“Bad boy” jewelry brand debuts in Shanghai
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.
Mitchell Binder is hoping to double the number of King Baby stores in China over the coming years.