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High class hair, cutting edge fashion create boom in Hong Kong

Robinson says the days of pretentious and pricey hairdos are gone  

December 30, 1999
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m. HKT (0400 GMT)

HONG KONG (CNN) -- Salon Esprit, the newest hair salon to hit Hong Kong, is thriving by following one simple formula -- know your consumers and meet their new demands.

Based in retailer Esprit's Mongkok store, the less-than-a-month-old salon boasts a state-of-the-art studio, a one-price-and-no-tipping policy and signature wash-and-go cuts by hairdressers trained by a celebrity stylist who says the days of pretentious and pricey hairdos are gone.

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VideoCNN's Lisa Barron visits a high-tech hair salon.
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"It's a new concept for Asia," says Kim Robinson. "Either the salons are aimed at a very high-end, very expensive, or you go down to the mass market, mom and pop shops, which tend to be more undisciplined, no quality control, no hygiene level at all. So it's something very new. We're actually answering a niche in the market."

Hong Kong-based Esprit Holdings chairman Michael Ying says Salon Esprit is not only offering a new service to the mass market but has also helped his company reinvent itself.

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"Having a good salon adds value to a brand like Esprit, especially in Asia where people see Esprit as a company selling t-shirts and casual wear."

The hair salon is only a part of Esprit's vision for the new millenium. In fact, Ying has already added supermarket style stores selling only clothes for children and megastores selling a full range of goods.

Untouched by the 1997 Asian economic crisis, Esprit has doubled it's space in Hong Kong in the last two years and its share price has jumped 175 percent since the beginning of this year.

And according to analysts, the potential for more growth is still there especially if the U.S. market is targeted.

From Correspondent Lisa Barron in Hong Kong



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