LONDON — Just in time for the Chinese New Year, influencer Tao Liang, professionally known as Mr. Bags, is releasing an exclusive jewelry collection with Kering’s contemporary Chinese jewelry label Qeelin.
Based on the brand’s well-known Wulu design — the shape of a Chinese gourd — with a modern fashion touch, this collaboration features a new translucent double-sided Wulu red agate design inlaid with a single sparkling diamond on one side and outlined in 18-karat rose gold.
This is the first time Liang has collaborated with a jewelry brand and Qeelin has worked with an influencer to develop an exclusive collection.
The full collection will be revealed Dec. 28 via Liang’s recently launched Mr. Jewellery & Watch WeChat account and a limited quantity of 100 Chinese New Year gift sets — which includes a Qeelin Wulu red agate pendant with a diamond, an 18-karat rose gold necklace and a red cord bracelet — will be sold exclusively in mainland China through his WeChat mini-program Baoshop from Jan. 5.
An additional 300 Wulu red agate pendants with the rose gold chain will be available from Qeelin’s stores and channels in mainland China from Jan. 18.
With a track record of helping luxury brands, such as Burberry, Tod’s and Longchamp to sell out hundreds of limited-edition bags within minutes, Qeelin’s collection is expected to be met with the same level of enthusiasm from Liang’s followers.
Christophe Artaux, chief executive officer at Qeelin, said in an exclusive interview with WWD that this collaboration can help Qeelin connect more with Millennials and express the brand’s creativity and playfulness.
“Although he is mainly known as a fashion blogger in the leather goods area, his readers have shown growing interests in other luxury products such as jewelry and watches, trusting his recommendations. His readers of more than seven million social media followers known as ‘BagFans’ are very much the modern Chinese consumers with strong purchasing power that aligns with Qeelin’s target audience. Many BagFans have purchased Qeelin products and shared photos of their fashion styling with Qeelin products on social media,” he said.
Artaux also pointed out that the repatriated spending due to COVID-19 has helped Qeelin sustain strong growth in China, as the market recovery within the country has been the fastest in the world and the increase in domestic tourism helped boost business in both domestic retail and duty-free boutiques. The shift in consumer behavior toward more online shopping also helped increase its e-commerce sales.
The auspicious meanings of the Chinese symbolism in Qeelin’s Wulu and Yu Yi design has also created heartwarming emotions that Chinese consumers treasure more in such challenging times.
“As people rally together to overcome COVID-19, it enhances the ‘Chinese Spirit’ which Qeelin also embraces in our designs and communications, reflecting our unique connection with the Chinese people and helped take Qeelin to the next level. It strengthens the differentiation of Qeelin from the other local Chinese jewelry brands or even Western brands,” Artaux said.
The brand appointed two new ambassadors, Liu Shishi and Chen Feiyu, in 2020 to increase both the awareness and prestige of Qeelin and to strengthen its visibility among Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
At the end of 2020, the brand opened two directly operated stores in Shanghai Sogo and Nanjing Deji, as well as wholesale points of sale in Shanghai New World, Fuzhou Taihe and Zhengzhou David Mall. Qeelin now has a global distribution network of 48 boutiques and shop-in-store points of sale.
Artaux said retail expansion outside of China plays an important role to increase brand desirability within China, especially with its flagship store on Place Vendôme in Paris.
In 2021, Artaux said Qeelin will continue to accelerate the expansion of its footprint in the Greater China region, focusing on key mainland Chinese cities, as well as targeting the growing duty-free retail locations within the country.
The brand will also continue to target the important Millennial and Gen Z consumer by developing more collaborations with Chinese key opinion leaders.
“Chinese consumers are very much informed and updated in the digital world where the key opinion leaders play a key role. A well-established Chinese blogger or celebrity can help to push sales and increase brand awareness among their followers,” he said.
“We are also placing efforts in our online expansion with more investments in our WeChat e-commerce mini program and our Tmall official store. Our recent sales performance on Tmall for the Double 11 promotion was very encouraging, with Qeelin ranking third in the Tmall luxury jewelry and accessories category,” he added.