Vera Wang is weighing its move into Asia. The company is considering a number of options including bridal gown rental which is popular in China.
Company President Mario Grauso confirmed the label is interested in opening freestanding stores in Asia. “We’re working on it. We’re not close enough to anything to discuss it. There are no term sheets out,” he said. The difficulty comes in finding an entrance point to the market.
Grauso says when Wang enters a new market, it always starts with the higher-end merchandise. Currently the company is selling some Asian accounts, but it’s not a large business, he noted. “We want to develop some kind of retail presence [there]. Specialty store distribution is limiting. We have to do something with our name. We’re close to some deals, and are meeting with partners. We should have something by the fall,” he said.
The label is particularly eyeing the bridal market, but they realize buying dresses is not popular in China. Grauso said there is a good percentage of women who are buying bridal gowns, but “a larger percentage is renting.” He said stores in both China and Japan would offer rentals.
Ideally, Grauso sees Wang boutiques in Asia being similar in size to those in Chicago and Los Angeles, ranging between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet. The stores would primarily sell and rent wedding gowns, but would offer “a certain amount of ready-to-wear” as well. “It’s all about space constraints. We’d carve out a space for ready-to-wear,” he added.
Despite the bridal focus, Vera Wang isn’t looking to limit its offerings. “We’re looking at everything,” Grauso said. “We’re interested in hearing what the partners are interested in [beyond] the bridal stores.”
photo credit: vera wang