Cool moves from fashion's Follies

Updated: 2013-03-21 16:53

By Cecily Liu and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

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Cool moves from fashion's Follies

Folli Follie's new advertising campaign this spring features the theme of "East meets West". [Photo / China Daily] 

Success in China as enjoyable as an ice-cream come on a Greek Island: Top executive

Some said it was a courageous move when the Greek jewelry and accessories brand Folli Follie made Hong Kong model Gaile Lai its global brand ambassador in 2011.

Here was a European brand putting an Asian face on its posters in London, New York and other major cities around the world.

But Johnnie Voutsas, vice-president of Folli Follie's international division, says such a choice is the norm for a company that has been making groundbreaking decisions since it was founded 30 years ago.

Cool moves from fashion's Follies

"For other brands, the move may be courageous, but for us it is an ordinary thing. It's a part of taking the risk to achieve things," Voutsas says.

"We wanted this campaign to show our commitment to the Chinese market and build trust with the Chinese customer."

Indeed, Folli Follie's initiatives to attract Chinese customers are everywhere.

In London, it has recruited Chinese-speaking guides to help customers in its stores, and last month held a Chinese Spring Festival party at its flagship store in Bond Street, London, giving guests store vouchers in red envelopes, a traditional Chinese New Year gift wrapping.

And as this is the Year of the Snake, Folli Follie has designed a necklace depicting a silver snake wrapped around a red heart made of crystal to commemorate the occasion.

Last September, Folli Follie sold a moon-shaped jewelry box at London's Harrods department store to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, when mooncakes are traditionally eaten.

Founded in 1982 in Greece by Dimitris and Ketty Koutsolioutsos, Folli Follie entered the Chinese market in 2002.

Since then, its affordable price range, cosmopolitan design and bright colors have caught the imagination of China's young and aspiring middle-class women, and made China its largest market.

Today, Folli Follie has 150 points of sale in more than 50 Chinese cities.

"Back in the early 2000s, China was just opening up, and there were lots of Western brands entering China, but a lot were not ready and had to exit straight away. We became successful because we had a clear vision," Voutsas says.

"We didn't just enter the Chinese market, but had in mind the picture of what we'll do in the market in five or 10 years' time. We were used to dealing with international markets."

He says Folli Follie's revenue from the Greek domestic market is low, and so it has had to learn how to localize in each of its international markets.

"Witnessing Chinese consumers' appetite for fashion and a posh lifestyle is a part of our vision. We then took careful and methodological steps to establish the brand in China."

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