Chatting with Krizia Li of Vermillion Luxury Lifestyle Brand
Hong Kong/ The Lux/ Celebs & Execs

Chatting With Krizia Li, the Woman Behind HK’s Newest Luxury Lifestyle Brand, Vermillion

Krizia Li The Beat Asia

Launching earlier in February 2022, Asia’s first online business-to-business e-commerce luxury platform Vermillion is set to build a foundation to showcase a region’s worth of unique products.

To explore the impact Vermillion will have on Asia’s luxury lifestyle brand space, we spoke to founder, CEO and general manager of China, Krizia Li, about the brand’s values, promotion of the region's independent artists and creators, and direction for the future.

You have a background in investment banking and luxury retail. Why Vermillion and why are you set on redefining luxury and lifestyle in Asia?

"Having worked for more than 15 years for Western Fortune 500 brands, you wonder why Asia does not offer many longstanding authentic heritage brands, that have successfully lasted through the ages, which are globally recognised and loved by fans beyond modern-day technology gadgets, such as Sony, Samsung, Xiaomi."

"While I was working in investment banking for Merrill Lynch and strategy consulting for McKinsey & Company, I noticed that Asian consumer brands were mostly low end or mass, primarily targeted towards domestic consumers with little brand loyalty, beyond that offered by cost savings."

"At the same time, I felt that Hong Kong was slowly losing its edge as Asia’s consumer market gateway, so I hatched a plan to regain Hong Kong’s foothold in the global landscape of luxury retail and launched Vermillion: Asia’s first mission-driven e-commerce platform that curates unique, luxury products from Asian designers for the most discerning international clientele."

What values does Vermillion stand by on this platform to boost Asian creatives and products?

"We operate according to principles I call “3 Cs:” Culture x Creativity x Commerce. I researched the critical pain points in Asia’s creative ecosystem and uncovered the broken parts in their value chain. We aspire to become the nexus where supply and demand from diverse ecosystem stakeholders can meet, and where fragmented emerging brand voices can be amplified. Our ultimate goal is to provide a “Farfetch of Asia” that faithfully showcases Asia’s ever-evolving kaleidoscope of diverse heritage and design styles."

Unlike low end or mass market e-commerce platforms across Asia that continuously try to do it all, and please everyone at all price points, they end up looking and sounding generic. To uniquely differentiate ourselves, we take a firm stance, are highly curated, and personally gatekeep precisely which brands and products appear on our platform. Unlike our peers who currently only truly sell into emerging markets with a lower average disposable income, we target top tier high quality consumers across Asia, and in the U.S. and Europe."

Krizia Li
Credit: Sophie Jin

How do you see Vermillion innovate and establish itself in Asia’s B2B online ecosystem?

"Vermillion now represents more than 220 contemporary Asian culture-driven home décor, art, and luxury lifestyle brands from 11 Asian markets. We go beyond Asia’s B2B online ecosystem. While our designers are mostly Asia-based, our audience is global. We seek to provide unparalleled, direct access to lifestyle creators + makers to luxury buyers all around the globe"

"Vermillion’s vision is to build a one-stop retail destination, either for aesthetes seeking to embroider their abodes with supreme Asian designs, or for Asian luxury lifestyle and design brands on the quest for a default online boutique when sourcing Asia-influenced creations."

"As a technology-driven platform, it is our commitment to continue to steer Asia’s design retail industry into the new digital era on a global scale. Our ultimate goal is to provide an ever-evolving marketplace that faithfully showcases the full breadth as well as depth of Asian design styles and heritage."

Why is Vermillion important for a burgeoning art and trade space in Asia?

"We spoke with all stakeholders around Asia’s creative ecosystem to understand critical pain points and figure out how to fix our broken value chain: buyers, sellers, manufacturers, intermediaries. Vermillion plays the critical role as a business incubator for our brand partners."

"Not only does Vermillion eliminate language barriers, we aspire to help more closely connect all players across the entire ecosystem, and by allowing fragmented small brands to elevate their brand awareness and price positioning, by sharing costs and [scaling] up their access to sorely needed professional resources, e.g. multi-lingual editorial and translations, lifestyle curation, cross-border social media buy, global logistics and customs support, and in the future, QA QC certifications, legal advisory, trade financing."

"As a result, we aim to matchmake our brand partners with their most desired international clients and position them in the most valuable distribution channels. In short, we are an exciting discovery platform whereby the most discerning customers worldwide can learn about previously unknown Asian creators."

Beyond interior décor, what other products do you intend to source on Vermillion?

"We source product categories far beyond simply interior design decorative items. Our #NewAsianLifestyleMovement collection covers your 5 senses: sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste. We offer a diverse brands portfolio from wellness amenities, such as singing bowls, meditation bells and vegan suede yoga mats, to classical Chinese calligraphy sets, greeting cards and timepieces for the sumptuous home office. We even showcase the finest teas and gourmet foods, such as sustainable birds nest and abalone, from Asian brands on our Vermillion platform."

"Vermillion’s criteria for selecting our #NewAsianLifestyleMovement brand partners are as follows: Commitment to Authenticity, Mission-Based, Value-Added, Community Builders, and Legacy Amplifiers."

Where do you see Vermillion region-wide in five years?

"I’d love to see the expansion of Vermillion’s new source markets deeper into South-East Asia, for example, Vietnam, as well as bringing our Asian creators and makers into top tier international markets such as across the U.S. and Europe, but also setting up a new online sales platform within China. We would by then be considered an iconic industry-defining tastemaker, as well as kingmaker, truly purveying the “best of” Asian luxury lifestyle brands to the world."

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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