In early April, a child model "Niuniu Incident" quickly fermented on the Internet, so that Zhili Town, Huzhou, Zhejiang, entered the public's vision.
"Niuniu Incident" happened in Hangzhou, but because the mother and daughter lived in Zhili Town for a long time, this small town well-known for children's clothing got involved in the center of public opinion. In the words of Feng Haiming, the head of the Liaison Industry Development Office of the Zhili Town People's Government, "If you think positively, it means that Zhili has a great influence."
Zhili Town Children's Clothing City
In fact, in weaving, the child model shooting industry is only a supporting industry developed from the children's clothing industry. According to incomplete statistics, Zhili's children's clothing sales in 2018 reached 55 billion yuan. At present, there are 13,000 children's clothing production and processing units in the town, 7,000 e-commerce units, and 2,000 or more clothing supporting units.
Zhili's children's clothing is mainly sold domestically, and more than 60% of children's clothing on the domestic market are "made in Zhili." In Feng Haiming's words, Zhili is a giant aircraft carrier in the field of children's clothing. "Only you can't think of it, you can't do it."
Town coming out of embroidered pillow
Wuxing Avenue is the main road of Zhili Town, connecting Huzhou, Wuxing District Government and Zhili Town.
Zhili Town is under the jurisdiction of Wuxing District, Huzhou. Starting from Wuxing District, driving across the South Taihu Bridge and driving eastward for 20 minutes, you can reach this bustling “kids town”.
In the 1980s, a number of "ten thousand households" started to make their own business in children's clothing. In 1995, Zhili Town was approved as a pilot unit for comprehensive reform of small towns and cities by 11 ministries and commissions including the National Commission for System Reform. By 2018, Zhili Town launched a series of urban transformation measures, which attracted a group of central-level media to report, and Zhili began to gradually emerge.
In the past three decades, Zhili has grown from a small rural area to a population of 450,000 today. The northern side of Zhili Town is adjacent to Taihu Lake, and Zhu Huiqiang spent his childhood in the countryside near Taihu Lake.
Zhili Town Children's Clothing City
Zhu Huiqiang is the chairman and general manager of Zhejiang Incomparable Clothing Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Incomparable"). The company is a physical children's clothing enterprise integrating R & D, production and sales. It operates a youth clothing brand BCOBI and a children's clothing wholesale brand "Kemilo". At present, the company's scale and production capacity are at the forefront.
Zhu Huiqiang is stylishly dressed with black eyeliner and Korean air bangs. He wears a wide leg pants with black ankles and a FENDI handbag in his hand. His "incomparable" has always been a family business. Zhu Huiqiang is the founder of the company and a leader who masters the direction of the entire business. Zhu Huiqiang's sister is responsible for the development and production of children's clothing.
So far, most of Zhu Huiqiang's life has been closely connected with children's clothing, but his relationship with the clothing industry goes back to earlier.
Zhu Huiqiang's first job was to work in the supply and marketing system of one of the country's largest chain stores. At this time he met a group of businessmen selling sewing machines, and his interest in the clothing industry was beginning to emerge.
In 1994, the Changshu recruiting mall opened. Zhu Huiqiang was determined to do business in the sea and come out to do it himself. He got a stall in Zhaoshang Mall, made some adult clothes and pants from his hometown, and sold them on the market.
Cai Jianguo is Zhu Huiqiang's brother-in-law. At present, he is in charge of factories and logistics centers that are incomparable in Zhili. Cai Jianguo recalled to reporters that Zhu Huiqiang left his home on the edge of the Taihu Lake in the 1990s to find a shop in Changshu to make men's clothing, and Zhu Huiqiang's wife found a sewing machine to make at home, and then delivered the goods to Changshu.
Since the clothing business was started 25 years ago, the brothers and sisters of the Zhu family have always had a clear division of labor: Zhu Huiqiang is close to the market, and his sister is in charge of clothing. Brothers and sisters of the Zhu family have never learned the design of the Eight Classics. "They all figured it out by themselves," Zhu Huiqiang told reporters.
