Herschel Supply is making a big play in China.
The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, which was founded by Lyndon and Jamie Cormack in 2009, is setting up shop with a Shanghai headquarters from which it will manage distribution and retail in the region. Herschel Supply currently works in partnership with distributors in other regions — the brand is sold in 70 countries — but Lyndon Cormack said it was important for them to keep the efforts in China in-house.
“China is second-largest market and to have direct control of that is a huge thing,” said Cormack, who added that they’ve spent the past three years prepping for this. “We are family-owned, so we don’t have a huge board to report to or any investors. We’ve found that if we control our storytelling we are able to better connect to new customers.”
Herschel Supply started selling on Chinese e-commerce platforms JD.com and Tmall.com about 18 months ago, and because the product is performing so well, they thought being on the ground in China was the next best step. They currently have a pop-up in Shanghai, and are working with retail partners across the country to expand the retail footprint. The first permanent location will open at the beginning of the third quarter and Cormack said a year from now there will be 15 to 20 Herschel Supply stores across China.
Cormack is also hoping to target the Chinese consumer by collaborating with KKtP, a Chinese footwear and apparel brand founded in 2013 by Kim Kiroic. Cormack was introduced to KKtP through Kiroic’s collaboration with Vans, where Cormack used to work. The collaboration, which retails from $49.99 to $149.99, is available to purchase on Herschel Supply China’s e-commerce site. The campaign was shot by Kiroic’s team.
“Growing up in North America, I assumed that Chinese consumers want everything from North America. But I’m so stoked to see what designers are doing in the market and it’s important for us to work with them,” said Cormack. “My definition of a global brand is not someone who sells something all over the globe, it’s one that is interconnected globally. That’s what we want to do as a brand.”