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Adhering to the concept of the perfect integration of fashion and business, LILY is a pioneer of young, office lady (OL) business fashion. To learn more about this fast-growing Chinese brand, we spoke with CEO Chuan Chen about the business and how it has become the go-to brand for urban, young, professional women.

The style of LILY is best described using the words ‘strong, feminine, modern and concise’, as it creates garments that are a perfect combination of fashion and business that focus on the fresh and modern.
LILY’s designers are inspired by a mixture of modern art, surrealism, modern times and Byzantine art. They are dedicated to creating a unique business fashion wear by adopting simple outlines, creative colours, and innovative patterns.
Like businesses around the world, Covid-19 had a huge impact on the performance of the brand, and it is only now that these effects are beginning to dissipate. “In the future, we believe that the market will continue to recover, so in addition to further consolidating in our domestic market, we will also accelerate the deployment of LILY in overseas markets,” explains Chuan Chen, CEO of LILY.

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The first LILY store opened its doors in Shanghai in May 2000 and today that one store has been turned into 817, covering the first, second and third tier markets in Mainland China, of which 322 are direct-sale stores and 495 are franchise stores. In addition, there are officially franchised stores or direct-sale stores in Spain, France, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other markets.
The company’s attitude towards store development is the same as their attitude towards product development. “Compared with quantity, we pay more attention to quality. Therefore, the speed of LILY’s store openings over the years has not been very fast and now due to the epidemic, we are even more cautious with our new store development,” Chen says.
The most high profile opening in recent times was at the back end of last year, when a 250sq m store opened in Chaoyang Joy City Beijing in December. Since opening, its sales have reached RMB 10 million, which has been completely beyond the company’s expectation.
Instead, LILY pays more attention to the transformation and upgrade of its existing portfolio to provide a better shopping environment and experience. An example of this is their flagship store on East Nanjing Road, Shanghai, which has a total usable area of 600sq m. Opened in 2012; its annual sales can reach up to RMB 40 million. Its image was upgraded in June 2020 and the performance growth of the store since has been impressive.

Outside of the Chinese mainland market, the brand hopes to further expand in overseas markets. “At present we mainly hope to focus on the Asian markets because we are more familiar with these territories and it is easier to meet their needs in terms of resources.
For Europe, America and other markets, we also welcome partners to join us and discuss development plans together.” Having built an international portfolio of stores, Chuan feels that they have fully tapped into the advantages of clear brand positioning, independent research and development and supply chain integration. When developing and designing for the future, they feel that these upcoming initiatives should be based fully on understanding and respecting the needs and shopping habits of target consumers. The brand always thinks about the research and development direction of new products in terms of style development, product quality and brand culture communication.
“In addition, we focus on the market and concentrate resources on the premise of fully recognising our own advantages. Our advantage is based on the integration and responsiveness of the Chinese mainland’s supply chain so we look to shorten the wait cycle of the market and improve the service experience of consumers.”
As the interview moves onto social media, Chuan comments that the business maintains a positive attitude of seeking innovation and change across platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. Their core consumers are highly intelligent urban women aged between 25 and 35 and are a driving force for the emergence and development of new things, so LILY feels that social media is of great significance to their development.

Having built an international portfolio of stores, Chuan feels that they have fully tapped into the advantages of clear brand positioning, independent research and development and supply chain integration. When developing and designing for the future, they feel that these upcoming initiatives should be based fully on understanding and respecting the needs and shopping habits of target consumers. The brand always thinks about the research and development direction of new products in terms of style development, product quality and brand culture communication.
“In addition, we focus on the market and concentrate resources on the premise of fully recognising our own advantages. Our advantage is based on the integration and responsiveness of the Chinese mainland’s supply chain so we look to shorten the wait cycle of the market and improve the service experience of consumers.”
As the interview moves onto social media, Chuan comments that the business maintains a positive attitude of seeking innovation and change across platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. Their core consumers are highly intelligent urban women aged between 25 and 35 and are a driving force for the emergence and development of new things, so LILY feels that social media is of great significance to their development.

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So why does Chuan feel customers remain so loyal and differentiates the brand from its competitors? “We have a clear brand positioning, we always adhere to the original attitude and uniqueness based on meeting the needs of our target consumers and we strive to make every woman’s appearance in the workplace more expressive.”
The goal of LILY is to achieve popularisation of fashion through the mind-set of environmental impact and innovation, excellent quality and offering cost-effective products to meet the needs of the current and future consumer.
When discussing what comes next, the CEO says that in the daily consumption of different generations, there are obvious differences in the purchase preference of brands.
“Even if people of the same generation are affected by the changing market environment, their preference for products and brands will change in different periods, which will bring uncertainty to future development and increase the risk of the company in the process of strategic decision-making,” Chen comments.
“The uncertainty about the trend of the global epidemic in the future and the changes in consumers’ habits and judgements in the post-pandemic era is the biggest challenge to us and the industry as a whole.”