Friday, April 18, 2014

Do You Want To Expand Your Fashion Brand to Overseas Asia Luxury Markets?

Have you thought about bringing your Contemporary brand to Asia? 

I am working closely with a well connected successful Chinese-American entrepreneur who has successfully launched American brands in handbags, belts, accessories and apparel in high end Chinese department stores and high end Japanese stores.  I recently met up with her in Beijing and Tianjin to visit some of the stores has launched American brands in. (The smog in Beijing/Tianjin was horrific but that is another blog post)   The American brands are successfully selling more per square foot in China than in USA department stores.

China is an incredible emerging luxury market.  If you follow any fashion news such as businessoffashion or WWD I am sure you have read about this trend in the past few years.

“One of the most exciting findings is that by 2018, in the next five years, based on our predictions and based on how fast the region is growing, Asia Pacific will be the biggest region in the world for luxury goods,” Fflur Roberts, the head of luxury goods research at Euromonitor, told BoF. “This is predominantly due to China, but also the emerging Asian markets like Malaysia and Indonesia. India is also a major contributor.”  - BOF.

Depart store in Tianjin, China where we have brought USA brands.

If you are looking to take your brand to overseas markets or just want to explore the ideas please do not hesitate to contact me.   The way the business works in China and other parts of Asia is different than in the USA.   Its more about who you know and a partnership with the department stores when it comes to successfully launching your brand in China and or Japan

Luxury goods cost more in China than in the USA because of high duties and import taxes.  For example the retail price of a Coach bag in China is about double the cost in China as it is in the USA due to high value added taxes.   (Yes, I visited several Coach and other stores in China) and did the math.   However Chinese are willing to pay the high luxe prices as seen by the new Michael Kors and Coach stores popping up all over China.   Young Chinese consumers are willing and able to pay high prices for luxury goods.

“Rising demand for affordable luxury in developed markets is also linked in part to the industry’s strategic obsession with China,” she added. “Retail prices of many European luxury brands have risen sharply over the past year as part of a deliberate plan to align more closely with China, where heavy import duties push prices up. The rationale is that higher prices in Europe will encourage Chinese consumers to do more of their luxury shopping at home rather than on foreign trips.” - BOF 

Inside department store in Tianjin, China

There are more millionaires per capita in China than anywhere in the world.  Young middle class Chinese professionals will spend half their monthly income on clothes and luxury brands more than Americans.   How they look on the outside and brand names are much more important to them than in the USA.   In Beijing and other major Chinese cities you will see women riding a rusty old bike while carrying a Prada bag.    Its not like anything I have seen in the USA or even Italy!  Chinese women spend more on their handbags and fashion brand than the inside of their homes!  They love brand names and they love American brands.

Chinese women shoppers in Beijing

If you have a contemporary handbag, small leather goods, belts, fashion accessories or apparel line and are interested in getting your brand in high end Japan and China department stores, please contact us.  We are looking for both contemporary men's and women's collections in moderate to better price points.   For me info please us me at or call 310-994-9624

Some of the stores we work with include, but not limited to:

Isetan China
Lotte China
Wangfujing Department store Chain 
Parkson Department store Chain
Yinzuo Department store Chain
JinYing Department store Chain
Ongoing Department store in Shanghai
Sogo Department store in Beijing

& many more.

To get a complete PDF infosheet about our services please email

Thursday, April 17, 2014

If You Want to be Interesting. Be Interested. - Paul Arden.

If you want to be interesting learn to listen.  

If you are a good listener people will find you interesting just because you listened to them.   In general I am not a good listener.  I have selective hearing.  I got that from my dad.  He could tune us all out and read the newspaper.  It was an art.  Children also have selective hearing.   Anyone who is a parent knows what I am talking about.   In business it is important to be a good listener, often you will find the answer just by listening.  It could be the tone of voice or even what is not said in the conversation that is the clue to what you are listening for.

In business, especially as a freelance consultant, I have learned to listen and then know when to put up boundaries.  People often want to tell me their life story when they are working with me on a project.  That is nice, but we are here to get work done.   I listen, but I know when to listen and when not to listen.   

Its not all about you all the time.  Listen.  It might help your win more friends and influence people.  (Dale Carnegie)

In this photo is not all about me, its about Dante, if you notice I am out of focus and the pug is the center of the image. Its his world and I am just living in it.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Higher Salary? The Worst They Can Say Is No. (Which is not so bad!)

I recently interviewed David Larson, from  Daivd is a professional negotiator who focuses on women in the workplace.  I reached out to him for an interview because women’s topics have always interested me.   When I first started negotiating with factories in China over 10 years ago I would change my name to Thomas Sauvage in order to get the respect and timely replies I required for the brands I represented.

More recently my interest in women and discrimination in the workplace peaked due to recent interview in which my marital and family status was scrutinized and then I was offered a part time job for a few dollars above minimum wage!   Wait! That’s not all… to top it off…the hiring manager said the reason he wanted me to leave by 2 pm was so that I could get home in time to make dinner!  Really?  Yes, really.  (See my blog post here.)

The part of my conversations with David  that was the most startling revelation to me was that women are sabotaging their own success.  Read on to learn more about this captivating topic and how you can succeed in getting what you deserve!   Men should be just as interested in this topic as clearly this is a society issue that affects everyone who has mothers, daughters and wives who bring home a paycheck or are going to someday be in the workforce.

