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UR Li Mingguang: Fast fashion will not perish, and is starting a second entrepreneurial

Source: Chinese Entrepreneur Magazine

The loss of fast fashion originator ZARA also made Li Mingguang think about where the future of fast fashion is.

arts“Chinese Entrepreneur” reporter Hu Nannan

edit| Mina

Head map photography| Jiang Zhiyi

For 4 days a week, Li Mingguang, the founder and CEO of Urban Revivo (hereinafter referred to as the UR), lived in the office and did not go home until Friday.Such a state has lasted for several months since the beginning of this year.As early as two or three years ago, the UR began to “roll”.

Founded in 2006, UR is one of the earliest Chinese fast fashion brands.In this year, the first Zara entered China, and then China entered the golden ten years of fast fashion.

However, in recent years, with the international fast fashion giants Zara, H & M, etc., or withdrawn from the Chinese market, discussions about whether fast fashion is not good, and it will be one after another.The closing or adjustment of each well -known fast fashion brand will attract Li Mingguang’s attention.

Li Mingguang believes that fast fashion will not perish.He also said that the reason why international giants such as ZARA lost in China were:Lack of innovation and localization.The future of fast fashion depends on whether enterprises have the ability to innovate and insight.

At present, the trend of fashion has also changed.In recent years, the sports styles set off by brands such as Lululemon and Arit Birds are becoming a new trend, and SHEIN, an ultra -fast fashion cross -border e -commerce platform, has also been born in recent years.This also made the UR, known as the “Chinese apprentice” called “ZARA”, had a sense of urgency.

The retreat of ZARA in China gave the UR with the opportunity to supplement the market vacancy and open the trend.In 2022, UR’s annual sales exceeded 6 billion yuan.butNo one can block the flow of the tide,The UR has also begun to find new growth points: multi -brand layout and globalization.

Photography: Hu Nannan

In 2022, UR launched the new brand “Benlai”, which focuses on “leisure light outdoor”.From the perspective of the outside world, the “originally” target is Uniqlo.However, Li Mingguang explained that “originally” is a new species, more like a collection of two modes -in terms of style and appearance, like Uniqlo, but in terms of fabrics and functions, it is closer to brands such as Lululemon and Architecture.

At present, Uniqlo may be the best learning object of UR.Data show that the number of stores in China in 2023 continued to increase, and the revenue and operating profit of Uniqlo Greater China in the 2023 fiscal year reached a record high -revenue increased by 15.2%to about 30.4 billion yuan, and operating profit increased significantly25%to about RMB 5.1 billion.

In addition to the layout of multi -brand, overseas markets dominated by Europe and the United States have also been regarded by Li Mingguang as the focus of this year, and even the second entrepreneurial of his life.

SHEIN and UR, who mainly attack overseas markets, also started in Guangzhou, one is super fast fashion, and the other is fast fashion.But in Li Mingguang’s view: “Single Single Return to Test is a very important ability for fast fashion. We will learn this direction, but we are different from Shein’s positioning.

As early as 2016, the UR opened its first overseas store in Singapore, and has now achieved large -scale expansion in the Southeast Asian market.However, in Li Mingguang’s view, Southeast Asia is not a real main battlefield. The real going to the United States is to break through the European and American markets.

But the challenge is not small: on the one hand, in overseas markets, ZARA is still the leader in the traditional fast and fashion field; on the other hand, in response to the environmental protection issues of fast fashion, European countries have also issued many bills, such as prohibiting fast fashion companies and fast fashion companies andProduct advertising and so on.

But Li Mingguang always has a ambition -to make a fashion industry group with a scale of 100 billion and internationalized.

When he was in junior high school, Li Mingguang was interested in fashion, and he came into contact with many Hong Kong fashion magazines early.When he was in high school, he began to contact some second -hand fashion.At that time, he was often wearing second -hand clothes with obvious disinfection water.Because it looks good, he doesn’t care about the pungent taste.

The enthusiasm for fashion has continued to this day.Until now, Li Mingguang is still the creative director of the company.In addition to grasping the company’s strategy in daily life, he is to grasp creativity.

In late April, in the UR headquarters of Baiyun District, Guangzhou, “Chinese Entrepreneurs” saw Li Mingguang.Li Mingguang’s short hair, wearing a pair of white -frame glasses.It is also very simple to wear, from top to bottom: a gray suit jacket with a white T-shirt inside, jeans under the bottom, and shoes are a French designer tide.Basic models+tide cards, this body he wore just in line with the current fashion trend.