Prior to this, the older generation in Weaving mainly sold embroidered pillows. "At that time, bedding was sold out with a flat shoulder." Cai Jianguo said.
Embroidery exhibits in the embroidery hall of the Zhili Children's Clothing Museum
Many older generations of Zhili people ran out of Piandan Street, which was only 0.58 square kilometers at that time, to do business. For a lifetime, Cai Jianguo's dad had been a lifetime. Speaking of them, Zhu Huiqiang also inherited the embroidery skills of the older generation to make embroidered pillows, but they chose to start a completely different business.
Recalling the opportunity to transition from adult wear to children's wear business, Zhu Huiqiang said that the stall business has been doing business for a long time, and he wants to sell clothes on his own facade.
In Changshu that year, the price of buying a stall was about 100,000, and he worked hard to save money, but by the time he earned 100,000, the facade had risen by more than one million. He was intuitively too passive.
At this time in the 1990s, Zhili children's clothing industry was taking shape. According to an earlier report by Xinhua News Agency: "A group of people who dare to eat crabs keenly entered the more profitable children's clothing industry, and many '10, 000 households' were born."
Mastering the technique of sewing embroidered pillows, weavers have the unique advantage of making children's clothing. Zhu Huiqiang decided to change. "Children's clothing is not complicated, but requires more embroidery. These can be used in children's clothing embroidery."
A new park
With the development of the industry, the Zhili Economic Open Zone was established in 1992. After being listed as a pilot unit for comprehensive reform of small towns in 1995, Zhili was encouraged and guided by policies. A group of Zhili people who had left the country and travelled north and south to return to their hometowns to start business as children's clothing.
"When Changshu was making adult clothes, it wasn't the hometown that made children's clothes at that time, so we would also make some children's clothes on Children's Day every year, so naturally we became associated with children's clothes."
Therefore, Zhu Huiqiang, who had been unwilling to rent a small stall for a small business, joined the army in 1998 and turned to children's clothing.
An evolutionary history of Chinese children's clothing
Zhu Huiqiang's exploration of the children's clothing industry and the development of the Zhujia children's clothing business are just a typical evolutionary history of Chinese children's clothing enterprises.
After returning to Zhili, Zhu Huiqiang rented two stores on Xinhua Road in Zhili with the first bucket of gold he earned in Changshu. "After that, I increased the amount and rented four more stores, for a total of six." Zhu Huiqiang recalled, "At that time, there were at most 500 children's clothing in the whole weaving."
With the continuous expansion of production and the incomparable increase in the number of agents across the country's wholesalers and provinces, the Zhu family realized that their children's clothing no longer needed street facades to display, and the cost of renting facades was always higher than the factories they built. Therefore, the Zhu family took the first place in Zhili Town in 2000 to build a 13-acre piece of land to build a private factory.
There is more than one Zhu family with such an idea.
It is incomparable that today's enterprise park is located on Chang'an West Road in Zhili Town. There are also many medium-sized and above children's clothing companies on this road. There are several other roads in Zhili that surround the middle and upper scale children's clothing enterprise parks, including Axiang Road and Ankang West Road. However, south of Zhili Town is another sight.
The shops on both sides of Wuxing Avenue are neatly arranged along the street, most of them are two to three storey facade shops. The shop name hangs on the facade, and children's clothing products are displayed on the first floor. The second and third floors are usually version-type R & D rooms or production workshops.
Spreading south along Wuxing Avenue, many crisscrossed small streets in this area are dotted with similar children's clothing storefronts. These children's clothing brands have gradually formed the cluster advantage of the park.
Street of children's clothing in Zhili Town
In the eyes of brother-in-law Cai Jianguo, the Zhu family is very business-minded, and the sister-in-law Zhu will be strong-headed, but his courage was small before. Unlike Zhu Huiqiang, who is not anxious or slow, and always speaks in a marvelous manner, veteran Cai Jianguo speaks loudly and is a standard doer.
"I married my wife in 2000. We got married in the first month, and I went to town in the second half of 2000 to take a plot of land." Cai Jianguo recalled.
