To underline the importance of the China market to its business, German luxury leather goods brand MCM showcased its new spring collection titled “Game On! Diamondland!” in Beijing last Friday, the first time a new collection has been shown outside of Europe.
The event, which was held at the Phoenix International Media Center, a giant bowl-like structure encased with a web of silver steel and attended by mainly Chinese celebrities, was meant for its global audience in addition to its all-important Chinese market.
MCM, founded by Michael Cromer in Munich, Germany in the 1970s, fell out of favor in the 90s. In 2005, Korean businesswoman Sung-joo Kim acquired the brand and reinvent and reinvigorate it.
Kim has made Korea MCM’s number one market. China, which accounts for 20 percent of the company’s global sales, is its second biggest market due in large part to advertising campaigns that use Korean celebrities who have a particularly strong influence on Chinese consumers.
“MCM in China is first of all clearly perceived as a luxury brand, which is what we want. But there is still room for clarifying to the final consumer that we are not a Korean brand,” MCM CEO Paolo Fontanelli said.
China will continue to be an important market for the luxury brand, as the company will have 45 stores in mainland China by the end of 2014. In 2015, the company will open stores in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
“We basically own the young and contemporary customer in China. That is one of the reasons for our success,” Fontanelli said. “The challenge is that we had room to grow in the right environment or right positions [with retail locations]. If I had to choose another 10 locations, that would be more challenging because we are already the most important in China’s luxury environment. The second challenge is to maintain the appeal from a product point of view to feed consumer requests for something that is different, to try to grow demographics and give more visibility of MCM into different channels.”
“Today, we are in a different stage of the development of the brand. We want to be more international. This is different from the path other brands have been doing. Usually they are successful in Europe and America, and then try to bring that success to Asia,” he added. “We are the first brand being very successful in Asia trying to go back to its roots in Europe and in the U.S.”
As part of its strategy to position itself as a top-tier luxury brand in the West, MCM is developing a higher-end “Gold Line,” which is manufactured and designed in Italy, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
To reintroduce itself to the West, it reopened its Munich flagship store earlier this year and will open 4 or 5 stores in the United States by the end of 2015, starting with the opening of a New York City flagship in December.
image source: mcm