The Business of Making a Mr. Bags

As the Year of the Rat approaches, Western luxury brands have been ramping up their zodiac-themed offerings to compete for a share of the vast Chinese consumer New Year market. Longchamp, the French leather goods brands, was one of the first to celebrate the new year, collaborating with the popular blogger, Mr. Bags, to release a capsule collection sporting a graphic chunk of bright yellow cheese, a cute twist on the fact that rats love cheese. The collection will launch on December 11 via Mr. Bags’ WeChat Mini Program and Longchamp’s online store, as first reported by WWD.

This isn’t the first collaboration between Longchamp and Mr. Bags on a zodiac collection. In fact, the past few years the two have come up with clever puppy paws and pigtail designs to ring in the new year. A brand’s goal of working with a local KOL, like Mr. Bags, is to create something other than a literal translation of zodiac for that year, and most importantly, generate commercial success.

If you’re not familiar with Mr.Bags himself, perhaps you’re familiar with some of the headlines behind the brand, such as, “Mr. Bags x Longchamp: How to Make 5 Million RMB in Just Two Hours” or “Tod’s Made a Killing from Mr.Bags Collaboration: Racking up Over 4.7 Million RMB.” And if the numbers don’t convince you, his collaborations extended from Chloé to Givenchy and Dunhill to Burberry.

It’s only been a few years, however, since Tao Liang, AKA Mr. Bags, went from being a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate student to the power bag influencer he is today, making international headlines. What’s behind the business of making Mr. Bags? Here, Jing Daily presents a few key insights behind the brand.

A Precise Positioning on Bags

As his name indicates, Mr. Bags only focuses on the bag category. He reviews nearly every luxury brand’s bag collections, from the classic to the latest, on the Mr. Bags WeChat blog. For luxury brands, accessories, and especially bags, are often considered a highly profitable market, because the price and life cycle of a bag is generally higher and longer than, say, a ready-to-wear garment. One may not need an LV dress but an LV Neverfull tote bag for your day-to-day activities. Also, handbags are often an introduction to a luxury brand for average consumers. Even better, sometimes a specific bag can be a great investment value. How much? Well, Mr. Bags is there to help.

Recommended ReadingHow Designers Craft China’s Investment-worthy HandbagsBy Tamsin Smith

A Super Salesman

By reviewing and sharing his insights with his 2.7 million fans on WeChat and Weibo, Mr. Bags receives instant consumer feedback on a bag, ranging from how much they love it, hate it, or want it. This valuable and actionable data has become the secret sauce for Mr. Bags’ business plan. In essence, his vast and loyal fan club serves as an important focus group, as they represent the collective voice for a specific bag in China, Mr. Bags can deliver this consumer insights to global brand executives. This has made Mr. Bags a super salesman, helping brands to sell and consumers to buy. More importantly, his accumulated experience has convinced luxury brands to co-create collections with him.

The “Minutes Sold Out” Model

Mr. Bags being able to sell out a specific bag in mere minutes makes for an intriguing headline but in reality, it’s the fruition of months of planning. While some are reserved for brand’s VIPs and loyal fans of Mr. Bags, the bags are available to the mainstream market and generally are scooped up fairly quickly, as they are limited in quantity. Celebrity seeding is another big strategy for the bags to sell out quickly, which often generates interest from new customers. The numbers are thrilling and through marketing a limited edition bag, Mr. Bags has leveraged the namesake brand and star power celebrities to verify his personal branding.

Can there be another Mr.Bags? The answer is not absolute. Mr. Bags was not an overnight success, the building of his brand has taken a great amount of dedication. However, the birth of the Mr. Bags persona is absolute — it answered the consumer demand for a personalized solution with insider tips.

What do you think about the business of making a Mr. Bags? Feel free to comment down below:

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