In 2003, the Zhu Family has become the first enterprise in Zhili Town to have its own children's clothing industrial park. After moving into the factory building, it is incomparable to set up a design and research and development team to complete the brand's children's clothing product categories.
"After the (category) is complete, we have three styles and five styles in the previous quarter, and then we have 50 or 100 styles in one quarter. At this time, we need the provinces of various wholesalers in the wholesale market to help us decorate one ourselves Wholesale image store. "
Therefore, the first children's clothing brand of the Zhu family, “Kemilo”, came into being. The establishment of a clothing wholesale system has made the body weight of the entire children's clothing brand different. Cai Jianguo may have made nearly two million that year.
With an independent research and development factory, it is necessary to establish its own research and development team. With the increasing purchasing power of Chinese consumers, parents are spending more and more money on their children. Unlike older brothers who wear older brother's clothes, new generations of parents expect their children to wear decent clothes. Zhu Huiqiang realized this. One point, in 2003, he introduced a group of fashion designers from Guangdong, where the children's clothing industry is already well developed.
Spot processing workshop
In this way, the scale of the Zhili industry is constantly expanding, and migrant workers in Guangdong and other places, such as designers, are also actively pouring into Zhili Town, either actively or passively. Today, the migrant labor force in Zhili has reached 100,000. There are outsiders in every link of the industrial chain from factory workers to business owners, from factories to business management operations.
Zhili, a small town of only 90 square kilometers, has a population of 450,000, most of whom are outsiders. Feng Haiming's working notes read "Zhili Town's Five Advantages Aces", among which "forgiveness is not exclusive" is one of them.
Qiu Guoxiang from Suzhou and Li Peiquan from Hubei just verified this.
Active field businessman
Qiu Guoxiang is the executive director and general manager of Huzhou Houxing Clothing Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Houxing Clothing"), and Li Peiquan is a supervisor and investor of the company. According to the data of Tianyan Inspection, Houxing Clothing was actually the actual operating entity of "Lin Ling International" in the Mainland, and "Lin Ling International" was first established by Li Peiquan in 2006 in Foshan, Guangdong.
Qiu Guoxiang started his career in weaving at the beginning. He came to weaving around 2005, mainly as a boy's wear. The veteran Li Peiquan was the first to do a wholesale stall business in Beijing. In 2006, he went south to do a girl's clothing business in Foshan. Three years later, he "feeled that Foshan has reached a bottleneck, and the development of all aspects may be restricted in the future." The company moved into Zhili.
Zhili children's clothing industry entered a period of rapid development in the first decade of the 21st century. Different from the business model of “pay first, change the goods” in Guangdong, Fujian and other places, the children's clothing manufacturers in Zhili are willing to “change the goods without paying”.
Children's clothing wholesale customers gradually felt that it was difficult to get the goods in Foshan, Guangdong, and turned to Zhili to pick up the goods.
Over time, Zhili has become the preferred place of purchase for more and more wholesalers. In addition, Zhili's local policies support the improvement of the industrial chain, and the continuous outflow of customers has forced children's clothing manufacturers, including Fujian and Guangdong, to follow Zhili.
Among these relocated overseas enterprises, a group of entrepreneurs who had previously worked in retail and wholesale performed particularly well in Zhili. They are sensitive to popular trends in the market, have good judgment on products, and are considered to be a group of entrepreneurs with active ideas.
Foreigners Qiu Guoxiang and Li Peiquan have many years of experience in children's clothing research and development and "mixed mouth", and the market has a keen sense of smell. Children's clothing, like adult clothing, has also undergone different design style changes. From Japanese and Korean casual to European and American pastoral style, children's clothing has also been tried over and over again.
In 2011, the annual output of Qiu Guoxiang's menswear business alone reached three to four million. However, Qiu Guoxiang, who was still in the wholesale mode at that time, went to South Korea every month to "purchase samples to collect the samples." This is also a common practice for manufacturers in Zhili to adopt the wholesale model.
Lin Tong International cotton and linen children's clothing research and development design department is designing this autumn and winter models
Lin Ye International Model Workshop
But Qiu Guoxiang has long been anxious about this model. He instinctively realized that R & D should go against current. The expansion of the scale caused the increasing inventory to aggravate Qiu Guoxiang's concern. "Once there is a (sale) decline, there will be no guarantee for your three or four million pieces."
