LET’S CONQUER THE WORLD – ONE SHOE AT A TIME. 让我们一起征服世界 — 一步一个鞋印.
You know I normally don’t wear high heels. They don’t make me feel more beautiful – quite the opposite. I feel ungraceful and clumsy and can’t stop thinking how ridiculous I am for putting so much pressure (my whole body + lots of accessories!) on such a tiny heel.
大家都知道我一般不穿高跟鞋。高跟鞋并不会让我感觉更好看 – 而且是恰恰相反的。我并不感觉优雅，我觉得笨拙极了，而且忍不住在想，把我身体全部的重量（还有那么多饰品！）放在如此纤细的鞋跟上是一件多么难以理喻的事情啊。
Anyway – when I went to meet Lewis, CEO at Harrod & Ji, HK-based shoes company importing new and fabulous brands to China, he made me (almost) change my mind. The shoes they stock are work of arts and I had to agree with him – they add to every outfit that extra something.
不过 – 当我去见Lewis，他（几乎）改变了我的想法，他是Harrod & Ji这家总部在香港的鞋履公司的总裁，它主要引进新兴的精美鞋履品牌到中国。他们家的鞋子就像艺术品一般，我同意他的说法 – 这些鞋子给每套服装搭配都带来了锦上添花的效果。
We met at their oh-so-pink boutique and we discussed about fashion choices, women’s beauty, Chinese trends and much more.
Who is behind Harrod & Ji?
At the moment it’s me and my fiancé, Vivian. I’m from England, she is from China, I’m a man and she’s a woman. As you can see, we constitute a pretty diverse team! Even if we have completely different backgrounds and working experience, when it comes to choosing shoes we are pretty aligned. Let’s say she contributes with her passion and her own sensitivity to beauty, and I bring in my business knowledge.
Harrod & Ji的幕后团队是谁？
Which is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
At the moment we are doing our best to make our clientele aware of how special our products are. The only way we have is to host trunk shows – this way people can see the shoes, touch them with their own hands and try them on. Organising events requires lots of time and energy – but we can’t miss the opportunity to show more and more potential customers our shoes. We want everyone to fall in love with them!
目前我们尽最大努力让顾客意识到我们产品的独特性。现在我们唯一的方式就是trunk shows –通过这种方式，人们可以看到鞋子，用手亲自触摸它们并且可以试穿。组织活动需要很多时间和精力 – 但是我们不能错过这个给更多潜在顾客展示我们鞋子的机会。我们想让每个人都爱上这些鞋子！
How is H & J’s relationship with social media?
We are already very active with our official Wechat page (for those of you who don’t know, Wechat is halfway between Whatsapp and FB) and we are currently working for our website [www.harrod-ji.com] to launch very soon. It’s going to be our e-commerce platform, but we decided it would also have some blog posts and a video section. This is because we are aware that pictures are not enough to describe our products – we want our customers to be able to see the designers we work with, listen to their voice and read their words.
Harrod & Ji和社交媒体的关系怎么样？
我们的官方微信账号已经非常活跃（如果您还不了解微信，它类似于whatsapp和Facebook），我们的网站【www.harrod-ji.com】会很快开始使用。这会是我们的电商平台，但同时我们也决定也加博客和视频在里面。因为我们意识到只有图片是不足以描述我们的产品的 – 我们希望顾客看到我们合作的设计师，听到他们的声音，读到他们的文字。
How do you scout new designers?
Ah! That is the most challenging and fun part of our job! Among the designers we work with, at least a couple of them are at their first collection ever – and scouting them requires time and knowledge. We’ve got experienced contacts in Europe who act as our advisors. Then we just follow our intuition and heart in choosing the ones to be included in our portfolio. Every designer has their own touch and feeling – it’s wonderful to work with young and talented people!
啊！这是我们工作里最具挑战性同时也是最有趣的的部分！和我们合作的这些设计师中，至少有两位是第一次出品自己的设计 – 寻找他们需要时间和专业知识。我们在欧洲有些经验丰富的联系人，他们给出我们经验。然后我们就跟随自己的直觉和心，来找出适合我们的产品。每位设计师都有他们自己独特的风格和感觉 – 跟年轻又有天赋的人合作是件非常好的事情。
Most of the designers you work with enter Chinese market for the first time thanks to H & J. Aren’t they afraid of being copied?
