1436: The First Pure Chinese Luxury Fashion Brand?
The case traces the birth of 1436, a new luxury brand specialized in cashmere garments. It describes how this venture emerged organically out of a combination of manufacturing and retail expertise with the ambition of creating the first pure Chinese luxury brand. The brand name was inspired by the measurement of superfine baby cashmere fibre (14 micrometers in diameter and 36 millimeters in length). It is estimated that only 2 out of 1,000 grams of cashmere measure up to the standard of 1436. Describing the brand evolution over its first 8 years of existence, the case allows for an exploration of the challenges associated with creating a luxury brand and reconciling several strategic imperatives: the need to build a strong and desirable brand identity, grow the business but also protect the brand integrity and exclusivity. The case also provides an opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges associated with being 1) a luxury brand "made in China" and 2) a category specialist (cashmere). As Jane Wang, 1436's founder and CEO, looks to the future, she has to decide what to do to establish 1436 as a recognized luxury brand on a global scale.