Qiu Guoxiang hopes that his company can reach a new level in terms of sales and quality. And Li Peiquan happened to have the same idea with Qiu Guoxiang. The two got together at a dinner in 2013 and decided to "hold a conjoined body."
Qiu and Li registered "Houxing Clothing Co., Ltd." with a 3: 7 shareholding ratio. At the same time, the brand name of "Lin Ling International" was retained. In this way, "Lin Ling International" decided to give full play to its original strength-research and development and management of cotton and linen children's clothing brand.
At present, there are three children's clothing brands such as AMILRIS, LIN LQ and BB.T, and the three have a clearer distinction in style. AMILRIS follows the simple and fashionable style, positioning children aged 1-12, Lin Qiao LQ follows the idyllic route, while Mengtang BB.T follows the retro style.
Nowadays, when it comes to cotton and linen children's clothing in Zhili Town, the first thing people think of is Lin Tong International. Qiu and Li first discovered that cotton and linen children's clothing became popular in South Korea. "It feels more comfortable to wear, and then has a sense of hierarchy." At the same time, considering the special characteristics of children's clothing consumers-mostly for mothers to buy for their children, therefore, When cotton and linen fabrics became popular among young parents, Qiu and Li thought they could make cotton and linen children's clothing.
Relying on fabric innovation, Lin Ying International, which wants to transform from wholesale province to retail, has successfully attracted end customers. This year is the fifth year of Lin Biao's international transformation. Qiu Guoxiang said that the company's sales are currently increasing at a rate of 10% -15% per year.
"Last year said we made 150 million, and we didn't make any money. We plan to make 1.7, 180 million this year, and we don't plan to make any money," Qiu Guoxiang said. "But without losing money, we are flat."
Mussel Tang BB.T
It is these immigrants' internal migration that has perfected the industrial chain of Zhili children's clothing industry.
"We had some styles in the earliest days when we couldn't make them. Why? Because the craftsmanship is different, now we can find all the fabric accessories." Zhu Huiqiang believes that businesses from other places have improved children's clothing in weaving. Fashion also enriches the category of children's clothing.
Zhili Town, another well-known chain of children's clothing brand, also moved to the Zhili Children's Clothing Industrial Park from Nanxun, Zhejiang in 2004. Today's Tong Wang boss Zhu Xingen told reporters that he also believes that companies relocated from Guangdong, Fujian and other places have brought the original industry chain over.
Around businesses from all over the place, local chambers of commerce have gradually formed.
Chambers of commerce in various places are very active in the weaving. There are hundreds of business members under the chambers of commerce in each place. The role of the merchants is mainly to help laborers and enterprises from various places to solve problems in local life, employment, schooling of children and other aspects.
Take the Northeast Chamber of Commerce as an example. This chamber of commerce mainly helps the migrant workers and enterprises in the Northeast to live and develop in the weaving industry. Moreover, the early Northeastern people contracted most of the logistics business in Zhili, and Ms. Meng, who is currently responsible for finance in a children's clothing factory in Zhili, told reporters.
Ms. Meng's hometown is in the northeast. During the laid-off tide in the northeast in the 1990s, she and her family moved south from the northeast and finally settled in Zhili.
The throes of transformation
Today, it seems that Qiu Guoxiang and Li Peiquan have chosen to transform to a chain-brand retail model, but they have experienced a period of transformational pains.
In particular, Qiu and Li once adopted a strategy of rapid and large-scale expansion of chain stores after they merged in 2013. However, because the foundation was not good at that time, according to Qiu Guoxiang, they lost more than 20 million in one year and bought a lesson: "So Opening a store can't be swelled all at once, but the whole thing needs to be taken slowly. So now we have a plan that we can only open 50 to 80 stores in one year, but not more than 80. "
Steady China Insurance growth is Lin Lin International's development tactics after taking a detour.
