Key points to remember:
China has been a beacon of hope for FRED for some time, and it has seen a significant increase in sales in the French, Italian and Korean markets.
In 2020, China accounted for around 25% of FRED’s global sales, and its expansion has been very rapid.
FRED is one of the first Maisons belonging to LVMH to have inaugurated a flagship store on Tmall. It serves as a powerful online shopping site, but also as a dynamic information platform that reaches a large audience of young people in China.
There is a formidable portfolio of powerful jewelry brands under the auspices of LVMH, starting with Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co. and Chaumet. But it all became a part of LVMH after FRED – the first jewelry brand bought by the French luxury group when it took total shares of the brand in 1996. And surprisingly, this popular jewelry brand has succeeded in Gain massive momentum in China last year when the pandemic was at its peak.
FRED did good business in 2020 simply because his luxury property decided to become fully involved in its branding. In fact, the brand weathered the market storm of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, achieving an astonishing 100 million euros in sales worldwide.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Jing, we met Charles Leung, CEO of FRED Paris, to learn more about the history of the brand, how it adapts to the tastes of young Chinese consumers, etc.
Tell us more about FRED Paris.
With its roots and its taste for the spirit of the Côte d’Azur, the Maison is a daring and visionary jewelry brand that has been manufacturing iconic and superior quality jewelry since its creation in 1936. FRED always seeks to push the boundaries of jewelry contemporary.
Today, the brand is represented by its three distinctive collections, each with its own story that illustrates FRED’s philosophy and values while appealing to both sexes. These are the Force 10 buckle, inspired by sea and sailing, Infinite Chance, based on the number “8” to embody luck and femininity, and Pretty Woman, which explores the limitless facets of love. modern. Women and men wear them for engagements and weddings, but also to celebrate all occasions in life.
What were the secrets of the brand’s excellent performance in China amid the pandemic?
Last year, we focused heavily on China and invested most of our marketing investment in digital and social media platforms in China. These were accompanied by the launch of our flagship store on Tmall Luxury Pavilion and a WeChat store in April 2020 as the country emerged from its darkest days. This strategy has enabled us to reach a larger target through artists who are “friends of the brand” who share the same values as FRED. Our lines were also given a boost with colorful, easy-to-wear novelties, including a special Force 10 buckle, which was sold exclusively online to benefit the China Special Olympics Association. A new advertising campaign called “Live the Joy” was also launched shortly before the summer to reinforce FRED’s distinction among other jewelry houses.
We were also able to expand rapidly in different cities, thanks to our initiative to directly open stores last year in cities like Hangzhou, Shenyang and Qingdao. Just before the start of the Chinese New Year 2021, we opened our third store in Beijing as a brand new store concept, positioned as our national flagship store and featuring a special area dedicated to men’s jewelry. While many luxury brands have been impacted by the pandemic, China has remained a beacon of hope for FRED, and we have even made a positive start in 2020 compared to 2019 – an exceptional achievement for the industry.
What worked and what did not work compared to your expectations?
Overall, China accounted for around 25% of FRED’s global sales in 2020, and this expansion has been very rapid. Regarding e-commerce last year, we made a presence by launching exclusive e-commerce stores on big platforms like Tmall, which serve as powerful online shopping sites but also as information platforms. dynamics aimed at a large young audience. Tmall was one of our top five online stores in China last year and allowed us to recruit and learn a lot about new customers in the country.
But we were not able to accelerate the pace of opening our physical stores in China as much as we would have liked because the search for suitable projects requires time and care. We are meeting a much stronger demand in China, but we will never compromise what we believe in: top quality products.
How did the brand attract first-time buyers in level 1 cities and beyond?
FRED has always been known for its pioneering creations of contemporary jewelry with a young and French style from the Côte d’Azur. In China, we have remained faithful to what the brand represents, and this is how we have been able to attract first-time buyers in level 1 cities such as Shanghai and Beijing since 2015. These two cities are strategically important for their one. young clientele, travelers and often looking for quality French jewelry.
As part of our expansion, we have reached other Tier 1 and 2 cities in the 12 months, such as Guangzhou and Chengdu, in the best malls, and more cities will be added later. As a “laggard” in the market, we were very impressed with the openness and warmth shown by Chinese customers, and working with a prominent star like Guan Xiaotong as the Pretty Woman collection ambassador. helped attract and recruit more fans. .
What are your plans for the rest of 2021?
We have just launched our “Pretty Woman” jewelry collection, dedicated to women who dare to love in their own way, as well as a revisit of FRED’s fine jewelry heritage, especially for our heart-shaped stones. To promote this collection, we will be holding private events and presentations in different cities, starting with the opening ceremony of our new flagship store in Beijing Wangfu Central and followed by a pop-up cafe crossover at Laduree in Tokyo Ba -Tsu Gallery in the Omotesando and a themed party at the iconic Bar83 in Sydney Tower.
In 2021, we will add ten new retail stores to our growing network, including six in China and the other two in South Korea. We will also return to Singapore and unveil a new flagship store in Dubai. But as always, we are committed to reducing the energy consumption of all of our stores – which are already among the lowest in the luxury industry – as part of our sustainability mission.
In the age of e-commerce, will physical stores ever be completely replaced?
Although the convenience of online shopping has become a successful trend, especially in China due to its sophisticated e-commerce platforms and payment systems, we do not believe that e-commerce can ever completely replace consumers. physical stores. We are proud that our stores are praised for their inclusive and welcoming environments.
How important is celebrity support for FRED Paris to appeal to young consumers in China and beyond?
Our founder, Fred Samuel, loved making friends with movie stars and artists throughout his life, including Pablo Picasso and Grace Kelly. They have helped increase brand awareness and desirability around the world. Today, stars like Yang Mi, Fan Chengcheng, Olivia Wang, Orfila Wu and Elvis Han have become more than just customers. They are now “friends of the brand”. We also like to team up with athletes who have common values with FRED. Surfers, boxers, footballers, tennis players and former Olympic gymnastics medalist Li Xiaopeng all own and wear Force 10 bracelets. And alongside Li, FRED is working to raise public awareness and fund mentally disabled athletes in China.