Step into Swarovski China Headquarters: An Insight into the Mystery of the Crystal Fashion Kingdom
On May 17th 2019, WashU-Fudan EMBA Program opened its first “Industry Insight Roundtable Series” in 2019. 37 alumni walked into the international fashion brand Swarovski and looked into the secrets of the crystal fashion empire—a fashion empire that has always been the leader of its time.
Swarovski was created in Austria in 1895. Always dedicated to excellence in the imitation of the crystal cutting process, and pursuing the enthusiasm of innovation and design continuously, Swarovski’s reputation of a world-famous jewelry and accessories brand—with its unique fashion style—has been highly sought after by women all over the world.
The EMBA alumni visited Swarovski's new headquarters in China, touring the fashionable, new and dazzling crystal world, learning about the company’s history, development advantages and day-to-day operations.
Take the initiative and embrace the blue ocean of fashion consumption
Ms. Judith Sun, Class 6 alumnus of WashU-Fudan EMBA program, is currently the Managing Director of Consumer Goods Business, Swarovski, China. In conjunction with BoF and McKinsey's “2018 Global Fashion Index”, she described the current and future direction of the global economy, consumer habits and the fashion system. In view of the current Asian region, especially the Chinese fashion retail market’s blue sea momentum, she shared how Swarovski takes advantage of the development opportunities of the industry in the fashion jewelry consumption field, and its position for success through its rapid development.
She believes that, in order to take the initiative to embrace the current fashion consumption of the blue sea, clear positioning is first and foremost. This also includes solidifying Swarovski as a global high-end fashion jewelry brand, and constantly strengthening the brand image management and optimization. Secondly, integrating e-commerce, giving full play to the role of online sales, having online and offline sales push and elevate each other is important as well. Thirdly, it’s about placing consumers at the core, catering to the market demand of China—for example, bringing the hot Chinese traditional festivals into the product design and development—and constantly trying new methods of smart retail. "We introduced the Red Swan accessories for the Chinese New Year this spring, catering to the elements of the Red Chinese New Year, and it was especially popular when it was launched," she said.
The “Win in China” strategy clarifies the way forward
EMBA alumni were introduced to Swarovski's strategic objectives by Jiajun Lu, who was the person responsible for the Swarovski Win in China project. To better develop strategic planning, the Swarovski Win in China project was established in 2017, drawing up a five-year development plan. It was proposed to deepen the development of a consumer-centered retail system with the orientation of efficiency, rejuvenation and digitization.
He pointed out that it is necessary to integrate deeply into the existing market and open up to new areas, but not to expand blindly. That means setting clear benchmarks and standards accordingly; focusing on the development of e-commerce; giving full play to the role of JD, Tmall and the Swarovski official website; and concentrating on enriching the functions and services of the official website. It also means being in line with the new retail trend, coordinating the sharing and utilization of online and offline data, and improving the overall operation, maintenance and allocation balance ability. Furthermore, focusing on customer relationship management; working on user positioning, storage, application and maintenance; updating the brand image; and changing with the times to enhance the brand image and service are all key areas for success.
Swarovski，More Than Jewelry
Swarovski is not only a familiar fashion jewelry manufacturer, but actually a brand that also covers a wide product range. According to Aria Xia, Managing Director of Swarovski Professional, China, Swarovski includes a wide range of areas—not only bulk-buy crystals to jewelers, but also has developments in home furnishings, specialty lamps, shoes, wine packaging and others, partnering with brands and designers such as Victoria's Secret and Huawei P30 Pro.
"Since Swarovski has a good branding foundation and we prepare special tags for our customers, actively help them with sales services support, deliver brand values and tell good brand stories," Ms. Yan said, "our clients say that using Swarovski crystals in their products can effectively raise prices, increase sales and raise the essence of their brands."
Uniting Consensus and Inheriting Cultural Genes
Tony Wei, Managing Director of Swarovski’s Business Services, China, shared with the alumni a wonderful presentation on corporate culture, telling the secrets of the Austrian brand's enduring success.
He believes that, in order for the enterprise to put forth a series of visions, the key lies in the employees’ implementation. Therefore, the company must always pay attention to the incentives and supports for the staff so that they uphold Swarovski’s culture. Presently, Swarovski's value proposition is embodied by four key words: Passionate, Vigorous, Imaginative, and Responsible.
In regard to team building, Swarovski continues to pass on these four values: for example, after the Chinese headquarters was moved to a new office, the old single-person offices were removed, increasing the communication between employees. Activities such as Family Day and Sports Day have been carried out frequently, so the team strength and enterprising sprit have also been continuously consolidated. In the 2018 Swarovski Spirit Award, 3 of the 10 award winners were from China (out of more than 20,000 employees globally).
This year’s first Industry Insight Roundtable event of Fudan-WashU EMBA Program successfully concluded in a brilliant interaction with the elites from Swarovski. Many alumni said that they have not only seen many dazzling crystal products, but also interacted closely with successful figures in the fashion consumption industry, allowing them to learn about the industry’s marketing operations, strategy management, enterprise culture construction, etc., and feel they will greatly benefit from the knowledge gained.