Art: Turning culture into profit engine
In contrast, Fang Suo Commune will open its third branch in Chongqing in March and is going to enter Qingdao later this year and Shanghai in 2017.
“To achieve business success, a cross-industry bookstore needs a big enough scale. But most importantly, we need a professional team to operate it. The leading members in Fang Suo’s team all have more than a decade of experience in the book or retail industry,” Liao says.
Quan Jiyu, 29, and his girlfriend have already become fans of Fang Suo Commune’s Chengdu branch.
“Fang Suo has a wide collection of books. I can have fun coming across some surprisingly good books here,” Quan says.
“And many are imported books that are difficult to find in other bookstores or online.”
Yang Ying, 28, Quan’s girlfriend, is attracted to the fine handicrafts sold at Fang Suo. She bought a delicate Japanese ceramic teapot for around 900 yuan.
She got to know the bookstore from shopping center Taikoo Li’s recommendations on WeChat, the country’s most widely used mobile messaging app.
Fang Suo Commune’s Chengdu branch is located in the upscale Taikoo Li mall, while its Guangzhou branch is located in the Taikoo Hui mall, the city’s biggest cluster of highend brands such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton.
“Reading and knowledge should be valued higher than the luxury brands,” says Mao Jihong, president of clothing brand Exception de Mixmind and founder of Fang Suo Commune.
“Traditional Chinese culture values reading books, but this seems to have been forgotten by many people as they have been chasing wealth,” Mao says.
“However, I still have a dream of opening a bookstore which is a public space where knowledge, science, wisdom and lifestyle are spread to the public.”
In the Chengdu branch, Mao is going to conduct more exciting experiments, such as organizing poetry reading events and extending the business hours for a certain area for bands to stage performances.
“Fang Suo Commune well complements the upscale shopping mall. Consumers, especially young people, come to shopping malls for more than clothes and bags. They also seek somewhere to learn and get inspired,” says Yang, the fan of Fang Suo Commune’s Chengdu branch.