You Can Do It!

Why do you think women tend to get lower offers than men for the same jobs?

According to the most recent research, women make on average 22% less than men for doing the same jobs. Of this underpayment, it’s been estimated that 64% can be attributed to factors that are in some part under the woman’s control.

These include but are not limited to taking time off work to have babies, not negotiating a starting salary and failing to ask for raises.

Just because these factors are under the woman’s control does not mean they are fair.  Why should the financial burden of having babies be placed on women’s shoulders (and the man involved doesn’t have to lose any income)? Why should women have to ask for a raise when they already deserve one? The answers to these questions are ones that we need to seek out as a society.

But let’s forget about the 64% of the underpayment that is attributable to identifiable factors within a woman’s control. That leaves, 36% of the remaining underpayment that is outside of a woman’s control and is not clearly identifiable. This 36% is where the sexism comes in. But let me make a clear distinction here: Instead, we’re dealing with a much more pernicious problem...accidental sexism.

Accidental sexism occurs when HR representatives and bosses undervalue women without realizing that they are doing it. In fact, a good deal of the time, the accidental sexist is a woman herself. According to research done in 2012, 71% of Human Resource Managers are women. Most of the discrimination against women is coming from other women. And most of the time they are doing it without realizing they’re doing it.

How does accidental sexism work?  Our Society has established norms of how men and women should behave. When men negotiate aggressively, they are viewed favorably by HR Managers and seen as “confident.” When women negotiate aggressively, they are viewed unfavorably by HR Managers and seen as “bitchy.”   Studies have shown that just changing the name on a resume from “Charles” to “Charlene” (and leaving all other details the same) can make the difference between getting paid a fair salary and getting rejected for being too pushy. The sad part is that the HR Managers don’t even consciously realize they are holding female job candidates to a different set of standards than the men.

My Daughter and I. Equal Pay Benefits Everyone. 

What are a few of the strategies you use to help people get better salaries?

Over the last 10 years, worker productivity has risen sharply, but employee wages have remained essentially flat.  Essentially this means that most employees are long overdue for a raise. Most employees in most American jobs are currently underpaid. With that in mind, all we have to do is ask the right way and we will get the money we deserve.

What is our strategy? Our strategy is to ask. Most employees never do.

Is the timeless adage "the worst they can say is no?" still true today?

Yes, this is still true, but hearing “No” is not as bad as you might think. If we put together a very logical, structured, fair request for a higher salary or raise, and the employer turns it down, then my client just learned something important. This employer is not a fair person and it’s probably time to look for a job somewhere else.

Are there any proven benefits to negotiating via email instead of in person?

Email has been found to reduce the impact of unconscious bias against gender, race, accent, attractiveness, national origin, etc. (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz 1998). When you negotiate via email, the HR Manager isn’t looking at your face and making judgments based on the way you look. Unconsciously, we judge each other every day, and in a negotiation these judgments play a big role. Email strips away a lot of that.

With email, the pace of communication is much slower than it would be in person. This extra time reduces your opponent’s ability to make snap emotional decisions and leads to email being a more rational medium. (Bhappu and Crews, 2005).

Most importantly for me, email is a cold medium. Because your opponent can’t see your face, he can’t try to read you and call your bluff. Reading body language reactions is the most powerful weapon of an HR Manager. If you negotiate over email, you take away this capability.

Finally, with email you can carefully choose every word you use. And of course, you can hire someone like me to actually write the email for you.

Do you have a few secret weapon tips you can offer women/men in negotiation?

Here’s my best tip. Ask for an early review. If you can negotiate a 6-month review that means that in 6 months your employer will review your work and potentially give you another raise. You just have to make sure you do a great job in that first 6 months. And of course, if you don’t ask for an early review the right way, you won’t get it. Most people never think to ask for this one, but a lot of employers are willing to give it out.

What is the worst that can happen in the negotiation process?

One time I have seen an offer withdrawn, but there were extraneous personal complications my client faced because of her previous relationship with the employer.

When one hires you to negotiate on their behalf, do they usually get the higher salary?  I have a 97% success rate.

To learn more about David Larson and how he can help you get a better offer go to

Ask, the worst they can say is no, and you have a 97% chance that they will say yes! 

P.S. David's practice is not limited to women, he also negotiates on behalf of professional  men.


Tara Sauvage
Designer/Fashion Business Consultant

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


When things go wrong its tempting to shift the blame.  Don't.  Be your own worst critic.

Accept responsibility.   People will appreciate it, and you will find out what you are made of.

Be your own worst critic.

Accept it.  Move on and grow.

Be your own worst critic. Accept the blame and move on.   Grow.   Wisdom comes from this.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Have Two Kids.

I was never one of those girls who spent hours as a young girl planning my wedding and naming children I would some day have.

My family is very small and multi-cultural.  I like it that way.  My only child is from Thailand and I enjoy teaching her about her country and culture.   Sometimes life has a way of unfolding that you never imagined it would be.  I will never have a pack of kids or spend hours talking about breast feeding and what type of diapers to buy.  That is just not my style, but there are a lot of different types of families in the world.   I have found that you don't have to be in the PTA and drive a mini-van to be a good parent.  I have two kids, they are both 9 years old, one does not like to brush her teeth and the other one likes to pee in my house.  Love Wins.

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