Chinese handbag guru sells luxury brands within 12 minutes

Nadja Beschetnikova
March 6, 2018

Due to language barriers and cultural difference, China is still a challenge for international brands, while Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, are hungry for attributes of upper-middle-class lifestyle.

The world of Chinese digital influencers in fashion may not be so familiar to European society. In China, people don’t use any platforms from the West because they’re blocked. Nevertheless, Chinese bloggers managed to successfully play on this gap between different social media and get into the world elite of fashion bloggers.

And we should take a closer look at these bloggers as their influence on the global market is growing. Especially in the field of e-commerce there are several names that wrap up multimillion-dollar deals.

Tao Liang, 25, better known as ‘Mr. Bags’, is a Chinese blogger with a reputation as the handbag guru. He’s actually been active on Chinese social media since 2011 and built up his business on two most popular social media platforms in China, WeChat (which is a blog platform) and Weibo (which is very similar to Twitter).  He has over 3.2 million followers, which may seem not so impressive on the scale of China, but it was enough for luxury brands to turn their attention to him.

In December 2017, Longchamp collaborated with him to design an exclusive edition of its traveler bag. It’s the first time the brand’s doing a collaboration with a Chinese blogger and it’s going to be sold worldwide.

He constantly receives invitations from fashion houses, such as Fendi, to their shows. He has been even spotted sitting in the front row during Milan Fashion Week, probably the most coveted destination of all fashionistas.

«That was my first time at Fashion Week, so I was so excited and when I went there I met so many followers. I’d say that was a turning point in my career. At that time, I suddenly realized I really had influence,» recalls Tao.

Tao has already teamed up with Stella McCartney and Galeries Lafayette on several projects. He participated in Vogue China’s “Vogue Me” campaign.

But one of the most memorable examples, how he helped luxury brands to push their sales, was his collaboration with Givenchy.

In 2017, Liang worked with Givenchy to create a capsule collection for Valentine’s Day. The exclusive limited edition collection of only 80 pink handbags was announced in the article on WeChat. The handbags each of which was priced at a whooping 14,900 RMB ($2,170) attracted such unprecedented attention that all copies were sold out within 12 minutes.

The number of bags doesn't seem random: 8 is a lucky number in China. This is just one example of how the insider's view of a local influencer can help a global brand build a successful marketing campaign in China.

“Frankly, there are hundreds and thousands of shopping maniacs who love to buy handbags,” Liang said, explaining his success. “But they don’t have time to research and decide which bag is worth buying. I provide them with such advice.”

Tao is an experienced shopper himself. He studied in the USA, first at USC in Los Angeles, then he went to Columbia in New York for his graduate studies.

It was the first time that he had to leave his family for such a long time so he often went shopping, either muffling homesickness or enjoying the freedom.

«I went to Rodeo Drive every day. That’s when I started to have this crazy love for bags,» confesses Tao.

But, luckily for his readers, Tao is not just another overexcited fashion victim. He is a true expert with encyclopedic knowledge and provides information about the functionality of the bags, the investment value, things related to statistics, which, obviously makes his posts more interesting for consumers.

Tao hopes to become a role model for young people in China, who are building up their careers. Though for him, his blog is not only about selling things and making money. The positive spirit is a core.

«I think Mr Bags is all about happiness. It’s about being young and making dreams come true».