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Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2677 1405 Words (5 Pages) Roy Y. J. Chua, Robert G. Eccles Harvard Business School : 410018
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

Shanghai Tang was opened by David Tang in 1994 and started selling high-quality products. Within one year, the business had already broken even. Due to its success, Tang decided to open up another outlet in New York but was unsuccessful. 1997's financial crisis also decreased the sales by 40%, and in September 2001, Tang sold the business to Richemont group, which then appointed Raphael Le Masne, executive chairman of Shanghai Tang. Raphael Le Masne, using his vision, decided to change the creative direction of Shanghai Tang and hired Joanne Ooi as the new creative director. It was decided that each of the product's designs would reflect Chinese cultural themes, and subsequently, the company's sales and revenues saw immense growth. However, the aims of designers and managers were conflicting; thus, there were some confrontations during meetings. Due to contradictory aims, the progress of the company started to decrease. Raphael was trying to find a way to balance artistic creativity and commercial imperatives in the business.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. What is Raphael le Masne’s vision for Shanghai Tang when he joins the firm?

  2. If there was going to be a newspaper article written five years after his joining, what would he want the headline to be?

  3. What motivates and de motivates designers?

  4. What motivates and de motivates managers (i.e., the buyers and salespeople)?

Case Analysis for Managing Creativity at Shanghai Tang Case Solution

1. What is Raphael le Masne’s vision for Shanghai Tang when he joins the firm?

Raphael le Masne's vision is to make Shanghai Tang a global trendsetter and overseer of modern Chinese Chic. The company's vision originally was to be the first Chinese international luxury brand. Successfully accomplishing this goal, Raphael le Masne's vision for the future involves transitioning from a brand for Westerners who appreciate Chinese culture to a brand for Westerners and Chinese who love luxury. For this purpose, he made Joanne Ooi a creative director to evolve the company's design and style to appeal to more Chinese customers. Raphael le Masne placed great emphasis on exploiting Chinese cultural heritage and wanted to capture and incorporate China's spirit, charm, and power through their designs to attract as many customers as possible and make Shanghai Tang a market leader for high-quality products. Moreover, When he joined, Shanghai Tang was already struggling to maintain its sales in the US and Hong Kong. Raphael le Masne envisioned increasing its customer base. Not only did he want to increase sales in Hong Kong and the US, but also he wanted to expand into different countries and make Shanghai Tang go global. He wanted to produce top-notch quality products and show the world that Chinese-made goods were top-quality goods. Furthermore, he wanted to end the differences between managers and designers. Designers and directors often argue about how the company handles its business. These stakeholders had different goals and motivations; thus, they didn't get along well. Raphael le Masne wanted to eliminate this gap and subsequently hired a new creative manager and took multiple steps to ensure these two departments worked with each other and, by their combined efforts, make Shanghai Tang a successful producer of luxury products and make Shanghai tang a leader in the fashion industry and China's first international luxury brand.

2. If there was going to be a newspaper article written five years after his joining, what would he want the headline to be?

Shanghai Tang was initially struggling before Raphael le Masne’s was appointed as executive chairman of the company. Once he took over and took the necessary steps, appointed Joanne Ooi, a creative director, appointed several new designers and started to focus more on Chinese themes and culture, the company saw a period of immense growth. Revenue earned at the New York store increased by 50%, and in 2006, exactly 5 years after he took over, a number of Shanghai Tang stores grew by 40%. With this data in hand and his vision, he would definitely have more plans for expansion. Thus, the headline he would want is that “Shanghai Pant is just getting started.” Shanghai Tang has still a lot to achieve.

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