on forest conservation projects there while helping farmers increase their income.
Enchanted by the ancient tea forests and the tea culture, Boillot began to imagine a “Sino-French cosmetics house where ethics and aesthetics, luxury and sustainable development become one”.
Margraf died, but his widow carried on their work and supported Boillot’s vision.