The non-traditional fashion trade event has created opportunities for buyers, store owners, and distributors, as well as press and media to connect with carefully curated lifestyle brands and designers from around the globe. Buyers from Japan, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Australia, and other regions came to The HUB to discover the niche fashion brands who are ready to explore the Asia-Pacific region.
Since The HUB’s launch in 2013 by fashion experts Richard Hobbs and Peter Caplowe, the fair has welcomed over 200 exhibitors from Europe, North America, China and Hong Kong, Japan, and several Southeast Asian countries.
We had the opportunity to interview two executives hailing from brands presenting at this iteration of the trade show, who shared their experiences entering one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world. The first of these is a talk with Spektre Eyewear Founder Niccolò Pocchini.
Present in over 42 countries, Spektre glasses have become one of the favorite choices for many worldwide KOLs and street style globetrotters from Anna Dello Russo and Garance Doré to The Lifestyle Hunters, along with many other top models and fashion editors. The Italian brand has created the “it eyewear” buzz during fashion week trend spotting due to its edgy, eye-catching frames and “made-in-Italy” identity. Today, the brand is entering its first step in China through The HUB. In the interview below with Pocchini, he explains his personal insights on China and what he believes it will take to grow his business in the country.
The European market is very familiar with your brand—it has received a high amount of attention from fashion and lifestyle press and street style bloggers, as well as endorsements from top fashion world figures and celebrities. How do you plan on creating the same successful buzz in China?
The branding activity around name building is an art that needs many determined brush strokes. Every continent and every area of the world has its needs and preference to create a particular touch.
Using mainstream big names can be an option in your plan of marketing, but if you don’t develop your local relations [by] spreading the word and buzz by yourself in the fashion community, making trendy what you do, [and] endorsing your product on interesting people (“interesting” doesn’t necessarily mean VIP; we’re living in the [era of] social media where everybody can be followed by millions of people)—if you don’t go “local” to check what’s the local feeling about fashion and what’s going to happen according to each culture, I think you ‘re not going big.
As an entrepreneur, if you travel, your brand travels. I‘ve been in 24 countries in the last year, so be young, and be energetic!
What is the distribution strategy the brand plans on using when entering China and why?
Given the fact [we’ve been] around [for] five years and something more now, we can say our distribution talks by itself, making new interesting doors [to those] wanting our product and contacting us. After all, we’re very selective and our aim is to become iconic but also coherent in the development of the collection as well as maintenance [of] the price policy and a precise circle of customers that we work with.
We work with a good mix of concept stores and boutiques, giving them the exclusivity and seldom creating a collaboration with them. This is very special for us; sometimes when we do a 30-piece special collection, I feel sad seeing the sunglass leaving the factory as there’s only 30 pairs and it took so long to make them!
This year, we did a collaboration with 10 Corso Como Seoul, Antonia Milan, and we’re going to do one with Luisaviaroma.com and NK Store São Paulo. It took some years to arrive to this achievement.
Different from other Italian brands, in China we don’t plan to open our official store, and we want to hit [a] max of 120 doors—[in] a market of 1.2 billion people, this means being very selective. In this way, we hit customers with a very rich personal taste and good outfits.
How are the buyers at The Hub responding to your collections and product via Europeans trade shows?
The HUB for us is a special corniche where we can meet our customers twice a year. With some of them we became friends, and this makes me very happy. I adore cross-culture and learn a lot from their stories, and I also like to share mine with them. We also prefer a “live encounter,” so in this way, anonymous emails now have a face!
How do you feel about your first collaboration with The HUB?
We will always participate [in] the fair. Last time, for the first edition, I brought over five friends with brands [of their own] to the fair—they are all coming back.
Yanie Durocher is a lifestyle and fashion blogger at The Marginalist.