Photo by tenshots.
Fashion Friday is a brand new weekly column that will appear on Shanghaiist every Friday, 9am on the dot. Here’s where you’ll find the latest on what’s hot, what’s not, meet designers, and get your fix on fashion events going about in town.
Heirloom Handbags is opening up their 5th branch in Xintiandi Style tomorrow! We are super excited about this launch event, as we have always been a big fan of this brand and their gorgeous leather products.
Two beautiful and talented ladies – Lynn Lu and Tiffany Wu, started Heirloom in 2006. The duo met during their college years in LA and remained very good friends, despite the fact they were often continents apart due to study aboard and work opportunities.
Inspired by their own jet-setting lifestyle, the two came together to create a line of handbags that was not only modern, chic, functional in design and superior in quality, but also affordable to women who loved to flirt with fashion and to own a statement piece each season.
We managed to catch them in between their travels to ask them a few questions on why they have decided to move to Shanghai; where they draw their design inspirations; their take on counterfeit products and also a sneak peak into their brand new offerings this season!
Shanghaiist: You are originally a US brand, what makes you want to set up a store in Shanghai?
H: At the time we started Heirloom in the States, both of us had full-time jobs. Heirloom, at that time, was a side-project for the us. It was not until 2008 when we had moved to Shanghai and realized that unlike in the U.S. where new, up and coming brands are readily available; Shanghai’s market was saturated with only international luxury labels. There were virtually no brands that offered high quality, yet stylish products for the more price conscious consumers. Seeing this opportunity, we decided to take Heirloom on as a full-time project and within a year, opened up our first store in 2009.
Tell us a little more about your logo / your branding?
H: The Heirloom logo is a play on east and west aesthetics. The alphabetic letter “H”; is fused into a traditional, Chinese lattice design. The Heirloom logo embodies not only the spirit of the brand, but also the roots of its founders, Lynn and Tiffany.
Where do you get inspirations to design your products?
H: Inspirations can come from anything in our daily lives; can be a particular pattern on home curtains, a particular detail on someone’s dress, or just rummaging through vintage stores. For our very first collection, we named all of our bags after one of our friends and each bag was designed with them in mind -from their lifestyles, personalities, to personal flair.
What is the shopping experience you like to give to your consumers? Can you describe it to us?
H: When our customers enter an Heirloom store, first and foremost we want them to feel a sense of comfort. Inspired by our brand name-HEIRLOOM, our store evokes a timeless feel. Like our most precious photographs, each Heirloom piece is placed in delicate framed shelving to signify the importance of each piece to the designer. Shiny surfaces and our signature meshed studs are carefully embedded like artwork in the walls, for an understated glamor. We want our customers to feel special when they settle into our luxurious couches and to have each bag delivered to them to be tried on.
What are some of the hottest products in your store right now?
H: Heirloom strives to create iconic bags each season to add to our signature range. One of our long-standing signature pieces is our Veronica bag. Available in two sizes, it’s design is the perfect combination of elegance and edge -soft, quilted, supple Nappa leather paired with python/snake trim and light gold zipper detailing for a glamorous edge.
Veronica with striking royal blue python skin!
Another signature product is our signature tote collection, comprised of our Lil Twin and Big Twin totes. Named after the designer Lynn and her twin sister, each season, Heirloom plays on color and detailing to create variations to this classic shape.
Gorgeously stylish and versatile Heirloom tote.
On counterfeit products here in China, how do you think you are able to win in this sea of counterfeit goods? What’s the winning mix and strategy? (I saw many vendors pushing for fake LVs and Gucci outside your Xinle Lu store).
H: To be honest, I don’t know if there is such thing as “winning”; in this situation. If one day I find the vendors on Xinle Lu selling counterfeit Heirlooms, for a split second I think I would actually be excited because it would actually mean we’ve made it and that there is some sort of demand for our products. But until then, I don’t know if any brand has come up with the strategy to counteract the whole counterfeit market in China. The market is just so prevalent and vast that, without the help of government, it would be virtually impossible to regulate.
Think the only thing we can improve on is the shopping experience that our customers receive when they shop in our stores. The shopping experience is the one thing that counterfeit vendors cannot replicate. We want our customers to walk away with not only a great bag, but also a great experience. We are still working on improving this aspect of our brand and are always trying to think of new services to provide to our customers that are unique to our stores.
Allie bag – Lovingly made by Tiffany and Lynn.
If you can dress someone with your handbags and accessories; who would you dress and what product will you use to dress her?
H: There are many women we would love to dress with Heirloom. If we were to pick one, we would choose Kate Middleton. She embodies elegance and style with a hint of spice. She is great at mixing high and low and making the outfit work. We would pick Heirloom’s signature Lil Twin Tote or the Mia clutch.
Multi-function Mia clutch bag. Hold it as a clutch or you can sling it on your shoulders!
Congratulations on the opening of your 5th Heirloom branch at Xintiandi Style. Can you give our readers and budding entrepreneurs some tips on doing a successful business in China?
H: Be patient and steadfast. Worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, quick or perfect – this is even truer in China.
Well said ladies! But there are some things you don’t have to wait that long… Heirloom Launch Party is happening tomorrow afternoon (10th December 2011 between 2pm to 6pm)! If you are free, drop by their new store in Xintiandi Style to browse (buy) some bags, chew on some cupcakes, drink some champagne and you might even be able to take home some free gifts complimentary of Heirloom if you bring along this invite attached below! Whilst stock last!
Heirloom Xintiandi Style Flagship Store
Address: Xintiandi Style Shop L118, 245 Madang Road, Luwan District, Shanghai PRC
Telephone: 021 6301 3559
Chiew Ling Tan is Shanghaiist’s resident fashion columnist and purveyor of all things beautiful. The creative services director at advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty by day, she’s also the co-owner of a multi-label fashion boutique nana & bird and an accomplished jewellery designer. Reach her at [email protected] with your story ideas.