I personally think that if you are copied in China then you actually made it! And this is what I keep repeating them. Moreover, high-heeled shoes are extremely difficult to copy. There is more pressure on the heel than on an elephant foot! So you can see – and feel – the difference between an high-quality shoe and a fake one really easily. If shoes haven’t been manufactured in the right way, you risk a not-so-glamorous fell in the street. And most people wouldn’t want this – so they’d rather buy fake sneakers rather than pumps.
因为Harrod & Ji的慧眼识珠，很多和你合作的设计师是第一次进入中国市场，他们不害怕会被抄袭吗？
我个人的观点是，如果你的产品在中国被抄袭，你其实已经成功了！这是我不断告诉他们的。况且，高跟鞋其实是非常难被抄袭的。鞋跟所承受的压力比大象脚所承受的压力还多！所以你能很容易看到—也能感觉到—高品质鞋子和劣质鞋子的区别。如果鞋履没用用正确的方式加工制作，你就会冒着在街上狼狈摔倒的危险。大部分应该不希望这种事情发生吧 – 所以他们宁愿买假冒的运动鞋，而不是 劣质高跟鞋。
Do you also have Chinese designers in your portfolio?
Not at the moment – but this is something we are seriously looking into. In fact we are working to establish a scholarship program for China-based designers who want to attend prestigious fashion schools in Europe or in the US. It’s a way for us to give back to the local fashion community who has been so kind and generous to Vivian and me. And also to promote real talent, which should never depend on the size of your wallet.
目前还没有 – 但我们在很认真的寻找。实际上，我们正在努力建立一个奖学金项目，针对那些想去欧美设计名校学习的中国本土设计师。本土的时尚界对我和Vivian如此慷慨和热情，这也是我们回报给他们的一种方式。这也可以培养真正的天才，而他们不应被钱包的大小所束缚住。
You don’t sell flats at all. Why?
At the beginning we wanted to be known as a boutique selling high heels. That was – and still is – our niche. But at the moment we are looking into expanding into flats and sneakers. There are some shoes out there that we simply love – and we are also interested in not cutting out flats-wearing women from our market share. We want to help every woman to express themselves and feel more beautiful – it doesn’t matter the kind of shoes they wear!
起初，我们想以卖高跟鞋的精品店为人所知。这曾经是 – 现在仍然是 – 我们的切入点。但是目前我们在寻求往平底鞋和运动鞋方面的发展。有些鞋我们真的爱极了 – 我们也不希望把穿平底鞋的女性排除在我们的市场之外。我们希望帮助每一位女性表达自我并且感到更加美丽 – 这跟穿哪种鞋是没关系的！
And while I don’t see myself wearing these beauties any time soon I agree with him that they can make a big difference in a woman’s outfit – they definitely add that extra sexy dose of confidence and charm.
虽然我近期不会穿这些美丽的高跟鞋，但我同意他的说法，这些鞋子可以给女性的服装搭配带来巨大的变化 – 绝对添加了几分性感的自信和魅力、
In the meanwhile, I can’t wait for Lewis and Vivian to have flats in their boutique – after all my mantra has always been “be a pair of flats in a room full of stilettos”.
同时，我等不及看到Lewis和Vivian在他们的精品店里卖平底鞋啦 – 毕竟我的座右铭一直是“在充满高跟鞋的房间里做一双平底鞋”。
Vivian and Lewis hanno aperto una boutique di scarpe da sera come non se ne vedevano da tempo. Personalmente scelgono le calzature da inserire nella loro collezione e selezionano i designer, provenienti da tutto il mondo, con cui collaborare. E hanno anche intenzione di creare un fondo per finanziare borse di studio per designer cinesi che vogliono frequentare istituti di moda prestigiosa in Europa. Perché tutti dovrebbero avere la possibilità di sviluppare il proprio talento.
For all the pictures, special thanks to Harrod & Ji.
感谢Harrod & Ji提供所有的图片。
Translation by Vivian Zhou.