Craft Platforms: Case studies 大西皮具-Daxi leather studioJune 13, 2020 2020-11-15 9:01
Craft Platforms: Case studies 大西皮具-Daxi leather studio
Daxi - a leather product handmade experiencing studio
- The service Daxi offered include handmade course experience and personalized leather product
- Daxi apply digital software to assist product design and handmade the final leather product
- Social media including Wechat and Taobao live are used to promote their product and accumulate followers
- Daxi cooperates with local shopping malls to hold pop-up events, developing mutual benefit relationship with the mall
Figure 1: Daxi’s store and leather crafts
Daxi Leather Studio was established in 2015, located in Bolinjingu District, Changsha. The founder Hong Daxi graduated from the Architectural Design Department of the Chinese Academy of Art, who is also the founder of the HIUTIME brand and a member of the Young Craftsmen Alliance. Hong Daxi founded the studio out of his love for handmade leather goods, hoping that customers can experience the charm of handmade creation in the process of making leather goods. The entire studio contains 5-6 full-time employees and covers an area of360 square meters.
The services of the studio encompass from personal customization to experience courses to group lessons. Studio also owns a customized brand named HIUTIME, which provides personalized service and product, develops new retail methods for leather cultural creative products, and has become China’s first-class brand. At the beginning of 2019, Daxi began to provide his customers with more professional bag renovation consulting and planning. Until now, he has remade bags of many luxury brands, including LV, Gucci, Fendi, Loewe, and so on.
DIGITAL ‘TOUCH POINTS’
Use of Digital equipment
The digital devices the studio has including ipad, mobile phone, computer, and camera. The studio apply computer to use different digital design software, including Auto CAD, Photoshop, Illustrator. Camera is used to take the picture of the leather product and record their making process.
Use of Digital technologies
Although the making process of the leather products doesn’t use digital technologies in Daxi studio, they will cooperate with the factory.
- When they have a huge amount of orders, and it’s hard to complete all by handmade, they will give the order to the factory, and the factory will produce the products with the design pattern studio offered.
- The factory will make some molds for them, using these mold studios can cut the corresponding shape of leather.
Figure 2: Daxi’s store and leather crafts
Use of Social Media
Taobao Live, which is china e-commerce platform with live-streaming service, is one of the digital platforms Daxi uses to promote its product. One year ago, Daxi ran a show named Better Leather Product, Better Life on Taobao live, which gets more than 550,000 views on the platform. It mainly introduced their leather product to the audience. During the live show, the employees can interact with the audience and sell their products directly. They cooperated with a factory to make the live show, which helps them gain more exposure and followers. The factory also provided the production for small amounts of orders.
Figure 3: The screenshot of Daxi Studio’s Taobao Live page
WeChat’s personal account also is an important way for Daxi to promote its product. Now the WeChat account has nearly 10,000 followers. Because browsing on Moments of WeChat has gradually become a daily routine for most China young people, the employee will update the events and products on moments every week. Many followers will know the information about the studio and buy products through the account.
Figure 4: The screenshot of Daxi Studio’s WeChat moments and QR rode page
Besides, Daxi has set up a WeChat subscription account, on which they share the leather product and handmade course registration inform. The brand concept written on the introduction of subscription said, “We are creating a life by handmade, everything is made by hand. We follow the rhythm of nature, share new life attitude, and enjoy the life’s simple pleasure.” The concept of enjoying life and love of handicrafts conveyed by the subscription has attracted many youth who love handicraft, and it can guide them to add the studio’s WeChat personal account.
Figure 5: The screenshot of Daxi Studio’s WeChat subscription page
Use of digital software
Before handmade the leather product, there are several digital software involved in the whole process of work. The designer will draw the rough sketch on paper first, and then they will draw the detail of the product based on the sketch using Photoshop. The next step is marked the dimension line and figures of the product in illustrator or Auto CAD. After all of this process, designers will have a concrete reference to make the final product.
The founder Hong Daxi Said, “If you use Auto CAD, you can quickly define the accurate size of product and mass produced same product with the dimensional data, which is hard to accomplish by handmade. With the assisting of digital software, the efficiency and accuracy are highly improved.”
The digital platforms involved in Daxi Leather Studio’s making and marketing
The challenges of applying digital platforms in Daxi
There are some potential challenges when applying digital platforms in Daxi leather studio. The challenges for using e-commerce and social media are summarised below:
The challenges of using e-commerce (online marketplaces):
The price of handmade products is much higher than similar products.
“Because there is a barrier to sell handicrafts on the e-commerce platform, products are compared horizontally. For example, if you look at a bag, find that the price of a handicraft bag is more than 1000 yuan, and a lot of other bags’ prices are between two or three hundred with rich styles, colorful surfaces, and fast delivery. So handicrafts are not competitive in that platform. Furthermore, selling of handicrafts needs a precision marketing strategy. The most reasonable way of selling handicrafts is that you can explain the process of hand-making products to customers, he trusts on you and is interested in your story, or something you are selling is what he needs now. Imagining that a customer needs a bag and search on the e-commerce platform, he will find the Hunan Embroidery shop sells all kinds of beautiful embroidery bags, which prices are more than 2000 yuan. Then I search a similar product to find it only sold 40 yuan. Most of the time, the customer will choose the cheaper ones, they are more inclined to the accessible thing.” said by founder Hong Daxi.
- The challenges of using social media in Daxi studio:
Top 1: The managing of social media required lots of time and energy
It’s difficult for them insisted on updating different and high-quality content on social media. Daxi stopped making Taobao live show with the factory recently because it takes too much time and energy. “After 7 or 8 months of cooperation, we decided to give up the live show， because live broadcasting takes a lot of time from the early preparation to the later resumption, which consumes too much human and material resources.” said Hong Daxi.
Top 2: The view audience is hard to transfer into consumer
The whole view counts of Taobao live are significant, but the view counts cannot efficiently contribute to increase in product sales. “Taobao seems to have a lot of people visit, but you can only attract a small part of them, or you have to pay a super high promotion fee to the platform. Otherwise, your targeted customer is only a small group of people, and the followers are always regular people. When you give up the live streaming, you can see it more clearly.” said Hong Daxi.
MORE DESCRIPTIONS ABOUT DAXI
The founder Hong Daxi defines himself as a designer, not a craftsman. Daxi said, “When talking about handicraft, I hope that everyone can participate and experience the charm of handicraft, not just the craft itself.” The founder also will find all kinds of ways to promote their products. Studio also cooperates with some local shopping malls and occasionally does some pop-up activities on the ground floor of the mall. Artisans attract people to the mall and retain customers. The mall provides artisans with a venue and opportunity to promote them. The shopping mall and Daxi studio have established a mutual benefit relationship.
Daxi offer clients a wide range of service, including personalized customization, experience courses, group lessons, and bag renovation. All the handicrafts in the studio are made of leather material. When designing the shape and pattern of leather products, they will apply the digital software to improve their efficiency and accuracy. Furthermore, they will cooperate with the shopping mall to hold some activities. Besides offline events, they also use social media like WeChat and Taobao to promote their products, communicate with clients, and now the studio has accumulated more than 10,000 followers. In the future, the founder is considering sharing short- videos on TikTok in order to attract more potential clients.
Craftplatforms.org has been produced by the project research team at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and Hunan University, China.
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Nick Bryan-Kinns
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary University of London
London E1 4NS
Prof. Hao Tan
School of Design, Hunan University
Yuelu Mountain, Changsha