“Bad boy” jew­elry brand de­buts in Shang­hai

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai

xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com. cn

Though Mitchell Bin­der may have said that his hand­crafted jew­elry are de­signed for “the cho­sen few” such as A-lis­ters like Johnny Depp and Ri­hanna, he is none­the­less ex­pand­ing his pres­ence in China, hav­ing re­cently opened his 11th store in the coun­try on June 16.

While his King Baby brand al­ready has two flag­ship stores in Bei­jing, Bin­der said that it was only nat­u­ral that he opened his lat­est bou­tique in Shang­hai.

“Shang­hai is like New York, but much big­ger and more di­ver­si­fied. It’s a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Asia. This is the door to Asia, while Bei­jing is more China,” said Bin­der.

Lo­cated in Grand Gate­way, one of the city’s most lux­u­ri­ous shop­ping malls, this new store of­fers cus­tomers the widest selec­tion of the brand’s prod­ucts in China. Its grand open­ing was at­tended by Chi­nese Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret model He Sui.

China is now the sec­ond largest mar­ket af­ter the United States for King Baby, which was founded in 2000 and is known for its bold, “bad boy” de­signs that of­ten fea­ture skulls and dag­gers. The brand is one of the few from the United States that ex­ports hand­crafted pieces to China.

“My fo­cus is men’s sil­ver jew­elry and with my style, there is no com­peti­tor. We are prob­a­bly known more for our men’s col­lec­tion but we are cur­rently work­ing on more women’s de­signs too,” he told China Daily USA.

When asked about how he felt about Chi­nese men not be­ing used to wear­ing ac­ces­sories or jew­elry, Bin­der joked that he be­lieves “their girl­friends will con­vince them”.

By part­ner­ing The Re­tail Group LTD, a lead­ing re­tail devel­op­ment com­pany in China that also helps to run Dutch denim brand G-Star Raw in the coun­try, Bin­der is aim­ing to dou­ble the num­ber of King Baby stores in China over the next few years.

Ac­cord­ing to Gems and Jew­elry Trade As­so­ci­a­tion of China, the re­tail value of the Chi­nese jew­elry mar­ket had grown from 160 bil­lion yuan ($24.29 bil­lion) in 2006 to 500 bil­lion yuan in 2015. It is now the world’s sec­ond largest con­sumer mar­ket af­ter the US.

How­ever, due to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s anti-cor­rup­tion and aus­ter­ity mea­sures, in ad­di­tion to fall­ing gold prices, the mar­ket has wit­nessed much slower growth over the past two years, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try in­sid­ers.

Chen Shichang, gen­eral man­ager of Hong Kong’s ma­jor jew­elry re­tailer Chow Tai Fook, noted that there has been a ma­jor change in why Chi­nese con­sumers shop for jew­elry nowa­days.

In­stead of chas­ing af­ter “ex­pen­sive”, “heavy” and “large” col­lec­tive pieces as an in­vest­ment, the younger gen­er­a­tions are ac­tu­ally look­ing for more af­ford­able “ac­ces­si­ble lux­ury” pieces for daily wear.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mitchell Bin­der is hop­ing to dou­ble the num­ber of King Baby stores in China over the com­ing years.

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