Can’t afford the car yet? Start with a Porsche bagBy Amy R. Remo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
The iconic luxury brand Porsche Design holds no qualms in selling in the Philippines its exclusive TwinBag, which could set you back by about $1,800 to as much as $30,000 apiece.
And this plush women’s handbag—which comes in either a single-piece calf leather or exotic skins like ostrich and crocodile, and has been painstakingly handcrafted by workers in Italy—is just one of the brand’s offerings of pricey, luxury items that are readily available in a Porsche Design branch at the Edsa Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong.
But Porsche Design believes that the Philippines, and its “design enthusiasts,” are more than ready to embrace the sleek, classic and sophisticated style of the Porsche Design luxury brand, despite the steep price tags.
“We think the potential is definitely there. The [Porsche brand] has been growing [here] over the past two years significantly, and to just support this continued growth, we will focus on future expansion globally and in the Philippines,” says Lars Schmidt, head of franchise and travel retail for Porsche Design Asia Pacific.
Schmidt points out that they have found many Filipinos who “appreciate our purest and timeless design.”
“Our products are not meant to show off, but they’re supposed to be classic and timeless. We are focused on a purist design and that is what we call the iconic Porsche Design, and we’ve found out that there are a lot of people in the Philippines who appreciate those aspects,” he further explains.
Schmidt adds that Porsche Design in the Philippines has been growing together with their global business, as the first store in the country, located at Resorts World, has been posting double digit growth in sales since it opened late 2010.
For both stores, the Germany-based brand tapped local firm Adrenaline Group of Companies as its franchise partner in the Philippines.
“The Philippines has grown with the [parent] company with a comparable double digit [growth] since we opened here. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to open a second store, as we are looking to further intensify our relationship with Adrenaline, and to grow even further in the future here with our luxury brand,” Schmidt explains.
According to Schmidt, the Asia Pacific is one of their focus regions. While he declines to cite the number of stores to be opened within the year, he assures that they will definitely further expand in this side of the world this year.
“We recognized that people in Asia do appreciate our brand and the aspects that make Porsche Design so special. We already have stores in Hong Kong and Singapore and we just decided to also expand in other markets that’s why we opened a second store in Manila. We also opened in Jakarta and Macau recently,” he adds.
In a separate interview, Adrenaline Group president Hans Clifford O. Yao relates that it did not take much to convince Porsche Design to set up shop in the country, with negotiations lasting only a year.
“We were lucky because [during] the time we’re negotiating, Resorts World was about to open… Their CEO even visited Manila at that time and they were convinced because they saw that there were a lot of developments ongoing in the Philippines at that time,” Yao explains.
“They were convinced it was worth their time. We had to show them the top malls and the presence of high-end luxury brands to show there is a market here. If they didn’t see those high-end brands, they might now have come here. Also, they were expanding quickly in the Asia Pacific region,” he further says.
Porsche Design’s Shangri-La branch, its second store in the Philippines, hosts a complete “modern, purist and functional” luxury product portfolio of their fashion and sports collections for both men and women.
These luxury items include luggage, eyewear such as the P’8478 Aviator, watches like the Black Chronograph, shoes, apparel, writing tools, as well as jewelry and cellphone accessories.
Schmidt admits that their products used to cater primarily to men. It was only three years ago that they decided to further expand their luxury items for women given the growing demand for the Porsche Design brand.
“Our heritage and our focus was on male customers. However, we always had products for women. Over the last few years, we have listened to customers and we decided to expand women’s collection. We started focusing on women as a target customer group over the last two to three years,” he explains. “Women are now getting more important for us.”
Founded in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, Porsche Design is now a globally renowned design and lifestyle luxury brand with a particular focus on technically inspired products that stand for functional, timeless and purist designs.
Its products are designed in the Porsche Design Studio in Zell am See, Austria and sold around the world in the company’s own stores, shop-in-shops, high-end department stores, exclusive specialist retailers as well as through the official online shop. To date, Porsche Design has 128 stores globally. The Edsa Shangri-La Mall branch is the company’s 21st store in the Asia Pacific region.