An­tora mus­cles into male order

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSI­NESS - By WANG YING in Shang­hai

An­to­nio Rapis­arda is con­fi­dent there is a niche mar­ket for men’s jew­elry in China.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of An­tora is plan­ning to in­tro­duce a range of cuff­links, cost­ing be­tween 200 euros ($233) and 250 euros, to fash­ion­able Chi­nese stores along with other ac­ces­sories.

Based in Italy, the brand name has been in­volved in men’s jew­elry since 2001, start­ing to sell a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts in China through a Shen­zhen-based dis­trib­u­tor three years ago.

“Sales were pos­i­tive, but we stopped 18 months ago so we could pro­mote our la­bel rather than just sell other prod­ucts,” Rapis­arda, 43, said.

“Most jew­elry items are only for women shop­pers, and even brands of­fer­ing prod­ucts for men are ac­tu­ally uni­sex,” he added.

Rapis­arda hopes to build a ma­jor men’s brand in China by aim­ing for pro­fes­sional cus­tomers, who ap­pre­ci­ate the good things in life, such as clas­si­cally de­signed cuff­links.

Al­ready the com­pany has been suc­cess­ful in the United States, the United King- dom, France, Spain and South Amer­ica.

And there are signs a mar­ket could be out here, de­spite tur­bu­lence in pre­cious metal prices.

Last year, sales of plat­inum goods fell 8 per­cent in more than 8,000 jew­elry stores run by 58 re­tail­ers across China due to a price slump, a Xin­ re­port high­lighted, cit­ing fig­ures from Plat­inum Guild In­ter­na­tional.

In 2017, the re­port has pre­dicted a drop of be­tween 4 and 7 per­cent in sales of plat­inum ac­ces­sories. But this could be more to do with poor qual­ity de­signs and crafts­man­ship than the metal’s ap­peal.

In fact, the same re­port stated that 35 per­cent of con­sumers polled had put off buy­ing jew­elry made from plat­inum be­cause they could not find the de­signs they liked. Fi­nally, the re­port con­cluded a wider range of prod­ucts were needed to meet in­creased de­mand from shop­pers.

To un­der­line the point, a doc­u­ment re­leased by lux­ury re­tail ser­vice plat­form se­ showed the sec­tor for up­mar­ket male brands is grow­ing, ac­cord­ing to an In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Daily re­port.

Rapis­arda is bank­ing on that. His com­pany An­tora is look­ing at tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­tural mo­tifs, such as zo­diac sym­bols, to pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for new prod­uct de­signs.

“Be­fore the Chi­nese New Year in 2018, we are go­ing to launch sil­ver pens dec­o­rated with jew­elry,” he said. “I got the in­spi­ra­tion from Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy.”

Data from Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional re­vealed that rev­enue gen­er­ated from men’s lux­ury jew­elry re­tail jumped from 2.27 bil­lion yuan ($344 mil­lion) in 2012 to 2.54 bil­lion yuan last year.

Most jew­elry items are only for women shop­pers, and even brands of­fer­ing prod­ucts for men are ac­tu­ally uni­sex.” An­to­nio Rapis­arda,

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