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Review 2012: Navigates slowdown with customer values, says Charming Pop

Despite a slowdown in retail sales growth, Hong Kong-based leather handbag retailer Charming Pop noted it has one of the best years in 2012. Matthew Chow, Managing Director attributed the achievements with understanding its customers and offering great values.

“One needs to first determine who their customers are, because every demographic and country is different,” said Chow. “We have shops for tourists and locals in a couple of markets and the way we treat both markets are different.”

As a retail division of CPJ, a leader handbag manufacturer, Charming Pop can also leverage its parent company’s manufacturing plants and raw material sourcing. “This is a key for us to offer our loyal customers great value for money,” he added.

"Thirty percent of the Charming Pop collections are made in Italy near Venice," said Chow. "By offering Italian made leather bags to our core Mainland Chinese tourist customers, Charming Pop brand has been able to expand nicely."

Founded in 1973, CPJ has been an OEM and ODM leather handbags provider before dabbled into the retail territory, as Charming Pop. The company launched its first retail store three years ago at Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui. Last month, Charming Pop celebrated its second store opening in Mongkok.Chow noted the skyrocketing rental cost in Hong Kong is a major challenge, but physical retail stores remain significant, thus being creative in finding good retail space is needed.

“With luxury leather goods, [shoppers value the experience at] a physical store presence, to touch, smell and trying on. It cannot be replaced by the web.  People like to be served for premium products,” he said.  "For 2013 we will continue to look for new retail locations and partners within Asia to capitalise on the Chinese tourists hunger for our Italian made leather bags."

To enhance customer experience within the store, Charming Pop is also turning towards the latest technologies. "We are looking at using QR code technology,” said Chow. “Customers can access YouTube videos about the Italian heritage of the product. But whether the customers value this feature remain to be seen.”


Matthew Chow is an Australian-Chinese and founder of the Charming Pop. As a second generation leather goods manufacturer, Chow has over 15 years of experience in designing, producing, wholesaling and retailing luxury leather handbags. Chow is also winner of Best Design for Small Leather Goods at the Asia-Pacific Leather Fair. 

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