Fast fashion has gone through more than ten years of rapid development in China.Since 2010, UR has received 5 rounds of financing. Investors include well -known institutions such as Sequoia China, Hailan House, and Black Ant Capital. How should the current fast fashion companies go?”Chinese Entrepreneurs” and Li Mingguang have conducted in -depth discussions.

The following is Li Mingguang’s interview content (cut):

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:Many people say that fast fashion has reached a crossroads, what do you think?

Li Mingguang:I don’t agree with Fast Fashion to the crossroads.Every industry, or every positioning market, has its lasting vitality, as if clothing may be divided into high -level customization, heavy luxury, and light luxury, as well as some high -end brands, sports brands, and leisure brands.And fast fashion is one of this industry, I think it will not perish.

Everyone understands a lot of fast fashion companies. In the past few years, either withdraw from the Chinese market, or close the store, or the development is slow. I think one is because there is no innovation, and the other is that the localization is not good enough.So this is a problem for the enterprise itself, not a problem with this industry or business model.

Including the real fast fashion originator ZARA, many stores have been closed in recent years, and many people think it is not good.This is because in the past few years, they feel that online is rising, they reduce the density of offline stores, and at the same time increase the area of the store and focus on online. This is a very important strategic adjustment.In my opinion, they are very smart and cater to the current consumer channels and the changes in consumers.

But Zara may really do so well in China, mainly because localization is not so good.For example, ZARA’s style and version may be more European and American, which is not so friendly to Chinese women.In addition, ZARA’s supply chain also faces some challenges a few years ago, because most of its production bases are in Europe, such as Turkey, there are relatively fewer supply chains in China, so the sensitivity is not good enough, but ZARA is outside China outside ChinaDo it particularly well.

Photography: Jiang Zhiyi

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:In the past few years, fashion campaigns have risen, do you think it affects fast fashion?

Li Mingguang:I don’t think it can.Although the fashion movement has a new trend in the moment, fashion will always exist.The key is that in the market you position, you must have enough competitiveness and leadership.It is not popular in fashion. Everyone can do it, and anyone can become a brand.at the same time,There is also a very good feature of fast fashion: it is a very flexible business model.For example, in the next 5 years, fashion campaigns can also do fashion sports; if you seize a popular point, you can put it in, there is no sense of disobedience at all.becauseFast fashion, it is not a category brand, nor is it a channel brand.Instead, there is a certain style of style between the two, which can change with the potential -this is also theThe most competitive place for fast fashion modeEssenceThe vitality of fast fashion and the continuous development of the future depends on the creative and innovation and insight of this company.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:In 2022, UR launched a new brand “Benlai”.Why do you launch this brand?

Li Mingguang:The positioning of “originally” is a new species.Sometimes I think, who we are or who is like, it seems that it is not easy to find the benchmark.Make products, but from the functional or fabric attributes of the product, it is like outdoor sports brands, such as Lululemon, Ariter Birds, Kelong.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:The UR has expanded against the trend in recent years and has begun to make a profit.It is understood that the UR did not make money in the first ten years. What is the reason for not making money?

Li Mingguang:We summarized ourselves that we did not make money for ten years because our business model was “high and high.”From the beginning, we had more than 100 designers, plus two or three hundred R & D personnel, so our background cost is relatively high. Unlike ordinary 100 square meters of clothing stores, 10 or even 8 designers may get it.It is, so it wantsTo reach a certain scale to make profitsEssenceJust like some big Internet companies and car companies, it must have a scale to make a profit, and it is difficult to make a profit.

From its establishment in 2006 to 2014, we mainly polished the business model and established basic skills, such as the product structure of the store, the speed and cost control of the supply chain, and the management of the terminal store.The real efforts began in 2014. We opened franchise operations, which helped the rapid development of enterprises.At that time, although some financial institution investors came in, the Chinese market was very large. It would definitely not be particularly fast to develop the national market alone to develop the national market alone, so we opened the franchise.From 2014 to 2018, we expanded rapidly at the speed of 50 stores each year.As the number of stores increase, our brand awareness suddenly got up.Until now, our stores have more than 400 worldwide.

During that time, we have been in contact with many investors. They have been unable to make a profit on our scale. A question mark will question whether we have problems in organizational management and management.We are also reviewing, is there really a problem in terms of efficiency and cost control.Later, we felt that there was indeed room for improvement, but there was no fatal problem.

