On November 11 each year, China celebrates Singles’ Day: a holiday signifying pride in being unattached which is now the biggest shopping day around the world — known locally as 11.11. This year, according to Alibaba, customers spent $1 billion in the first 85 seconds of Singles’ Day and $10 billion in the following hour. Despite massive sales figures, how are brands faring during the festival? ORDRE spoke to one brand to see what it’s like to take part in China’s biggest shopping and entertainment gala.
Moonlight Dreamer was started in 2012 by designer Luo XiaoDream, from a studio in Shenzhen. The ready to wear label is aimed at young Chinese millennials aged 18 t0 28 years old. Selling on Taobao, the brand plans to open a Tmall store next year, given it’s staggering growth on the e-commerce platform.
“During the year, we take part in Taobao events off all sizes, but by far, 11.11 is the most exciting”
In Luo XiaoDream’s own words:
“During the year, we get monthly updates on our sales from Alibaba. We take part in Taobao events off all sizes, such as the New Power Week, and get updates and fan interactions on all media platforms like Weib and MicroTech. By far, 11.11 is the most exciting.”
“We have been working since October  to prepare for Singles’ Day. We began to prepare the designs and style for 11.11 throughout September, as we wanted to get ready in advance and have it in stocked, manufactured and prepared by the Alibaba date. We actually started the shopping spree in the early hours of 11.10, because we also wanted to avoid the 11.11 peak as our main consumer groups are mostly our long-time fans anyway — we have this flexibility.
“We started the communications strategy by spreading our brand message on various media platforms. We work with teams from Alibaba’s design departments to update our Taobao home page, the main Singles’ Day page, release our new fashion films and so on. We also work with KOLs during the event, so we have to plan all of this too. As we choose not to pay massive advertising fees, we mainly publish our news on our own social platform, including posting videos on our WeChat Circle of Friends or our WeChat fan base. We don’t take part in official Taobao events but we will next year. Offline, we also hold open days at our studio, where we do some workshop-style events and even additional sample sales to interact with our fanbase and customers.”
“During the event it's a really exciting time! There are 11 people in our team. My main job is to design the prints and manage the brand and my wife works as a designer director. We have two other designers, two graphic designers, a team of two on social media, an operations executive, a customer service supervisor, a P2P chef, and three customer service providers working part-time.
“We offer time limited discounts and raffles onsite as an added incentive to generate engagement, so we get a lot more additional traffic to our site. I will discuss the issue of additional orders with our operations manager, as well as the issues of logistics, returns, and so on. We have stock on hand to start shipping the next day after the sale. We have a long-standing relationship with Shun Fung shipping company based in Shenzhen and from 10-12 November we work from 6am to 1am.
“After the gala, we were really pleased that all our hard work paid off, but we know that if we were in Taobao’s official campaign we would have sold more — we’ll do that next time. We expect monthly sales to be $400-$500,000 (our profit margin is 40 percent) but in November sales exceed this, obviously. Over three days alone, our sales are about $470,000 so it’s a lot! From this, we cover our employees' wages, office rental costs, promotion costs, and the cost of producing our garments which are pretty high.
“For now, it’s about delivery — we need the whole Shun Fung company staff to help deliver the 500-800 orders in 3-5 days of express delivery. And we are already looking towards the next event in December 12, another lesser known discount day from Alibaba. We will also open our first offline store at the mall by the end of this year, and begin to experiment with offline sales slowly.”