Urban Beauty Founder Zheng Yaonan's Underwear Kingdom

In 1998, Zheng Yaonan founded the urban beauty and is currently one of the largest underwear chain companies in China.
Zheng Yaonan, a 37-year-old from Fujian province, spends more than half of the year conducting “surveys” of more than 4,000 stores nationwide. Sometimes he even brings along several employees to act as "customers." If it is found that there is a problem with sales in one of the major regions, he will go to the store for the first time. In his view, the middle and senior levels may produce errors in the process of reporting, and the situation of the underlying store can best reflect the management. The problem.

In 1998, Zheng Yaonan founded the urban beauty and is currently one of the largest underwear chain companies in China. There are more than 4,000 stores across the country, and it is expanding at a rate of 800 stores opened each year. This is the “Million Store Plan” in the heart of Zheng Yaonan. However, managing a huge underwear kingdom and trying to make every store a success, this is actually building a complex and vast system full of trivial details and the need to constantly avoid risks. To this end, Zheng Yaonan formulated a provision for management: Senior executives cannot sit in the office for a long time to formulate strategies, and half of their working hours must be in stores. "With less time on the line, decision making must be ridiculous." For this rule, he said so.

Reverse expansion

Prior to the creation of the urban beauty, Fujian Gutian boy Zheng Yaonan was engaged in the cosmetics distribution business in Shenzhen. Although he had done quite well, after having 8 cosmetics stores, Zheng Yaonan still saw the ceiling of the market. As a result, he began to look for new opportunities. The business of a small shop selling bras attracted a lot of attention. Subsequently, Zheng Yaonan immediately began to investigate the underwear market. After investigation, he discovered a market gap. At that time, female underwear stores were polarized: either the high-end brands of big shopping malls or the low-end brands of small supermarkets, there was no store for the public, and he also found that women Customers want to buy different types of personal clothing, you must visit a lot of shops. So, an idea was born in his mind, that is, changing the traditional underwear sales model, not just selling underwear, but all kinds of clothing and clothing related to all categories in a store, which is the underwear industry's famous "integration "Marketing" model.

Initially, Zheng Yaonan's "integrated marketing" model was very popular, so he began to further increase the category, from home clothing, warm clothing has been extended to body suits and so on. Afterwards, he completely gave up his agent, from research and development to production and sales of the entire industrial chain, all doing his own thing.

Zheng Yaonan believes that when the opponent shrinks the battle line, it is the best time to expand. The first major expansion of the urban beauty was during the 2003 national SARS. In that year, the market entered a low cost, and Zheng Yaonan stepped up the pace of attacking cities, expanding the number of stores from a dozen to nearly 50. Subsequently, the company entered a rapid growth period. In 2009, the company relocated its headquarters to Dongguan and began expanding throughout the country. That year, during the global financial crisis, Zheng Yaonan inspected the national market. “I found that the domestic market has not been greatly affected. However, the cost of acquisition has been reduced, so I only bought the factory at half the price, and acquired a few productions. "The enterprise," said Zheng Yaonan, "the financial crisis is the biggest year for my investment."

At the same time, in order to further extend the upstream R&D and downstream sales links of the industrial chain, Zheng Yaonan decided to gradually remove the manufacturing process and adopt the asset-light model. After entering Dongguan, the company gradually sold its factories in Zhejiang and Shantou to its partners and turned resources into the headquarters in Dongguan for fine research and development such as product design and fabric development. At present, the company has changed the former self-production and self-selling mode to the external processing mode. Now it only reserves 3% of its production capacity at its headquarters in Dongguan, and is dedicated to plate-making proofing and manufacturing process improvement tests.

However, this is only part of the overall strategy of the urban beauty. Zheng Yaonan's ultimate strategy is to gradually reduce the reliance on the original manufacturing business and become a brand manufacturing operator and a clothing retail leader.

At present, the company maintains a research and development speed of more than 1,000 new products each year. Zheng Yaonan believes: “Chinese companies have a strong manufacturing capability, but there are big deficiencies in brand premium, which is why the reason why our high-quality products can not enter the international brands.”

He believes that no matter how many excellent designers must have his design style and design bottlenecks. Therefore, he advocates an open design model: first, to carry out independent creativity, research and development; second, to cooperate with the world's top lingerie designer studios, to carry out secondary research and development on the basis of their creativity; and thirdly, to have their own designers. Alliances, for example, interact with mainstream designers in places like Tokyo and Seoul.

