Can Jimmy Choo Conquer China?

on August 20 2013 | in Fashion | by | with No Comments

Jimmy Choo

In many ways Jimmy Choo charted its own path through the luxury industry. First of all, they never had an “it” bag or shoe, and yet they are a mark of good taste worldwide. They bear no label or brand identifying marks, and yet fashionistas the world over recognize them. They have no aggressive “China strategy,” but they are picking up steam there. And they are the darlings of Hollywood celebrities, and yet they take a special interest in being the cobbler of the working woman. These last two paradoxes may actually be related.

“These classic products which women wear to the office are important and we are proud to be associated with the fact that we make beautiful shoes for women to wear to work…That is the side I really like in China. There is an importance to the status of the Chinese woman,” said CEO Pierre Denis. He confirmed that his company is growing in the high double digits thanks to popularity in the United States and Japan, and also to adopting Nicole Kidman as the face of the brand. Denis believes Kidman hits home the brand’s ideas about strong women.

“Nicole Kidman is very trans-generational,” he said. “If you look at strong actresses right now who have longevity, intelligence and worldwide aura, they are all about the same age. Magazines tell you 40 is the best age for a woman.” Empowerment is a theme that runs through Jimmy Choo’s shoe designs, which are rendered by Choo’s niece, Sandra Choi, after the eponymous designer split with the company. “That is where the popularity of our biker boots comes in. The Japanese customers have totally embraced this biker feeling and rock ‘n’ roll attitude. They are crazy about our boots and crazy about pieces that have a rock attitude. This combination of sexy and rock is what we have at this point.”

If Jimmy Choo has figured out what women want, it’s not yet discovered exactly what China wants. China currently contributes less than 10 percent of sales. However, “the timing is good because in essence, as we are privately-owned, we do not have the pressures of the stock market. We can build a brand in China while it is going through a change in the consumption of luxury and clients are open to having something different. It is usually at these times that you are able to establish yourself, ” said Denis, as reported by China Daily.

Jimmy Choo has had a store in Beijing and Shanghai for the last decade. A freestanding men’s boutique in Shanghai will open this fall, while two women’s boutiques opened this summer. Another is slated to come to Beijing.

image credit: darwin bell

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