A Journey Towards Chinese Fashion Entrepreneur
After a tough but improving 2017, a continued recovery is on the horizon for 2018. The McKinsey Global Fashion Index projects global fashion industry sales to grow by 3.5 to 4.5 percent in 2018. In the meantime, the number of Chinese overseas students in America are estimated to be more than 350,000 with a 13% annual growth rate. Fashion Conglomerate such as LVMH and Kering have already become aware of the consumption by overseas Chinese Millennial. Shuyang Li, a young fashion entrepreneur, also noticed the strong purchasing power of the Chinese Millennial and started to help luxury brands such as D&G, boutique stores such as All Too Human Boston, and retailers such as Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue to plan and execute their marketing campaign targeting Chinese Millennial.
As a young blogger, Shuyang Li started his fashion journey during his sophomore year at Boston University. Within 6 months, his fashion blog attracted thousands of followers and he was specially invited to New York Fashion Week as a Fashion icon during his junior year. His style was approved by different stylists in the industry. As he started building his network in the fashion industry, he discovered different level of desires from brands to target Chinese Millennial in North America. In a conversation with Austin, John who is the Regional manager from Clé de Peau Beauté stated that 40% of his annual sales came from the local Chinese overseas students.
In his senior year, Shuyang founded his Fashion Agency – EDGE Fashion. Up to today, EDGE Fashion has successfully consulted for over ten leading companies in the fashion field, including top luxury brands, boutique stores, cosmetics companies, and retailers.
Shuyang knows the “secrets” between Chinese Millennial, boutique stores, and luxury brands. “The reason why Chinese Millennial would consume luxury goods and designer label products is that they want to convey a different message and show their identities. At the same time, different luxury goods and designer labels also convey different messages. What we do is to connect those needs and facilitate fulfillment of the needs for Chinese Millennial. That’s why when we help luxury brands such as D&G to find their target audience in Boston, we need to identify the two groups of people with different persona and use the correct channel to reach them. Often times, luxury brands do not have access to the insights that we have from inside the Chinese community.” Shuyang said.
Shuyang always brings good numbers and results to his clients. The event he planned for D&G was very successful in terms of KPI. With more than $13,000 in sales within 3 hours and more than 50 attendees to the event, the D&G marketing team was very satisfied with this cooperation and they sent Shuyang special gifts to show their appreciation. “In marketing, we speak with numbers and results, that’s why we are able to retain our clients and build connections with them. We are here to provide solutions.” Shuyang said.
Working in the fashion industry requires a lot of creativity and often times creativity may be very risky. Shuyang often presents creative solutions during his brainstorm process with the clients. “When we mentioned to Clé de Peau Beauté that we will hire a florist at the event, they thought it was too risky. Even though we know this move might be risky, we still decided to combine the cosmetic tutorial with the flower tutorial.” Shuyang said. That tutorial event turned out to be very successful and all the tickets were sold out. The attendees enjoyed both the cosmetic tutorials and the flower tutorial and most of them stayed the whole night.
“We also help retail clients to drive traffic. We work with one of the biggest retailers in the U.S. We consulted for Barneys New York and Saks Fifth avenue in Boston this year to help them drive traffic to their retail space. Also, we work with boutique stores to increase their local awareness and foot traffic. Retail is very seasonal and competitive. Retailers need to host special events to attract the audience and drive traffic to their sites. That’s why we partner with brands to host special events to engage with Chinese Millennial in the retail space.” Shuyang said.
Shuyang’s Fashion PR Agency EDGE Fashion gained reputation and has almost 100% customer retention rate. “Sometimes it is hard to receive referral because one of my clients once told me that we are their secret weapon and they do not want to share with their competitors. Gradually, we started to build larger network within the industry and become friends with most of our clients. After all, network is the most valuable intangible assets in the industry, but we also value true friendships.” Shuyang said.
Shuyang put a high value on creativity and that’s why he hosted the very first Chinese Fashion Blogger Award at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum during New York Fashion Week. “It was a huge event and we spent more than 6 months to prepare. It turned out to be a huge success and people started to pay more attention to us and recognize the creativity of me and my team. We invited 50 Chinese Fashion bloggers across the nation and started the online voting contest. The voting page generated more than 2.2 million visits and received more than 300,000 votes for the contest. We eventually held the award ceremony and fashion forum at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.