This week’s story is about a company barely known outside China even though it has been making high quality leather products for many years. NMiC would like to introduce the company “Suren” (pronounced « sue jhen »), together with Mao Shu Hong, general manager and her husband Yang Bao Guang, the head designer. In order to meet them NMiC took an hour’s drive north of Beijing on a gorgeous blue sky day (Beijingers will appreciate that detail). Ben O’Hara, Canadian TV’s Beijing correspondent came with us, to visit the couple’s design studio and small factory.
Mao Shu Hong can you tell us how the Suren adventure began?
My husband and I both studied fine arts to become painters but we also liked the idea of making beautiful things and sharing them with others. Yang Bao Guang had always been interested in design and craft. So we decided to switch careers, and in 1993 we created Suren. We began with 3 employees. Today we employ around 100, as well as 3 designers, including my husband.
What type of products do you make?
We make handbags and shoes, as well as smaller articles like key holders and purses. All made of leather.
Where do you source the leather?
We use calf leather from many different countries: Italy, Spain, Australia, Taiwan and Korea. We also use sheep skin from China.
How many collections do you produce every year?
We create about 20 new handbag designs every year.
Yang Bao Guang, you are Suren’s head designer – where do you get your inspiration from?
I love cars and very often I get inspired by the lines of the cars I like. My wife Mao Shu Hong buys stones for me which give me inspiration for texture and shapes.
Who is a typical Suren client?
A typical Suren client is usually an artist or a designer and has been a client for many years, buying our products year after year. Young urban professionals are also beginning to come in our shops.
How come Suren is not yet known outside China?
We have not yet tried very hard to market outside our own country but now we’d like to. Actually we’d like to use Nicely Made in China to find an experienced marketing professional to help us sell Suren products outside China.
Where can interested NMiC readers buy your products?
We have 7 shops in Beijing (one is in Guo Mao under the China World hotel next to the ice rink), as well as 3 in Shanghai and a few in Guangzhou, Hangzhou. Prices depend on the type of leather used in making a bag. The BS092 (see photograph above) is made of cow leather and costs between 1280 and 2680 Rmb (US$ 190-397 / 146-305 Euros / AU$ 202-423 / HK$ 1,473-3,084 / 122-255 £)
Our website is in the process of being updated, and by the end of the year we’ll start to sell online. We’ve not updated it recently because of problems with piracy. We spent a month working and perfecting a bag design, only to see it copied in a store 3 days later.
People who are interested can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.su-ren.com/ [chinese]
Some store addresses:
电话：010 – 8286 5563
Floor 1, building 2, Huaqingjiayuan, Wudaokou, Haidian District, Beijing
电话：010 – 6513 5580
Nali Patio, No.3 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Phone: 010 – 6513 5580
电话：010 – 6505 5547
NB141, Floor –1, China World Shopping Mall
Phone: 010 – 6505 5547
No.55, Ruijinerlu, Shanghai
86B Floor 1, No.890 Changning Road, Changning District, Shanghai
No.134 Xingeng Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
No.359 Huanchengdonglu Shop, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
No.198 Wulin Road, Hangzhou
Yuanqi Department Store,Taipei
No.29 Mingzhe Road, Sanmin District,Gangxiong
No.135 Chongming Road,Tainan