Interestingly, a wall of the "Incomparable" New Industrial Park office building is also affixed with the company's historical development map, but at the time point of 2009, it displayed a line of slogans: "If you can't succeed quickly, it means failure." However, similar to Lin Tong International, the "unparalleled" that had previously enjoyed a five-year wholesale model bonus also produced a sense of crisis at this stage.
Brand clothing display area
Aware of the inventory backlog in the wholesale provincial agency model, Zhu Huiqiang was determined to transition to a vertically managed brand chain store model. Realizing that it is difficult for wholesale brands to upgrade their brands, the Zhu family has made drastic reforms and is determined to start another brand line.
"It is a coincidence that when the child started to reach the age, he suddenly found that the child was out of clothes." Zhu Huiqiang told reporters that there were no children's clothing brands suitable for children of one and three or four in height in the market around 2008. Perceiving this market gap, the Zhu family launched an “unparalleled” chain brand that targets older children and follows the light tide brand line.
Coincidentally, this transformation of the Zhu family has also paid a "pretty big price".
The first year of the "Incomparable" brand experienced a crisis of T-shirt scrap. Due to the lack of retail brand operation experience, Zhu Huiqiang and his team did not consider that the top-level fabrics supplied to wholesale brands would not be suitable for new retail brands.
After the first batch of ready-made garments entered the market, Zhu Huiqiang found that consumers reported that tens of thousands of T-shirts had problems such as "the collar pulled, the elasticity could not be recovered; twice the water, the collar shrank." Realizing that there were problems with the wet fastness and dry acreage of the fabric, Zhu Huiqiang withdrew a large number of T-shirts from the market, and about 200,000 T-shirts were eventually scrapped.
During the transformation, it is incomparable to set up an operation center in Hangzhou Qianjiang New Town to support the expansion strategy of national brand chain stores. According to Zhu Huiqiang, the "incomparable" net number of brand chain stores in the country this year is about 600, and this year's sales of children's clothing is about two to three million.
After passing the throes of transformation, it is incomparable to move the headquarters to the newly built industrial park in 2018. The company's third piece of land under construction covers an area of 68 acres and is located in the headquarters of a listed company in Zhili.
Transformation is not easy, Qiu Guoxiang admitted to reporters. Feng Haiming believes that in addition to belief in transformation, the most important thing is to have sufficient capital to support the transformation.
For Zhujia and Qiu Guoxiang who are relatively large, have sufficient preparations for transformation, and have relatively strong capital, it is not difficult to understand that the transformation is still difficult. Currently in Zhili Town, those who have missed the previous wave of transformation " "Low and small", or children's clothing factories that still use the wholesale province as their main channel, will only become more confused in the current market reshuffle period.
Elimination and innovation-the future of Zhili
"2017-2021 China's children's clothing market investment analysis and prospect forecast report" shows that the size of China's children's clothing market in 2017 was 159.7 billion yuan, and it is expected that the average annual compound growth rate within five years (2017-2021) is about 8.05%, and the market size in 2021 Or it will reach 217.7 billion yuan.
Although China opened a full second child in 2016, the number of newly born children has fallen short of expectations in recent years, and it is showing a downward trend every year. But even so, China's children's clothing market is getting more and more lively.
On the one hand, many domestic apparel brands such as Semir, Hailan House, Peacebird, Jiangnan Buyi, Metersbonwe have joined the children's clothing market through the establishment of sub-brands or mergers and acquisitions at home and abroad. In terms of international brands, GAP, ZARA, J · Crew and other fast fashion brands, as well as luxury brands such as FENDI, Marc Jacobs, Armani and other children's clothing lines are also trying to grab the children's clothing market.
The reason is that although the birth rate is not high, but the big brands dare to join this scuffle, still see the strong spending power of the parents of the new generation.
In the face of ready-to-wear brands grabbing the children's clothing market, Feng Haiming does not think that weaving needs to be overly concerned. "What the ready-to-wear brand wants to consolidate is the original ready-to-wear customer base, while Zhili is targeting the broader mass market, which is different in size and output (both)."
