In the Poetic Oriental Beauty located at the central area of Changsha, I was wearing an ancient luxurious costume, the set of Mrs Imperial Mandate in the TV drama The Story Of MingLan. The makeup was ceremonious, the attire was ornate, and the headwear was glorious and magnificent. The sense of ritual and time-travel was welling up in my heart. With the costume as the medium, I had a mental talk with the profound history and the protagonist. What an immersive experience.
The person who recommended this costume is the founder of Poetic Oriental Beauty, Yang Jian.
A Practitioner of Commercial Aesthetics
Yang Jian opened up the first chinoiserie photography shop in Changsha in 2003. After 16 years, Changsha is still advancing triumphantly in the industry of entertainment. Little chips light great fires; Poetic Oriental Beauty has become a legend in the photography industry.
This powerful business empire was born out of a studio with a strong traditional touch. With keen insight into China’s consumer culture, consumption trends, class evolution, and new aesthetic thinking, it enjoyed triumphant victory in the first half of the era of the internet. And it is still like a duck to water in the second half. Forming a large chinoiserie cultural industry group with artistic experience integrating photography service, costume design, product production, and cultural communication, realizing the perfect combination of modern commerce and the Chinese traditional culture.
The sudden rise of Poetic Oriental Beauty is also benefited from the steady development of the photography industry. The total revenue of the industry has exceeded 300 billion yuan for three consecutive years, the hotbed for the booming growth of photography enterprises. The average profit margin of the industry has exceeded 10%.
As the size of the photography industry grows more abundant, it becomes more heterogeneous and ecologically diverse. First of all, the popularization of photography. The rise of all kinds of beauty applications and popular photography software has pulled down the superior reproduction from the altar, expedited colourful and lively life shows, dazzling the audience and pushing up the commercial value. Secondly, centralization of professional photography resources. By creating online and offline platforms, professional freelancing photographers can be centralized to realize the seamless connection between the aesthetic value expressed by individual photographers and the business.
Absorbed in the industry, however, Yang Jian chose a “cumbersome” way to operate. Different from the new business trend that I came into contact with and invested in when I was an investor, Poetic Oriental Beauty has opened up a crowd of physical stores. The business model is more traditional and lacks asset-light flexibility.
Where are the business barriers? This is also the question in Yang Jian’s thoughts daily and nightly. “I always believe that when a business is developing, especially in a leading position, we must build the moat in advance.”
Even Yang thinks having 224 outlets is a spoony method, but meanwhile the smartest method. “Among today’s internet products, the largest concerns are competitors, imitators and moats. If we look at the 224 stores from another perspective, does it mean we have built a substantial moat? Although it seems stupid to have every store designed and decorated, including building the scenes, having 200 good locations, good cities and good addresses are smart. Because our moats are higher.”
盘子女人坊的护城河还不止于此，其古装 IP 的服饰供应和摄影授权，抢占流量高地，成为加固护城河的关键砝码之一。
Poetic Oriental Beauty has another layer of the moat. Because of the costumes with IP and photography authorization, the company can seize the market preemptively, which is one of the critical weights to strengthen the moat.