Yetang Brings Hipster Fashion To China – Forbes
Yetang.com, an online Chinese retailer specializing in fashion and design from independent designers, has raised multi-million RMB in angel funding from IDG Capital Partners.
Yetang partners with over 500 independent designers worldwide, offers over 15,000 products and supports over 250,000 registered members. Yetang sells a variety of lifestyle merchandise from apparel, bags, shoes and home décor. Instead of carrying inventory, the company fulfills orders directly from designer to the customers.
Meaning ‘Wild Candy’, Yetang focuses its effort on uplifting designers by creating unique editorial and merchandising content. This content helps to drive 60% of customers from social media channels like Weibo, Douban and WeChat. Every designer’s story is highlighted on the site to give customers a sense of connection to the makers.
Walking the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou; it is evident that China’s sense of fashion is fast evolving. China’s youth, unlike their parents or grandparents who were constrained to wearing communist khaki green or grey, are free to express themselves. They now desire to be edgy, different and sometimes controversial. Splashes of bright colors and bold, youthful facial expressions on the Yetang’s front page correctly indicate it is chasing this post-90s generation in China.
As China is undergoing a shift from an export-based model to one of more domestic consumption, more local Chinese fashion designers and entrepreneurs are able to access export quality production with lower minimum order quantities with manufacturing contractors. 80% of Yetang’s designers and brands only started within the last four years. “We see more design and fashion entrepreneurs who have both the experience and vision to fundamentally change the fashion industry in China” says Yetang Co-Founder, Natasia Guo.
Yetang was born out of a passion by Co-Founders, Yan Zhang and Natasia Guo to be part of what ‘designed in China’ is becoming. “Chinese designers are equally entrepreneurs than they are artists. Many of them are really ambitious – they don’t just want to be appreciated, they want to win. They want to be the next Evisu, Converse or Diesel; not just in China, but in a global context. They have the knowledge and access to succeed quickly, or fail quickly and try again.” Says Zhang.
Fab.com was the darling designer flash sale startup in 2012 that inspired similar models. Now, Fab is struggling and has made severe job cuts. Although Yetang does offer products at heavy discounts, it has decided to stay away from flash sales. “Fab was great at doing customer facing stuff, like producing a wow factor and generating hype. But it never did much to help designers design and sell better.” Says Zhang.
Learning from Fab’s mis-steps and from the experience of creating its now competitor, Nuandao.com; Yetang spends a lot of effort in supporting its designers. Currently the start-up provides sales channel and content production but in the future, it looks to help designers produce, ship and provide customer service. “Yetang can only succeed if indie design succeeds as an industry in China, and if independent designers can offer competitive value to their customers.” Says Zhang.