Qeelin is the first Chinese jewelry House to open a boutique on the prestigious Place Vendôme, in Paris. But the store is more than just an opulent venue to sell jewelry. The little Chinese jewelry box has a big job: to spread the word about Qeelin’s unique fusion of Chinese heritage and modernity.
“I looked at this same place on Place Vendôme 11 years ago,” says Qeelin founder and Creative director Dennis Chan, referring to the Qeelin boutique which opened in July, 2019 on Place Vendôme. “After we launched in Cannes in 2004 at the Cannes Film Festival, we set up our first point of sale in the Hotel Crillon in Paris and then in the erstwhile trendy up-market curated boutique Colette, but I have always dreamed of being on the Place Vendôme, this holy land of international luxury jewelry,” he adds. “So the opening of this boutique is a very important landmark for us…”
While Qeelin has around 30 stores and several point of sales internationally, with 17 stores in mainland China, the Vendôme establishment serves as much as a communications vehicle as it does a place to buy fine jewelry. “We want to raise brand awareness and visibility, and underscore the prestige of Qeelin to Asian and Western clients alike,” says Qeelin CEO Christophe Artaux. “And to do that you have to be on the Place Vendôme. It’s a showcase for the world.”
A marker in the world center of luxury jewelry
The Qeelin Place Vendôme presence is an intimate ambience distributed over two floors. On the street floor, customers find a mélange of Oriental and Western design: Chinese red lacquer accents, with of the herringbone parquet floor so typical of Parisian apartments. Jewelry is displayed in drawers along the chevron-festooned walls, beckoning customers to sample Qeelin’s three main product lines: the classic Wulu, the whimsical Bo Bo Panda bear, and the ephemeral Yu Yi. Upstairs, at the top of a simple metal staircase, customers can immerse themselves in a cozy living-room atmosphere, sipping rare Chinese teas while leafing through books about Asian art and trying on the Qeelin designs. It is not so much a place to sell jewelry as is it to immerse the client in the multi-faceted world of Qeelin. A marker in the world center of luxury jewelry.
“This flagship boutique reinforces the international expression of Qeelin,” says Artaux of the first Chinese brand to locate on the Place Vendôme. “The location gives customers the assurance that purchasing jewelry here is an investment in something worthwhile. And it shows to the Chinese customer the international reach of the House.”
Customer engagement with the brand during its opening ceremonies was strong. “The campaign showed good engagement, especially on social media, throughout Asia and internationally,” says Artaux. “Even if it will take a little time for the store to reach its full potential – international travel having been interrupted by the health crisis – we believe the commitment demonstrated so far is an important milestone in securing visibility for the boutique.”
Chinese customers visiting the Paris boutique instantly see the connection of Qeelin’s Wuhu design with their heritage. It takes Western clients a bit longer to understand the meaning of the “8” shape that echoes a Chinese gourd long synonymous with luck and happiness. “Our Western customers welcome the opportunity to learn about the symbolism and heritage behind the brand, and this does take a bit of time,” explains Artaux, “but it’s accelerating, and the response among cosmopolitan culture-lovers has been positive. So the Place Vendôme boutique is a bit like a laboratory to present the brand to non-Asians, where they can become familiar with Qeelin and its culture.”
The unique atmosphere of Place Vendôme is also a crossroads with a long history of connecting China and the West. It’s a connection that persists to the present day and will re-exert itself when international travel takes off again. “Our doors are open and we look forward to welcoming back our loyal customers,” says Artaux, “as well as to connecting with international visitors to Place Vendôme.”