The prosperity washing over China has a ripple effect. In a country with 875,000 millionaires and a thriving middle class enamored with luxury goods, business opportunities are emerging.
For one, mending luxury bags is becoming a profitable business in China.
Well off as some Chinese may be, luxury handbags are far from a disposable product. Those who own them are becoming increasingly aware about upkeep.
As a result, luxury bag mending shops that provide efficient, personalized and professional services are spreading.
Duke Du, the founder of Sac Igant, a luxury handbag repair company in Shanghai, has struck gold.
“In general, Shanghai people are strong consumers and are fashion conscious,” Du said, “We start at 300 yuan each bag and then we charge based on what needs to be done. Washing, replenishing colors, cobbling, are all charged different rates.”
In just 3 months, 21-year-old Zuo Dengjuan from Anhui province, transitioned from the inspection and quarantine department to the luxury bag sector. “I spent one month learning to distinguish between real and fake brands and gradually learnt how to wash off stains and fix cracks,” says Dengjuan, who knew nothing about handbags prior to her arrival at Sac Igant. “One bag takes two to three weeks to mend and every month I have to deal with 40 to 50 bags. Sometimes it is hard to meet the quota but the commission is quite seductive,” she explained. In addition to a basic salary of roughly $391, Dengjuan also receives commission and bonuses based on the number of bags she mends.
Dengjuan is just one of Sac Ignat’s busy bag repairers. “We have 16 assistants in total and our goal is for each of them to maintain 40 to 50 bags a month,” Du says.
“Our services are usually recommended by the big brand stores,” said Du. “After proving our technical strength, we cooperated with major luxury brands and they have become our most effective promoters.”
Du’s biggest impediment to business are the copycat stores popping up in Shanghai. However, as with purchasing luxury bags, Chinese consumers are keen to choose quality when selecting a repair shop. Because of this, Du is certain his business will continue to grow.
Mending bags can easily spawn another business opportunity — selling second-hand bags. “Some owners of severely damaged bags want to exchange them for money, allowing us to do second-hand business as well.”
Du hopes to open a salon for high-end bag owners and bring in other luxury goods.