It was not until 2017 that we started making money.Being able to make money in 2017 should be the scale, and the profit comes out.Of course, maybe fine management can be done well and can achieve profitability for one or two years in advance.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:UR has built factories. How much is its own factories and external cooperative factories?Are there some experience in the management of cooperative factories?

Li Mingguang:At the beginning of the factory, many factories were unwilling to help us do it because of the early establishment of the factory.At that time, we only had one or two stores, and each style was only 30 or 50 pieces. We forced us to open a factory ourselves to be self -sufficient.By 2017, we already have 800 workers.later,As we measure, the store has also opened, and many suppliers have begun to find us. We hope to cooperate with him, and we will change from passive to active.The self -built factory was sold in 2017.

Because we are not good at production, we hope to put energy on product development and brand building, and at that time, many suppliers can fully cooperate with our production requirements. Therefore, we start the factory and cooperate with external suppliers, which is not much different.

There should be about 100 factories we cooperate.In recent years, we have asked external experts to help it digitize.In the supply chain production section, they must also cooperate with us to make technical transformation. We must receive the entire chain to get through our supply chain management system.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:What do you think of the rise of Shein?Where is the core advantage?

Li Mingguang:First of all, SHEIN has seized the traffic dividend, and overseas consumers have shifted from offline to online in recent years.At the same time, shein attaches great importance to the supply chain and research and development capabilities. In the past, many cross -border e -commerce did not do this, because it was easy to make money at that time. Everyone rely on traffic to make money. However, in addition to making traffic, she also made product research and development and supply chain.It has erupted in the past few years.

Single and fast return, trial models are all important abilities for fast fashion.We will also learn the direction of Shein, but we will not do so fast, because the premise will sacrifice the quality, the quality is sacrificed, and the quality is sacrificed.We are different from Shein’s positioning.However, in the first two years of the UR founding, because it is constantly exploring the business model, it is exactly the same as shein.At that time, I found which one was easy to sell, so I immediately went to the fabric wholesale market to get the production, but it was feedback quality problems by consumers every day, and the head, fading, and off -line were dropped.Pursuing fast, leading to unstable fabrics and quality, I think there is no future.So two years later, I did not cooperate with the fabric wholesale market, and began to find some high -quality and high -quality fabric suppliers to ensure the quality of fabrics and improve production requirements. Therefore, it has obtained consumer recognition.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:To what extent can the current UR’s small single return?

Li Mingguang:becauseThere are a lot of online stores. You must fill up more than 400 stores to make a model, and the lowest amount is there.If it does not matter if you are pure line, even if you do a market with a population of 6 billion, you can make 100 or 300 pieces first, and I will return to the order.However, offline stores must be paved, and it is good to display it. This is also a place with lack of offline.But the good thing is that this is the real brand.The combination of online and offline is more three -dimensional to consumers.If there is no offline, this is not a real good brand.For brands, with the changes in channels and consumers, we have to find a balance point in the online and offline sales ratio.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:Is the core sales channel online or offline?

Li Mingguang:At present, UR sales are mainly offline, accounting for about 30%of online. In the future, I find it difficult to exceed 40%.Because everyone still needs to go offline, online cannot solve all the pain points of consumers.And whether online or offline, it is a channel,The important thing is to do yourself well.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:In terms of solving inventory and achieving more accurate supply chains, SHEIN has some experience to refer to learning?

Li Mingguang:Shein is the object of our reference.Many live broadcast brands are doing well now. For example, let the anchor try this dress first, and then produce after you place an order. This is very advanced.Because these live brands have no offline, the reaction will be more agile, these are where we can learn.

However, there is a problem with China’s online brands, that is, it is difficult for you to make the scale particularly large. It is not like shein as a cross -border e -commerce, and it has built an independent station. It is possible to achieve 100 billion yuan and 1 trillion yuan.EssenceSometimes, we also want to have this flexible speed and fast production capacity in China, even if the scale is not as high as imagined.Therefore, we will pay special attention to overseas online official website, that is, cross -border e -commerce.Overseas, we will consider how to achieve the ultimate flexible supply chain in the future.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:In 2016, UR opened the first store overseas.What is the current development of overseas?

Li Mingguang:We enter the overseas market earlier and want to build a global brand.In recent years, nearly 10 stores have been opened in Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Next, it will expand in Southeast Asia. At present, the Southeast Asian market has achieved profitability.

