By Stephany Zoo
When a customer buys an Omega watch in the company’s Milan store, the company commits to replacing the battery and cleaning the watch for free. In China, not only is the watch about 3 times more expensive, but customers have to pay 1,600 yuan each time the battery needs changing. While some are worse than others, nearly all foreign luxury brands seem to be doing their utmost to squeeze every last drop out of the allegedly “unsophisticated” Chinese consumers’ wallets.
Vera Wang, Queen of Bridal, has also topped this profit maximization scheme to the max. While brides are bribed with wine and flattery in her other flagships around the world, she’s expecting the brides to bribe her in China.
When Vera Wang opened up their two-story, 850 square meter flagship in the heart of Shanghai, potential brides were outraged. Why? This first and only Vera Wang store in all of China charges a non-refundable fee of 3,000 yuan to try on gowns for only 90 minutes.
Despite this preposterous fee, the store has gained a large number of visitors, with brides booking months in advance to try on dresses and be taken advantage of.
Given the fact that 10 million couples marry in China each year, and the wedding industry will be estimated at $80 billion yuan, Ms. Wang is sure to make millions in profits on her the hundreds of pricey couture dresses overzealous brides are dying to wear.
The very worst part? Vera Wang is a first generation Chinese American, who’s parents were born in Shanghai-the very city she is now commercially abusing.
The brand defends the trying fee as a method of protecting their designs, and photography is also not allowed in the store. Maybe she’ll charge a looking fee next. If no one comes into her store at all, her designs will really be protected.