If you open your closet and take a look at your fashion collection in it, how many pieces of garments of yours are designed by local fashion brands in Macao? In recent years, the fashion industry in Macao has been emerging. Quite a number of fashion brands have been trying to attract more consumers and increase their market exposure by integrating functionality into their fashion designs, making their fashion items more comfortable to wear and providing new features. In this issue, we have invited three local fashion brands from the pyjamas, shoes and swimwear sector to share their entrepreneurial journey and business philosophy with us.
Fashion develops at a rocket speed, which resonates with a classic quote from the popular reality TV show Project Runway: “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” Founded in 2002, local women’s shoe brand Lexx Moda knows this well. For the past decade, Lexx Moda has been making changes to its operation and design. What remains unchanged is the brand’s pursuit of making comfortable shoes. “For shoes, comfort is the top priority. A pair of good-looking shoes won’t appeal to you if they are uncomfortable to wear,” the brand’s founder Sanjo Iong said.
A small shop from overseas transformed into a Macao brand
Lexx Moda was originally a small shop that Iong opened in Northampton in the UK by chance. “At that time, except for first-tier fashion brands, common shoe brands did not offer a lot of diversity in shoe products. So I decided to import some products from mainland China and then sell shoes with designs that I like in the UK,” Iong said. Also influenced by the fashion scene in Europe, Iong decided to come back to Macao and opened her own company in 2003, focusing on developing a women shoe brand.
Through the network that she built in the UK, Iong was able to participate in different exhibitions in Europe and promote her shoe designs to businesses directly, which can be considered as B2B (business to business) promotion. Her early clients were mostly from the UK and France. Now, Iong’s main clients are generally based in Japan, Spain, France, Italy, Hong Kong, etc. She revealed that she didn’t promote her shoes to different businesses in the brand name of Lexx Moda. “At that time, I thought that only top fashion companies have brands. But then I realised that the brand name is only a summary of a company’s style and fashion. Then I gained the confidence to develop clients through promoting my own design.”
Careful selection of colour
Lexx Moda has been around for over a decade. According to Iong, even though the brand will make certain adjustments based on recent fashion trends, their shoe products are still mostly slippers, flats, and casual shoes that prioritise comfort. “We want our customers to enjoy light shoes and walk freely, while giving customers a fashion persona. That’s why we need to pay extra attention to the choice of materials and colour,” Iong explained. Lexx Moda prefers natural materials, including hemp, cotton, leather and some plant materials. Coupled with the use of different colours and changing line patterns, Lexx Moda’s products can leave a great impression on the customers.
Entering the Greater Bay Area
Besides the design aesthetic, Lexx Moda has also added new elements to its marketing operation in recent years. Considering factors such as the increasing popularity of e-commerce, Iong pointed out that sales growth had encountered the bottleneck as the sales were mainly contributed by promotion at exhibitions. That’s why Lexx Moda decided to explore the B2C model (business to customer) two years ago, starting sales on its official website and on social media to actively approach customers. Supported by the Cultural Industry Fund of Macao, Lexx Moda had opened its first flagship store in the Greater Bay Area this March. The flagship store is located in Greater Bay Area’s centre Guangzhou. “The market in mainland China is very competitive. But still, there is a huge market and people spend a lot on not only on top brands but also common brands,” she analysed. Before becoming a famous brand, Lexx Moda needs to appeal to consumers with reasonable pricings. Therefore, most of the shoes at the flagship store in Guangzhou are priced between RMB300 and RMB600.
Iong stated that the brand needs to increase the diversity of shoe products after the opening of the physical outlet to show rich visual effects and variety. That’s why Lexx Moda is also producing other shoe products in addition to slippers and flats. The entire fashion industry has been changing in recent years. In the past, brands would roll out new products after several months. But now, the product cycle has changed to weeks as brands would launch new products after three or four weeks to cater to consumers’ demand.
Importing the shopping experience
As for future plans, Lexx Moda is planning to open a second store in the Greater Bay Area. However, the goal here is not to increase sales, but rather to utilise the latest technologies to build an experience shop of the brand. The experience store will allow customers to pick the shoe material, colour and design by themselves to create their ideal shoes. “We have an IT team that is responsible for this matter,” Iong said. “We are hoping to increase customers’ participation in the experience store to create a new shopping experience.”
Lexx Moda | www.lexxmodamacau.com