Vera Wang plans for expansion into Asia
Entering the Asian market with full force, Vera Wang is planning to open boutiques as quickly as possible in almost every market across the region.
“It is important to capture the region all at once,” said Mario Grauso, president of Vera Wang, who was in Asia over the weekend as part of a two-week trip that included stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore, as reported by WWD.com. “I don’t think we want to be fragmented. We want to enter with a bigger presence in Asia, so it was a concerted effort to open a few stores at once. The Asian consumer is constantly traveling, so I wanted her to see a store in Seoul, a store in Shanghai.”
The expansion begins with the first space opening in Tokyo this June, which will be a flagship boutique on the ground floor of a bridal store in the Ginza shopping district that is being developed by Hatsuko Endo, one of Japan’s top bridal companies and also Wang’s partner in the market. By July, Wang will have a similar space in a bridal store in Seoul that is currently under construction. The company will also be opening stores this month in Moscow and Sydney as well as a space in Kuwait in July.
According to Grauso, the brand is close to signing a deal with a partner for its operations in Mainland China and Hong Kong. The plan includes a store opening in Shanghai most likely before summer and location openings in Hong Kong and Singapore by the Fall.
The stores will initially emphasize bridal and slowly introduce other product categories as consumer demand grows.
“Clearly when you get to Asia, Vera is most known for her bridal,” Grauso said. “So we feel it is safest and easiest for us to lead with bridal.”
The region, especially the Chinese market, is known for couples that spend copious amounts of money on elaborate weddings, which are used as a display of a family’s wealth and social status.
“The emphasis on weddings is so strong here,” Grauso said. “So we feel really good about it.”
Aside from store expansions, there are talks of Wang having her own television show on the mainland, which will allow the designer to leverage her Chinese heritage and connect with the local consumers.
“Vera is Chinese, so I think she can probably relate to this consumer more than anywhere other than the U.S.,” Grauso said. “Culturally, she really understands the Chinese, so I am not too worried. I would be nervous to enter simply with bridal if Vera weren’t Chinese.”
The new boutiques will have the same product selection and pricing as the other markets, with the exception of red wedding gowns. There are no plans to sell the lower-priced gowns that are available in the mass market of David’s Bridal in the U.S or rent out gowns.