Celia Bernardo, the Spanish designer behind the label Celia B, has opened the brand’s first store in China.
Bernardo, nicknamed the “queen of crochet,” decided to open the store in Shanghai’s Gubei district, which is known as a Japanese and Korean enclave, to gain more exposure to Japanese customers, according to Women’s Wear Daily. She already has a small presence in Japan at International Gallery Beams in Tokyo.
Though Bernardo launched Celia B two years ago, she already has 15 points of sale worldwide, in locations including Dubai, Kuwait, and Europe, and a robust wholesale business selling to high-end multi-brand stores. In fact, Net-a-Porter now offers Celia B products for the fall-winter season.
The designer’s goal for the future is to expand further into Asia into Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Over the last year, Celia B sales have doubles, and the designer attributes her success in China to the changing tastes and spending habits of the growing Chinese middle class.
“Here people spend a lot of money on clothing even though they are very expensive compared to the value of living – that’s not the case in Europe,” she said. “People are braver here, they like to mix and match and to stand out, whereas in Europe people are more conservative.”
Celia B’s designs are inspired by Bernardo’s travels and combine traditional handicrafts with crochet. She was particularly inspired by the indigenous people of Yunnan Province who emigrated to Laos and Thailand. Celia B prices range from 1,500 renminbi to 3,000 renminbi (US$245-$490).
The designer does acknowledge that there are challenges in entering the Chinese market, however, saying, “You need a lot of investment in marketing, to talk the language and to go through their channels.”
image credit: celia b