IN ASIA is a team of entrepreneurs - mindset individuals who will drive your brand
in fast growing Asian markets. Gael Hornebeck talks about his experience, why he founded IN ASIA, and more.
What brought you to Asia?
When I graduated from H.E.C. I went to Hanoi, Vietnam to work for a development bank. A few months later, I started my company in interior decoration. I opened a shop full of crafted pieces with a French twist made in Vietnam. It was fun and it was my first exposure to retail...back in 1994!
What kept you to Asia?
I came back to Asia in 2006 (left Hanoi in 1998) and from that date onwards I only worked in distributing international brands. I did it in Vietnam at a very pioneer time for brands such as Aldo, Emporio Armani, Swarovski. I also introduced high luxury brands in Cambodia, managed Balmain in Asia, learned from the leading Thai retailer Central, and distribute edgy jewellery from Repossi. But to go back to your question, the common denominator of all these incredible experiences is the feeling of infinite possibilities and the stamina that offers Asia.
It seems that you had quite a few experiences with international brands. How would
you define a winning strategy for an International brand that enters Asia?
One word: resilience. It's is not going to happen overnight. But it's also about engaging with consumers. A very trendy term that I think means: tell your honest story, be fun and
exciting, propose a fair pricing. Besides, you need to treat your distributors as your partners and execute your strategy perfectly.
What were your expectations when you started IN ASIA?
I want to bring diversity to a market that I feel ready for discovering new things. Young people here are so curious! And so many maisons have beautiful stories to tell but they think Asia is the Moon (or Mars!).
How does COVID impact the development of newcomers in Asia?
Asian Consumers are still eager to purchase the good brands in their own country since they cannot travel anymore. The difficulties for the brands are related to travel restrictions. We will have to be inventive and go digital to present collection and products to clients!
Most important! What do you do in your free time (if any)?
I always make a point to have free time! I collect art, try new outdoor sports and activities and visit my favourite chefs in Hong Kong to see if they can cook any dish of the day for me!