Parisian womenswear brand Carven has just opened its first freestanding store in Beijing and is already set to launch its second in two weeks. The company now has four shops in China with the newest boutique being in the Sanlitun North shopping complex, and the forthcoming store in the Shindong Place shopping mall.
Carven’s latest Beijing locations are a part of the brands push for international expansion. The 860 sq. foot Sanlitun location opened with some fanfare with the presence of Chinese actresses Chen Ran, Bai Baihe and Zhu Zhu, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
While Henri Sebaoun, president of Carven, doesn’t rule out the possibility of future Chinese stores in other cities beside Beijing and Shanghai, he did say that the brand is now focusing on direct sales through sites like Alibaba. “At the very least, it would give greater visibility to the brand,” he said.
The brand is already quite active on social media and chat sites like Weibo and Wei Xin, but Sebaoun is hoping to do more to further connect with Chinese shoppers.
Carven hopes to offer itself as an alternative to the big luxury names in China with its modern, understated style.
Prices in Carven’s Chinese stores are markedly higher than in the brand’s locations outside of China—30 to 40 percent higher—due to lofty rent, taxes, and slower shopper traffic, but the company, along with their distributer, the Bluebell Group, is trying to keep costs as low as possible. Because China is such an important market, the brand is willing to absorb some of the costs to keep the brand as “affordable luxury”.
image credit: carven