However, Feng Haiming also frankly said that the Zhili children's clothing industry has indeed been in a more difficult period in the past two years due to the slowdown of the overall macroeconomic growth, the rationalization of consumer consumption behavior and the decline in the birth rate of newborns.
For some children's clothing individual businesses or small factories in Zhili Town, the summer shutdown season this year is nearly two months earlier than in previous years. According to past practice, in order to rush delivery before the summer arrives, factories generally complete production before June, and then workers can take a vacation or two months. And this year, many factories have already been closed by the end of April.
Wang Yuan resigned from the factory last year and became a Didi special-purpose driver. He and his wife both came from Anqing, Anhui. He told reporters that his wife would return to her hometown to take her children by the end of April.
"If the factory order is not received, the salary will be cut in half this year," Wang Yuan said. When the year is good, the couple can make 70,000 to 80,000, and this year they can earn up to 40,000. "So I resigned."
The situation of Ms. Meng's factory is similar. She said, "Our factory's capital chain is about to break and it is going to close."
In the eyes of these individual industrial and commercial households with only two or three facade stores, Zhili is experiencing a wave of bankruptcy, and the situation is not optimistic. Due to the shrinking of the entire wholesale channel, the costs of these “low, small, and casual” children's clothing factories that follow the wholesale business model are increasing, but sales are falling.
Feng Haiming said that individual industrial and commercial households are the group most affected by changes in the external environment. "His (order) is to leave a batch in front of the terminal, and then the provincial agent (wholesale) also took a batch." That is to say, the orders of individual industrial and commercial households are actually to other business models. The business has shifted.
But this part of the unsustainable enterprises compared to the total number of Zhili children's clothing enterprises, only a few.
Feng Haiming told reporters that in the context of the overall economic downturn, 30% of children's clothing companies in Zhili Town can be profitable this year, 20% are flat, and 20% -30% are close to the breakeven line.
This means that the children's clothing industry in Zhili Town is a "rugby" type structure, "so it can make a real impact after so many years, and the overall industrial structure that is stable under this is still relatively healthy." Feng Haiming said.
"Incomparable" Zhu Huiqiang and "Lin Ling International" Qiu Guoxiang both said that their respective companies were not greatly affected by the macro environment under the existing retail model. They are more concerned with what to do next and how to do it.
In the face of the rapidly changing children's clothing consumer market, it is incomparable to make another adjustment this year. With the gradual upgrading of the park's supply chain, the company began to try to transform from the previous model of 100% futures production to the "futures + spot" model. "Now we sell 70% of the futures and make 30% of the spot. Next year we may have 50% of the futures and 50% of the spot." Zhu Huiqiang told reporters.
In addition, the "incomparable" that is about to enter the headquarters of Chinese children's clothing listed companies in Zhili is planning to go public. Because the Zhili children's clothing industry has been dominated by wholesale production for a long time, the overall degree of branding is low. To compete with external brands, it is necessary to further enhance the brand influence. Feng Haiming said frankly, "Basically such leading enterprises have some policies to bring them to a high level. It is possible to go public and introduce well-known children's clothing companies across the country."
The Chinese children's clothing listed company headquarters has already signed contracts with 6 well-known children's clothing companies such as ABC, 1001 Nights, Zhongsai, Disha, Yueya, Polo Sport, etc. The platform is aimed at children's clothing enterprises with a listed company background and listing potential.
With the support of the government and the successful listing of Guangdong's children's clothing company "Annel", Zhu Huiqiang will be more optimistic about the possibility of listing.
Multi-channel sales and developing more brands are in the "incomparable" development plan. Therefore, Zhu Huiqiang believes that the listing "is a good name for our own company and also a well-known added value for our brand".
In addition, the “incomparable” and “Linton International” who have undergone repeated transformations have never really set foot in the field of e-commerce. But in a closed-door meeting in May, an e-commerce platform from Hangzhou that was positioned as "blockchain + online celebrity live broadcast" was working hard to convince incomparable presence.
These first generations of children's wear are or are planning to let the second generation of children's wear companies that are growing up to learn on the e-commerce platform, and then bring more innovative business ideas into the digital transformation that enterprises are about to face.