Popular high-end, low-cost furniture app opens its first physical store
北京店地址：北京市朝阳区颐堤港Shopping Mall LG层21号
China’s lifestyle industry is exploding. The tag ‘Made in China’ is rapidly being supplemented with ‘Designed in China,’ and there are countless companies to prove it.
Enter ZaoZuo, a two-year-old Beijing start-up that wants to furnish the homes of China’s growing middle class with high-design but low-cost sofas, plush chairs and sleek home decor. With a team of 140 people across China and Italy, and collaborations with celebrated international designers, founder Shu Wei's company is expanding from a digital to a physical presence.
Last month, the brand opened a flagship in Shanghai; earlier this summer saw the store’s very first Beijing brick-and mortar store, in Lido’s Indigo mall (pictured). The 300sqm showroom – developed by Italian designer Luca Nichetto, the company’s creative director – is set up with three main areas for shoppers to wander through: large furniture pieces, smaller home accessories and lighting.
ZaoZuo was first launched as an app at Beijing Design Week 2014, and is still very digitally focused. The brand allows customers to rate its products online and give feedback on how they plan to use the items they buy. They can also vote on preferred fabrics and colours – burnt orange is killing it right now, Shu tells us.
‘Our name is a little bit bitchy,’ she says (pictured above) with a loud, infectious laugh, explaining that even with an international team, her company embodies the ‘feeling of Beijing’, which she describes as masculine with subtle feminine touches. In Chinese, zaozuo means ‘picky’ – ‘it means you want everything to be perfect and nice’.
And with high-design sofas from 3,000RMB and smaller accessories from 300RMB, ZaoZuo’s target market, China’s thirtysomething shoppers, can afford to be picky.
The goal of the company is to produce beautiful furniture that's practical for everyday use. When ZaoZuo was just starting out, Shu and her team wanted to start by making a chair that was stylish enough go in the dining room but also comfortable enough to spend hours in while working on a computer. The Freelancer Chair, the company’s first piece, was born and is still one of the top sellers.
Today, the brand is growing quickly, with about one new product added to its inventory every week. There’s talk of opening stores worldwide and selling to the American and European markets within the next year. For now, Shu’s focusing on Beijing: ‘I don’t like to talk about visions; we’re taking it one step at a time.’