Startup 73 Hours in High Heels lands millions of dollars in financing

How much does a pair of entry-level luxury high heels cost in China? The CEO of a startup 73 Hours in High Heels believes it should be RMB 1,280 (USD 193).

73 Hours have raised tens of millions RMB in Series A financing, Chinese tech media reported on Wednesday. 73 Hours is a startup that designs and sells high heels that are entry level luxury – passed the point of being basic or cheap, but within the purchasing power of China’s middle class.

Vertex, the venture arm of Temasek Holdings, and Taiwan-based shoe maker Ruishi participated in this round of financing.

“I founded the startup because I can’t find the shoes I need in shopping malls or in online stores. The shoes are either high-end ones that are priced at more than RMB 2000 or unattractive ones that worth about RMB 200,” said Zhao Ruohong, the founder of 73 Hours.

Zhao priced most shoes of 73 Hours at around RMB 1280, and claimed them to be “good taste, chic, and affordable”.

Being an online opinion leader herself, Zhao gives the shoes fun names, such as Got a date, Freckle-Faced Lily, and 800-Meter dash. On Weibo, China’s largest social network, she has over 330,000 followers.

Weibo is an ideal marketing tool for 73 Hours. Zhao promotes the shoes on Weibo to her followers, who she consider to be the company’s target customers. “My followers on Weibo are like me. They are not obsessed with brands, and they have their own opinion on good shoes” said Zhao.

The Shanghai-based startup said that raw materials and manufacturing processes in making its shoes are the same as those of pricy international brands.

It sells shoes both online and offline, with physicals stores in eastern China cities, such as Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. The company claimed it ranked among top three female shoe brands in shopping malls in Shanghai.

The online and offline stores connects 73 Hours directly with its customers, cutting the period from taking an order to shoes supply to 20 days, a third of the time that a first-tier brand needs.

The company plans to open 20 physical stores in more cities by 2017.

Chinese are the biggest buyers in the global luxury market. According to consulting firm Bain, Chinese consumers accounted for 31% of global luxury sales last year.

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