Upmarket children wear’s brand Nicholas & Bears prefers to leave its IT requirements in the hands of experts. It has remained true to this outsourcing mindset, whilst it has expanded to establish a regional presence in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.
“In the beginning, there was no point for us to hire a dedicated IT person. Our requirements were quite simple so he would have ended up with nothing to do much of the time,” said company CEO Elaine Cheung (pictured).
Nicholas & Bears started when a young, fashionable mom realized it was difficult to get high quality, stylish clothes for her eldest son in retail stores across the city.
“There were a lot of clothes with cartoon characters as well as cars on them. They were sufficient for daily wear or casual outings, but there were not enough of the elegant clothing that I wanted to dress my son in during special occasions,” Cheung recalled, who finally found what she was looking for in Europe, during short visits.
While the prices were reasonable if the clothes were bought in Europe, they typically cost over 50% more if these brands were purchased in Hong Kong.
As a passionate fashion designer, Cheung started creating custom-made formal clothes for her son. Thus, the seeds of what is now a growing international luxury fashion brand for kids were sown.
“In Hong Kong, kids’ wear is either too cheap or too expensive. So I began making my own designs. I thought other people might like them too. And to me, there is not much difference between producing one piece and 100 pieces.”
Today, the 12-year-old company – which made its debut at a time many have deemed to be inauspicious (the infamous SARS outbreak was then sowing economic havoc) – has 1,300 employees, who mostly man its 70 wholly-owned retail stores across its five Asian markets. It has also expanded its product portfolio under two other brands – Blue Bears, which is Nicholas & Bears’ casual line, and Ferrari Junior, an exclusive Asian franchise and licensing agreement that the company signed with the luxury sportscar manufacturer in November 2014.