Covetry : Revamping the traditional retail model for emerging designers
There’s a burgeoning amount of multibrand/concept stores in Shanghai going from Xintiandi’s emerging designer label spaces to 10 Corso Como, Dongliang, Alter, XinLeLu and more. However a new retailer, Covetry, is offering an alternative solution to filling in the gap between big branded labels and the mass
celebrating more niche, lesser-known designers emerging labels in Shanghai’s fashion scene who want a “taste” of the market without the astronomic costs involved.
Wearing The Mozaik Python Clutch, Heirloom Eyewear, Guess Sweater, Revolve Shoes and KeepSake The Label outfit, photo by Kevin Liu during PFW
Covetry; a multibrand platform that acts as a true support for brands who are just starting off, is offering a “pop up” multi-service business model in order to create a mini catalyst boost for its potential partners. The concept was founded by three friends and entrepreneurs in the creative feild: Rinnie Wiryo founder of the handbag label The Mozaik, Zach Goh Creative Director at Pivot PR, and Joanna Lim fashion designer at Oba.
Interviewing Rinnie over freshly brewed morning coffee, she shares on a personal and professional level the future and concept behind the retail project Covetry, how she balances her bag label with the retail projects, and lastly how she juggles these tasks (plus the kids) on a daily basis to pursue her dreams.
How it is being a Power Women in China?
“We are fair as a retailer, we are fair as your partner, and we are fair as a brand”
“ I don’t see myself as a power women, I see myself as someone who has a vision that I want to realize.” Wiyro laughs. Before starting Covetry, she launched The Mozaik bag line in the objective to revive artisanal skills and preserving these skills while creating modern looking designs in an ethical manner.
“Currently there aren’t many shops, platforms, or services that allow to really work and collaborate with designers hand in hand. Their current focus is more on a commercial aspect while not emphasizing on the designers themselves. Especially for designers who are new and young, they put their whole energy and focus on finding qualitative materials and trying to stand out, but they don’t receive the amplification they need because of the platforms and channels they use which often make them look like any other commodity products amongst the flooded competition.” says Wiyro.
Recently moving from their original base at Takashimaya due to the inadequate target audience and store traffic type, the retailer is now based on Nanchang road and created a permanent “pop up” store concept to expand the areas of services while covering the space’s high rental costs. Moreover, moving from Takashimaya also gave the team more freedom to operate creatively with designers as there are fewer restrictions imposed in terms of Visual Merchandising, creativity and more.
“Now we’re able to allocate the front space to designers as a “pop up” where they are free to create their own Visual Merchandise. We understand how difficult it is for emerging designers to showcase their collections in a proper area with high visibility without having it to be a bazaar or market to start with. Lending out this front space to put designers on a pedestal allows them to test the waters over a one-month period through a mutual win-win agreement. Around workshops, media tours, CRM/VIP events, I think it gives designers a good base to know how it feels to have your own space, where we also provide consultancy/training as well as bringing in new traffic from our database and vice versa.”
The Targeted Audience?
“Our current TA is Chinese consumers, however, many of our loyal customers have a lot of international exposure with a western style. They also have a strong affection towards emerging designers where many of them have studied or worked abroad. We’re also seeing the market changing very quickly in terms of consumer appeal for products where we see that they are more and more interested in connecting not only with the product itself but with the designer and background story of the designer label as well.”
Expansion and Future Projects?
“Covetry means something that is curated and hard to get, revolving around groups and niche services/products. We want to focus on emerging designers, who share the values of high quality, handmade products and limited amounts.” continues Wiyro.
With this being, the group is cautiously going phase by phase in order to get the bases right; First by creating and managing a Wechat store and building on social media platforms, thereafter expanding significantly the retail space in order to create more impact. “Retail is a hard industry where the operational costs are extremely high so its important to stay focused, we want to help our designers as not only being social connectors but also consultants in order for them to receive more attention on a B2B / B2C level.”
Rinnie having a family of three kids, her own brand of handcrafted bags, and now launching Covetry, she is juggling between these roles on a daily basis changing hats, “ I have a great support system around me , including my husband, I feel extremely fortunate to have this. I balance my time to dedicate three times a day for work, however having kids comes with endless guilt of not always being able to be there for them as they end up growing very fast an need your undivided attention where I try to make up my days by leaving the phone and focus on them for two full hours a day. I often forget to take care of myself so I am also still trying to find a balance in my life, but having a great support system is very important when starting a business” she says humbly.
