raphael le masne de chermont

The Business: Raphael le Masne de Chermont of Shanghai TangThe Telegraph, 25 September 2014

As a child I wanted to be a baker in the morning – I love pastries – and Zorro in the afternoon. When I left France for the UK in 1987, fresh from graduation, there were two industries that the French were recognised for – food and luxury. Since I can’t cook, I had no choice but to join the luxury business.

My first challenge at Shanghai Tang was to change the relevance of the product. In 2002-3 the brand was a glamorous destination for Western tourists to take a piece of China home. No Chinese were buying there. It wasn’t viable for us long term. The Chinese are regarded as the factory of the world and not considered to be producers luxury. Today 51 per cent of our buyers are Asian and the Chinese consumer is more confident investing their own luxury culture.