China Lite

Right out of the box

Updated: 2009-09-10 17:53
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It's a strange sight being in a store without sales counters, cash registers and legions of over-zealous sales staff. Instead, the Fengguo Box in Zhongguancun Plaza north Beijing has come up with a compartmentalized approach to selling. Here shoppers can find more than 300 wooden boxes in the same shape but each with a different theme matching the goods sold.

Entering the box space, shoppers can find adorable stuffed dolls, eye-catching emblems, T-shirts and bags, all handmade and all displaying an artistic uniqueness. Each box represents a single element of this city and the soul of every designer as its owner.

As the first domestic outlet for creative designers, Fengguo Box provides shoppers with something totally different with what they can find in other department stores. Most box owners of the Fengguo Box are designers, who pay 200 yuan per month ($29.2) to rent their small space. Differing from mass-production or low quality markets, submissions for a box stall are assessed by originality and artistic merit.

Since its launch last year, its recorded good sales to the younger set, most notably the so-called post 80s and 90s generations. In less than 18 months, almost 200 box-shaped stalls have opened with more than a hundred artists settling in.

Although the market potential is huge just how the creative cultural industry will develop in the future - remains to be seen.

Nevertheless amid growing appreciation among consumers for authenticity and individuality the prospects for more innovative operations like Fengguo Box appear bright indeed.

Editor: Huan CAO