Chinese Website Promotes U.S. Apparel Brands in China
China, with a population of 1.4 billion people, is a burgeoning consumer market where shoppers are hungry for American clothing labels.
With that in mind, Moonbasa, a Chinese website that came online in 2007, launched its Moonbasa USA branch last year to promote U.S. apparel brands to Chinese shoppers.
Just recently, the website formed a strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce—through the Office of Textiles and Apparel—to get the word out about U.S. brands and beef up U.S. apparel exports to China.
“Right now the Department of Commerce doesn’t have anything in place to support e-commerce platforms to deliver U.S. brands to China,” said Barbara Graff, managing director of Moonbasa USA, headquartered in Los Angeles. “That means OTEXA has us on their website, and they will use us when they do all their ‘Made in USA’ support. They will recommend Moonbasa to the brands that are looking to get into China.”
Kim-Bang Nguyen, director of export promotion and strategic alliances for OTEXA, said in a statement that partnering with Moonbasa will “provide more inclusive technological tools for U.S. companies to make headway in selling to China and increase their exports to this vast market of consumers eager to buy made-in-USA apparel and products.”
Currently, there are about 20 U.S. clothing brands on the website, and most of those are from Los Angeles. The first to join Moonbasa USA last year was Taylor & Sage to expand its young contemporary sportswear brand.
Also on the website is Ocean Current, another Los Angeles label that makes young men’s surf-inspired clothing.
One World, a Los Angeles clothing concern with various labels, has joined to sell its Band of Gypsies and Halo labels. Stony Apparel, a Los Angeles juniorswear venture owned by Steve Maiman and Tony Litman, is selling its Love on a Hanger label on Moonbasa USA.
One of the latest to sign on with Moonbasa USA is Cosette, a higher-end Los Angeles womenswear line started last year by Rosa Kim. Kim said she joined because she wants to test the Chinese waters. “We decided to give it a try since China is a growing economy,” the owner and designer said. “It is just an experiment, so we will see in a couple of months.”
In the two months since she joined, she has sold one $432 wool coat on the website.
Moonbasa USA has a basic $2,500 fee, which covers the cost of registering the brand in China and designing a Web store. The website also takes a percentage of net sales. Other fees are involved if apparel companies decide to store their merchandise in Moonbasa’s warehouses, located in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, which happens more often when their clothing is manufactured in China. Otherwise, companies can drop ship their merchandise.
When Moonbasa was launched in 2007, it only sold Chinese-made clothing and lingerie on its website. There are now 200 Chinese brands on the website. But in 2014, the company was purchased by Guangzhou Mola Internet Technology Co., headed by Chief Executive Don Ho, who wanted to expand the website with an online U.S.-brand mall that targets primarily consumers between the ages of 18 and 35—who are the principal shoppers attracted to American brands.
Moonbasa has 10 bricks-and-mortar stores in China that carry merchandise, but last July it opened a new digital store on Nanjing Road, the popular shopping street in Shanghai, where consumers can peruse a computer to order clothes and try on merchandise. “There is actual merchandise like a regular retail store and there are digital screens,” Graff explained.
From the computers, you can order an item, such as a dress or a blouse, and have it delivered to your house within 48 hours.
When Moonbasa USA launched last year, the company exhibited at the WWDMAGIC show last August in Las Vegas. It will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center again for the Feb. 16–18 run of the show.
The company’s website is www.us.moonbasa.com or www.moonbasausa.com.