The Support System; If you are sincere and genuine, people will be the same back to you, people feel this and that’s the first step to creating an effective support system. Instincts are extremely important, of course I get cheated once in a while, but I don’t dwell on it, I move on and don’t hold a grudge, this is key. Being a mom now, its also helped me be a much better person as it increasing ones awareness.
The Mozaik Bucket bags at Covetry
About The MOZAIK
Wearing The Mozaik Python Clutch, Dori Tomcsanyi Striped shirt, Chloe Glasses (Marchon Eyewear), Guess Jeans Skirt and Jeffery Campbell Shoes, Photo by Ivan Grianti for MFW
Diesel Show MFW, wearing The Mozaik Clutch
Dienastie eyewear from Covetry, The Mozaik Clutch, CMEO Collective shirt, Photo by Ivan Grianti for MFW
Knowing the brand for over 4 years, I’ve seen the label evolve over time where you can feel there’s a story to the brand now, a story of distinctive color and craftsmanship, while playing with leather, snakeskin, calf hair, naturally dyed woven leaves, and more, the label now offers a good balance between the variety of sizes and forms from bucket bags, large totes to evening clutches.
Intricate details on tassels, hand woven braids and new textiles of horsey like hair are special pieces for this season that are being shown for the first time.
“I focus on sustainable products going from the supply chain, to process and the finished product. Hence, as the administrative and operational costs are extremely high in order to make these bags ethically, I can only create limited editions and pieces, max 100 per style.” says Wiyro.
The Mozaik Python Clutch, C/MEO Collection pleated dress, Vintage pants and Ferragamo Shades (Marchon Eyewear). Photo by Alex DeLarge,
“Moreover, Chinas current skillset is one of the strongest in Asia. China has been extremely efficient in developing their skills sets because of the mass demands they were required to make in the past compared to the rest of Asia, especially South East Asia which is not on par with China ( i.e Cambodia, Vietnam,etc.), as they are more used to creating fast products such as basic sports good, T’s, cotton cutting etc.
Although China’s own materials are not the best and they are still using imported materials, skill set is extremely advanced here where you can find seamstresses who can make extremely complex products. I’m very proud to support the <Made in China Movement>”says Rinnie.
Brands spotted at Covetry
Wearing Dienastie Eywear, Guess T-shirt, Stacatto Shoes ,and MateMate for PFW
Covetry features several brands making their Shanghai store debut, such as the intricate range of clutch bags from locally-based Queensback, NYC brand Emily Keller creating reversible knitwear apparel, Dienastie eyewear, Queensback woven clutched, NoBeing statement leather accessories, Playback Concept an emerging HK jewelry label, and more. Here are some that stood out:
Emily Keller Reversible Bustier and Annakiki Pants, Marchon Eyewear, Photo by Ivan Grianti, Milan Fashion Week
The la.Collection Thai brand is probably one of the accessory peices at Covetry which surprised me the most.
Looking like a baby’s Pacifier Soother, the rings are a strong statement piece that gave off a both soft but unpredictable vibe. The conceptual jewelry label created the collection around the idea of water droplets through hand-made blown glass making a rainbow effect when worn.
Arete spends an extreme amount of time to develop their products with highly skilled workers in China, where their strength is really on the intricate details of the product with highly qualitative imported materials.
Arete Coat and Revolve Shoes, Photo by Maojiaying during Paris Fashion Week
Arete PVC Coat from Covetry, Heirloom Bag, Stacatto Shoes and Guess Skirt. Photo by Alex DeLarge
OBA is really revamping their style going more into pants, fluid dresses and shirts instead of outerwear. Very easy to wear with the concept of “one size fits all” is something that is also commercially friendly.
Playback Concept, is a jewelry label founded in HK by Chan Po Fung who created his designs inspired by his childhood memories, we often find wooden elements mixed with metal, wishbones, marbles, wheels and more that is inspired by contemporary design and modern art.
Queensback Clutch at Covetry
Instagram: thecovetry / wechat: thecovetry
Store add: 242 Nan Chang Road, near Rui Jin Er Lu / Store Hours: Tuesday- Sunday 11:00 – 21:00