Photography: Hu Nannan

The development of overseas markets is the second entrepreneurial of my life.From 2006 to the present, we have spent 18 years to make the UR from a single store to the current scale.The next goal is how to enter overseas, become a global brand, and a global brand over 100 billion yuan.But it is not easy to achieve, because there is no clothing brand in China that can achieve scale expansion in the global market, and it is profitable.Therefore, we hope to become the first brand in China to go abroad, developed and profitable.

China will definitely have such a clothing brand, just like Huawei, Gree, and the current Chinese new energy vehicle, enter the global market.It is really difficult to go out in Chinese luxury goods.But a popular brand is very likely to enter the global market.

And only if the proportion of overseas market sales exceeds the Chinese market, can I achieve the goal of 100 billion yuan.All the single clothing brands in China are basically no more than 50 billion yuan.To achieve 50 billion yuan, you must enter the global market.Because clothing is a personality product, it is difficult to achieve a high market share share.If you want to be a clothing group, you have to pursue the scale.Through two methods to achieve scale growth: one is multi -brand; the other is single brand globalization,We have to implement these two directions.

We hope that the UR, even the “originally” brand can open stores worldwide.The global revenue of the UR target ZARA should be around 200 billion yuan, and Uniqlo global should also exceed 100 billion yuan.Therefore, the two brands of the UR and the original, I conceive that in the global market, it can exceed 200 billion yuan.

We will work hard this year in Europe and the United States.Europe and the United States are considered our real overseas market, because the figure of Southern Asians is a bit close to the Chinese, and Chinese goods can satisfy them.When going to Europe and the United States, there will be a lot of deviations in style and version. This is where we want to break through.In the future, we will be able to open a scale in Europe and the United States, and we will be profitable, so that we can really achieve internationalization.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:In the European and American markets, what kind of play will UR use?

Li Mingguang:Still walk online and go online.We have entered overseas and set up online official website. Now we feel that offline can also help push online growth.Because our unit unit price is about $ 50 or 60, like shein is about $ 10, the two sides are different price bands.If we have stores offline, it will help consumers to choose online, and purchase conversion may be higher.

However, the offline cost of the European and American markets is relatively high, so the online online is the core, which is also different from the Chinese market.For example, the Chinese market accounts for 30%. We hope that the European and American markets will reach 70%in the future.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:Do you position yourself now, or is the creative director in the company?

Li Mingguang:I mainly grasp two aspects now: one is strategy, and the other is creativity.Strategy is to guide the direction of enterprises. Creativity is the core competitiveness. It is necessary to grasp it as the core task. In addition, you prefer it.

The company has no creative director until now. I haven’t found it for 20 years.Because creative directors must be able to control all details of space, plane, product, and music, not only understand, but also be able to lead, so I haven’t found it until now, and I have always been with me.It’s not that I am cow, but that talents such as China still need to match our requirements.Recently, we may find some in London. There may be some, but it is creative and can adapt to our positioning. It is not easy to find.This is also a problem faced by many fashion companies in China, which is how to replace the creative director like luxury goods in the future.for exampleEither LV or Dior, they have all experienced a century, but why are they still so glorious?When they often sell bad sales or do not perform well, they change to a creative director.But creative director is more mature in Europe and the United States, and there are many talents. In China, the boss is generally a creative director and CEO.butIf you can’t find a creative director, and the boss’s creative ability or taste decreases, it will affect the development of the enterprise, which is also a crisis I face.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:What is your management style?

Li Mingguang:I am more open and nice. I rarely scold people and can discuss things fairly.butFor some strategic directions, if I are firm, I must do this.Decision makers must make decisions in a very vague,In particular, some forward -looking and transformed decisions must rely on this insight of the boss.

We have a management decision -making committee who discusses the non -strategic direction.Big strategies, such as some people oppose, I will keep discussing with them. Finally, I decide to do it, and they will support me because they think I should understand.Sometimes you really have to make a strategic adjustment, so you have to do this.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:Is there a temper?

Li Mingguang:Few, very little.I remember that a franchisee kept looking for me for a very unreasonable request, and I lost my temper that time.That person is very excessive to get angry.

“Chinese Entrepreneurs”:You said before you are a emotional person.What are the advantages and deficiencies when operating a company?

Li Mingguang:I am more emotional, so rationality is not so sufficient.However, I am still keen and strong in grasp of corporate strategic directions.In terms of rationality, I also often learn and master the theoretical knowledge of management. At the same time, I will set up a senior team to help me complement me.

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