Asia by the Numbers: Part 2
September 24, 2010
160 years, 2 hours, 2 weeks
Just landed in the Philippines and am relaxing in my hotel before dinner. Hong Kong was a blast. I spoke at a YPO event at the iconic Jockey Club. After the event I played a couple hours of Hold’em with some of the YPO’ers.
The next day was my first off day of the trip and I met up with an old friend, Jennifer Woo. Jennifer is the President of department store Lane Crawford. For lunch, Jennifer took me to the China Club, a private restaurant which serves Hong Kong’s best dim sum. The food was unreal.
After lunch we headed over to Jennifer’s flagship store in the IFC Center. The Lane Crawford experience immediately made me realize why China is starting to kick our ass in so many ways. It felt like I was touring a cross between a fashion museum, ode to reality fashion TV and adult amusement park. The company, 160 years old, is the fashion gateway to China.
They have built a whole campaign around that 160 years of heritage working with designers to create artistic takes on the iconic trench coat and Ming chair. In both cases the designer’s interpretations are displayed throughout the store. I would show you some photographs but they don’t allow any to be taken.
In addition every detail of the store had been thought out. The layout, the service, the music were all perfect. In fact if you liked the music you could cozy up to the cd bar, make yourself an espresso and listen to more of the same until you found a cd you wanted to buy. (Lane Crawford has a musicologist whose job it is to find fun music to play in the store)
The entire experience of being at Lane Crawford was exactly that, an experience. I contrasted it with my last department store experience in the States. The Bloomingdales’s at Stanford was disheveled and depressing. I don’t remember if they been played music but the moment I walked in I couldn’t wait to get out.
Jennifer left me to shop and before I knew it I had spent two hours exploring the store. I thought about the last time I spent two hours shopping and I realized that it was actually not in person but online. As I reflected on this, I remembered the words of my friend Kevin Compton, owner of the San Jose sharks among many other things. We were talking about how to keep fans coming to games rather than staying at home and watching on their HD televisions. Kevin explained that you simply need to give fans an experience that they can’t get in their living room.
And that is what Lane Crawford has done – they have given the shopper a unique experience impossible to replicate via a website. Every two weeks they make significant changes to the store to make the experience fresh.
There have been rumors that Lane Crawford will be entering the US market soon. I look forward to that day as it might get the people that run Neiman Marcus etc to get off their asses.