Retail in Asia


Cult fashion label Ganni embraces global presence, furthers Asia ambitions

Founded in 2000 and later helmed in 2009 by husband-and-wife duo Ditte Reffstrup and Nicolaj Reffstrup, contemporary Danish fashion brand Ganni has gained international recognition for its effortless and playful approach to design, as well as its ambitions toward sustainability. 

Though Ganni doesn’t label itself as a sustainable brand, the B Corp-certified company has committed to a 50 percent carbon reduction target by 2027, employing initiatives such as phasing out virgin animal leather and launching circular business models.

SEE ALSO: In conversation: John Hardy’s blueprint for ‘conscientious luxury’

With a focus on creating versatile and wearable pieces, Ganni has become a fast favourite among fashion enthusiasts seeking contemporary yet timeless clothing with unique twists — first in Europe and in the US, and more recently in Asia, as Ganni bolsters its footprint in destinations including Thailand, Japan, and mainland China.

Retail in Asia speaks with Andrea Baldo, chief executive officer of Ganni, to discuss the fashion label’s target customer and plans to expand in Asia. 

Source: Ganni
RiA: Please tell us – who is the Ganni customer, and how has this customer base evolved? Have you identified new customer profiles for Ganni in recent years? 

Andrea Baldo: As the brand transitioned from a Scandinavian identity to a global presence, our customer base naturally internationalised. We’ve retained a loyal millennial following in Scandinavia, but as we expanded globally, we’ve been delighted to see the Gen-Z demographic embracing Ganni.

Particularly in China, our customers are predominantly younger; 70 percent of them are under 30 years old. This younger cohort tends to adopt a more casual style, challenging traditional workwear norms. They are deeply engaged in environmental concerns and are drawn to brands aligning with their values.

Ganni CEO Andrea Baldo. Source: Ganni
RiA: Ganni recently launched the Ganni Sport line. Are you interested in expanding to any other categories, and if so, what does that expansion look like?

Baldo: Our collection has undergone significant refinement over the years, with ready-to-wear becoming a cornerstone, featuring several iconic products. Additionally, our accessories and shoe business now constitute 30 percent of our revenue, reinforcing our position as an advanced contemporary brand. At Ganni, evolution is constant. We’re continually testing categories like sport and lifestyle across markets. The positive response to our sportswear, not just as performance wear but also as a style choice for our younger customers, has been encouraging.

Ganni’s collaboration with Levi’s. Source: Levi’s
RiA: Sustainability is crucial to Ganni, and you became a B Corp-certified company in 2022. Can you please share the latest initiatives that are underway on this front? 

Baldo: We take immense pride in being the highest-scoring fashion brand upon receiving our B Corp certification last year. However, our work is far from over. We’ve set ambitious goals, including a 50 percent reduction in our carbon footprint by 2027. Achieving this involves investing in fabric innovations, phasing out virgin leather by year-end, and implementing initiatives related to freight and sourcing.

RiA: What are Ganni’s top markets at the moment, and how do you envision this evolving in the coming years? Are there new markets you are looking to enter? 

Baldo: Our primary focus in recent years has been making the US our largest market. In 2021, we entered South Korea through E-commerce and China through T-Mall, experiencing remarkable growth of 124 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.

We plan to further develop the Asian market, with a strong emphasis on our DTC business, which currently boasts 13 stores in the region. APAC today accounts for 16 percent of total Ganni revenues. And we have begun work with local partners to create a footprint of stores in Taiwan, Thailand and Japan. 

Source: Ganni
RiA: What do you consider when expanding to new markets? 

Baldo: Expanding into new markets presents substantial growth opportunities, but it demands a strategic approach, focusing on cities where data supports the presence of customer demand. We gather this data from social media platforms, wholesale partners, and e-commerce activities. Crucially, having a highly localised and capable team on the ground is vital to support the brand.

SEE ALSO: ‘Curated expansion’ key to building Canada Goose’s momentum in Asia – Carrie Baker

RiA: Ganni plans to open five new stores in mainland China in 2023. Could you share details about your retail strategy in China? 

Baldo: Our strategy in China is city-focused, emphasising brand presence in areas with a high demand for our products. We base our retail planning on localisation principles, utilising data to establish a presence around key wholesale partners. Our approach involves a phased integration of e-commerce and retail, ensuring the brand is well-established within specific circles. We understand and respect unique market dynamics and consumer preferences in each city and channel. Consequently, our new stores will offer tailored in-store experiences reflecting local tastes while upholding our global brand ethos.

When we launch new stores, we offer exclusive products designed specifically for the market, showcasing our dedication to customers and appreciation for local culture. We are confident that our blend of local and global elements resonates strongly with customers, fostering a robust community.