Business knowledge

In addition to the design, the Kingdom of Underwear with more than 4,000 chain stores is a key issue in how to improve the success rate of opening a store. Zheng Yaonan summed up four elements: the first is site selection; the second is goods management; the third is manager and employee management; and the fourth is effective shop guidance. This series is called the "Worry-free Babysitting Plan" for opening a store.

For the site selection, Zheng Yaonan's principle is to open the store to a commercial street, a community, and a university city. His emphasis is on convenience and coverage. He almost never advertises because each store is itself an advertisement. Every three months, Urban Beauty will conduct a store manager training. They open ten training courses for the manager to ensure that each store will recover its cost within two years at the latest.

Inside the company, Zheng Yaonan also set up a team to study customers. The contents of the study include consumer habits, consumer preferences, as well as the number of purchases and sales techniques. In addition, the research focuses also include the characteristics of the market in different regions of the country and the practices of competitors, and sent special personnel to study local products. In major cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Hunan, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, Zheng Yaonan invited a specialized research company to study the market. “The establishment of this department was due to a failed experience.” He recalled that when the urban beauty entered Hunan, she once copied the practice of opening shop in Guangdong to the local area. The result was a failure. The main reason was that customers in different regions were wearing it. There are differences in buying habits.

After this detour, Zheng Yaonan set the next rule, and he must go to the local area for a long period of time before entering any market. However, with the continuous expansion of stores, the practice of visiting shops and communicating with employees at the ground level has encountered challenges. Therefore, in order to avoid the danger of escaping from the frontline, in 2010, the company invested heavily in building IT systems to achieve "network patrols," which means that companies can understand all stores in real-time through the Internet, and interact with stores, and keep abreast of Details of sales, inventory, and services.

At the same time, urban beauty is undergoing meticulous changes, and Zheng Yaonan tried to standardize all processes. For example, a store should be equipped with the most efficient employees. This is not something that can be patted on the head. It is necessary to continuously test according to the marginal benefits, such as a 50-square-meter store, with 4 employees, to achieve 100,000 yuan. Performance, then if you add another employee, how much performance you can create, and how much marginal benefit can be achieved, these must be tested and calculated by equations to find the peak.

Maintain a sense of crisis

Although at a high speed, Zheng Yaonan admits that he still has a deep sense of crisis. In his opinion, the faster the company runs, the more likely it is that problems will arise.

Zheng Yaonan still maintains the habit of attending a book for at least 40 days a year, reading a book every month, and insisting on taking notes every night. A middle-level employee of the company said that Zheng had a habit of always carrying a book with him. When talking with people, he would always come out and write down useful ideas. For the management team, he adheres to the principle of "sharing." “I encourage different voices and ask everyone to make as many suggestions as possible and fully communicate. However, when the final decision is made, the implementation should be quick and without delay.” Zheng Yaonan said, this is his management style.

During the planning and construction of the urban beauty Dongguan Industrial Park, he had specially planned a place for the staff to entertain. He said that his working life in the past made him vividly remembered. However, in spite of this, another challenge that Zheng Yaonan has to face is that under normal circumstances, the turnover rate of retail chain enterprises is very high, especially for specialty stores. The grassroots turnover rate is about 60%. In urban beauty, this figure is controlled. Within 20%. Zheng Yaonan believes that as a grass-roots employee, there is usually a change in mood every three months. Once managers ignore their own changes in mood, the whole team will fluctuate.

Therefore, the company's internal implementation of a so-called "Coke Conference" means emotional counseling for employees. For example, the manager invited McDonald's to sit down and chat, drink Coke, talk about sales, talk about life, talk about love, and listen to things. Zheng Yaonan described this scenario: "Sometimes, the manager will ask employees about their plans for the future, such as plans to sell goods here after 5 years? Almost everyone said they don't want to. Everyone wants to open a shop. The manager will encourage employees. There is such an idea, because there are ideal people who can be motivated.That being so, then ten of our stores management: brand, promotion, crisis, goods, employees, display, atmosphere, etc., these ten management, you learn Yet?"

Zheng Yaonan believes that respecting employees' ideas is the foundation of all corporate culture. One of the questions he often asks senior executives is: Why do employees fail to treat customers as God? First of all, we must reflect on whether we respect employees. In this regard, his view is that if you do not respect employees, do not give employees satisfactory treatment, benefits, then how can we expect employees to do good to customers? Therefore, he often said to his management team: Do not always ask employees how good they are to customers, and should first ask yourself how good they are to employees.

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