Stores with distinct new designs and ideas appeal to local residents

Zhu Shenshen
Suitable for shopping or just hanging-out, they fit the 15-minute life circle concept to make all services easily accessible.
Zhu Shenshen

Stores with new designs and ideas located on the corner of Wukang Road and Anfu Road are attracting people for shopping or to just hang-out.

The venues ideally fit Shanghai's practice of building "15-minute community life circles." Within a 15-minute walk, residents are expected to have access to various services related to living, working, studying, traveling and elderly care.

A 700-square-meter Harmay store opened on the corner on Thursday, offering a range of cosmetics including niche brands and trial make-ups. It features a low-key grey color design and a decor evoking an "old Shanghai flavor."

"I will call it a community culture hub as well as a normal cosmetics store," said Damien Zhong, Harmay's chief operating officer and co-founder.

Residents are welcomed here to walk dogs, meet couriers and sell flowers if they wish. In future, art exhibitions, seminars and other public activities will be held if conditions allow.

The new Harmay store has a lobby with chairs and space, and sells coffee. It has open areas from the second floor to the fourth which has a terrace with a nice view. The decor includes lane, or longtang, style reproduced from old Shanghai.

The Harmay brand, originally a store on Taobao, has a "long tail" business model. Besides popular and best-selling products, it also offers niche and lesser known brands, attracting people to visit and test.

Among the brand's 8,000 products, half of them are niche brands. For Harmay, people originally wanted to buy a popular SK-II product. But sometimes they would prefer a niche item and become a new brand's loyal customers, increasing brand awareness and sales, Zhong said.

Besides fancy coffee shops, restaurants and art centers, the corner is an integrated site for fashion, Internet and new retail.

Déjà Vu, a recently opened a second-hand store for books and clothes, is across the street from Harmay. It not only promotes reusing goods but also bundles up book purchases with recycled string to avoid using paper or plastic.

As its major business, Deja Vu, or Duozhuayu, is a website platform for the resale of used electronics, including Kindles and books.

These ideas and stores seem to be welcomed in Shanghai, including 15-minute-walk residents and fashion and tech-savvy visitors. They have all gathered in the stores during recent weekends.

Shanghai is a city for fresh ideas and fashion, said Zhong, who plans to move to the city from Beijing.

In future, Harmay will open several dozen stores nationwide. They may also cover a range of items integrated with cosmetics, such as food and flowers, Zhong added.

Stores with distinct new designs and ideas appeal to local residents
Ti Gong

A new store opens in Wukang Road with a lobby for local residents.

Stores with distinct new designs and ideas appeal to local residents
Ti Gong

Harmay's new store in Wukang Road features a lobby visitors' hang-out and rest. The idea fits Shanghai's practices of building "15-minute community life circles."

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