Blog: The heritage brand with designs on Hong Kong

We talk to Melanie Allan, from Skipton-based premium nursery brand Silver Cross, about the company’s approach to design and how brand is a key differentiator in a competitive marketplace.

This year the UK is the Partner country for Hong Kong Business of Design Week 2019, Asia’s leading annual event on design, innovation and brands, providing a gateway for design-led brands to explore export opportunities across the ASEAN markets and in particular Hong Kong and China. We are working with the Northern Powerhouse to help businesses in our region to access these opportunities and join the UK delegation to the Business of Design Week later this year.  We have spoken to key business people in the region about their plans and experiences and why they are hoping to join the delegation.

Here we catch up with Melanie Allan, Chief Commercial Officer at Skipton-based premium nursery brand Silver Cross, about the company’s approach and how brand is a key differentiator in a competitive marketplace.

Tell us about the heritage of Silver Cross

As a well-loved British nursery brand, Silver Cross has been creating beautiful baby products for more than 140 years. Its dedication to quality and craftsmanship has stood the test of time and it continues to meet the needs of modern parents by designing products which are both stylish and practical. It has an award-winning portfolio of contemporary travel systems, lightweight strollers, hand-crafted coach prams and nursery furniture. Today, Silver Cross is a global brand, loved and trusted by parents worldwide.

Building brand presence in China

As Chief Commercial Officer for China my role is to build our brand presence and market share within China through a multi-channel strategy focusing on wholesale distribution, e-commerce and now retail.

Of course, social media is essential in any brand strategy in China and we utilise essential platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, as well as industry related influencers in order to grow our brand.

Opening flagship stores

It’s a dynamic time as I am also project-managing the launch of our two new flagship stores in K11 Musea in Hong Kong and BFC Mall in Shanghai which will significantly increase our brand exposure within the region and truly put Silver Cross on the map. 

In particular, we are very excited about being invited to open a flagship store in K11 Musea. This is no ordinary mall, with an unparalleled location and scale set alongside Victoria Dockside. The brainchild of designer Adrian Cheng, this has been created as a world-class cultural destination for global millennials that will seamlessly blend art, culture, design and retail.

We will also open in BFC Mall in Shanghai in conjunction with our investors the Fosun Group. The Mall will also feature a number of their other portfolio companies across nursery, fashion, travel and sport industries.

This builds on our current presence at the Moko mall in Hong Kong.

What role does design play at Silver Cross?

It plays an integral part of our business. Our focus is on authentic British Design which we see as our key differentiator to our international competition within the nursery industry. Every product in our range has been meticulously designed and carefully crafted by our expert Design team within our studio in Yorkshire.

We focus on key trends across fashion, interiors and automotive industries and translate these into iconic and stylish prams that parents all over the world are proud to use.

Creativity is extremely important to us and we use this daily on product innovation ensuring that our ranges not only look good but also offer the features and benefits that parents need.

What are Silver Cross’s current trading connections in Hong Kong and China?

Our current business in Hong Kong and Shanghai is five per cent of global turnover. However we are investing heavily in this region with an objective to increase this share to 15 per cent by 2021. We launched in the region back in 2015 and it has been a fairly slow start to get to this point. However, we are now starting to reap the benefits with China achieving exceptional year on year growth of 75 per cent per year to date for 2019.

Employees in Hong Kong and Shanghai

We have offices in both Shanghai and Hong Kong with a total staff of over 30 people across sales, marketing, operations and finance functions to support this rapid growth.

What interests you in Hong Kong Business of Design Week 2019?

As a British heritage brand focused on exceptional design and craftsmanship, we are extremely supportive of the Hong Kong Business of Design Week. We’re delighted that Britain will be hosting the event this year.

We see this as a wonderful opportunity for Silver Cross to present our brand as an exceptional example of the design expertise that Britain has to offer.

Further information on Business of Design Week and the UK delegation is available here or to discuss in more detail please contact 0113 348 1818 or email businessgrowth@the-LEP.com.