“A very important skill that I’ve learned from IFA Paris is how to work well with people from all over the world!”
In this special interview, young entrepreneur Julia Hu, a graduate from the IFA Paris MBA Luxury Brand Management and actual representative and Business development Director of prestigious Dutch brand Jantaminiau, explains how she became so passionate about fashion and art of branding. A beautiful lesson of will and diligence.
M.T.: Could you first introduce yourself? Where do you come from and could you describe and explain your journey into the fashion world?
Julia Hu: I come from the Jiangxi province in China. I grew up in an environment where nobody is into fashion at all. My parents were working very hard in their life for giving me the best education they could. I have studied international business in college and dreamed about having a successful business in my life. I have started to work in a headhunting company as an intern in Shanghai. I have worked after in events management company and PR agency in Shanghai for over three years. In 2015, I have created my own company called Jia Jia Home Cuisine: we were providing catering service at our clients’ homes. It was a great and new concept at the time; however, I was struggling to grow the business. Hence, I decided to study and complete a MBA Luxury Brand Management program at IFA Paris. Thanks to IFA Paris Parisian campus director Jean-Baptiste Andréani, who introduced me to Guo Pei, a Chinese Haute Couture brand, I joined Guo Pei after my graduation and here I am today, working for Jantaminiau, the top and most prestigious Dutch Haute Couture brand, as Business and Marketing Director China. So, to sum up, how did I get into fashion? To be honest, I didn’t plan it. I guess I just went along with it, my career flew and I didn’t know that I love it until really getting into it!
M.T.: Can you tell us about your studies at IFA Paris and how valuable where they?
Julia Hu: I loved my experience at IFA Paris! I learned not only about industrial knowledge and expertise – especially branding, finance, digital, supply chain and more – but also, about relationship management. How to work with people from all over the world, who have a different cultural background, way of thinking, working style even laughing and daily habit. I have learned so much from our professors but most importantly, from my classmates. Every successful business has a great encounter and recruitment. Your partner, suppliers, employees, clients, every person you meet is important to your business. A very important skill that I’ve learned from IFA Paris is how to work well with people from all over the world!
M.T.: You said once that you wonder what makes people buy a brand over another one even though the two products are absolutely the same. Brands have more power than products do you think? Or both predominate?
Julia Hu: I would like to answer your questions by listing three different situations. Let’s imagine a situation, situation one with a client who has to choose between two well- known brands with similar products: I would definitely choose Nike over Adidas even though they provide me similar design, price and function of the product. Simply because I love Nike’s slogan: “Just do it!” It is an emotional aspiration that touches my heart to purchase from a brand over another. Let’s imagine now situation two, with a client who has to choose between a well-known brand and a non-branded product for two similar products (price, function, design…) Then, it is an easy answer because most of the consumers would choose a well-known brand. However, there are some clients who would choose a less well-known brand if they were given two similar products. This phenomenon usually applies in the luxury sector and also in the world of Haute Couture. Many of our clients would actually prefer to buy from us rather than from world famous luxury brands simply because they don’t want people to recognize what they are wearing. They want to be different and exclusive. They don’t want to be recognized in public. Finally, let’s imagine a situation three, with a client who has to choose between two world famous brands with two similar products. Then, this is a difficult choice. The decision from a client who has to choose in this situation is beyond the brand and its product. For example, if I am wealthy enough, I won’t mind to buy the bag that I love from Chanel or Dior. I love both brands and its design. I guess what would trigger me to buy one over another is small details. Such as: which brand’s sales person I like most? Who approach me first when I needed the product? Which store is more convenient for me? All in all, it is difficult to say that brands have more power than products. In my opinion, both are very important for business. However, we can measure which one is more powerful when we are in a specific situation. Because every situation is different, so as your answers.
M.T.: Why and how did you become fascinated to know everything about how to create a good brand? It seems that you have an inner sense for branding. In a sense, it’s in your DNA?
Julia Hu: I worked in a British PR agency before. We usually had brainstorming about our client’s brand. I remember very well about my feelings of going into this type of meetings – with passion and excitement. From that time, I started to realize how important a brand is for the business in general. So, when I had the opportunity to create my own company, I was so fascinated about brand stories and brand DNA. Hence, I have created a brand book for my company Jia Jia Home Cuisine and developed a nice story about why I created the company; my partner helped with the logo and brochure design and a friend helped with our website. Later, when I joined IFA Paris, I joined two times the branding class both in Shanghai and Paris campus with different professors, even though I passed this exam the first time. I did this class again with a different professor simply because I was so into it. So, to sum up, I don’t know if branding is in my DNA but I only know that once I am into it, I would do it again and again until I figure it out!
To learn more about the program pursued by Julia: MBA Luxury Brand Management
This program is now also available for distance learning on our new platform IFA Paris - Learn Online: MBA Luxury Brand Management