We caught up with Alexandre’ Lau from Circle Five Limited, a Hong Kong based luxury life style based shoe company.These guys have some amazing designs for the upcoming year with a little bit of everything from business casual to more urban high top designs and even some very comfortable low top styles! Circle Five’s official release is set for June of this year. With business / marketing trips to the States scheduled throughout this year
Name: Alexandre’ Lau
Location: Hong Kong, China
So tell us about yourself , and what you do besides your brand ?
My name is Alexandre’ Lau, I’m an entrepreneur, founder of HoCheong Ltd. Lifestyle Group, and a partner of CIRCLE FIVE. I am a Chinese American, born in Hong Kong, raised in Longview, Texas, a graduate of Texas A&M University and a globetrotter curiously seeking inspiration and innovation for life. Besides CIRCLE FIVE, I’m also a partner at b.C Limited. There are two projects I’m currently working on with them: bespoke denim by b.C, the new standard for denim, tailored to your personal specifications, “NikeiD” but for jeans and Everything Denim, a one-stop shop for sourcing anything that deals with denim.
How hard is it getting into the luxury shoe business ? How did it all start?
It’s pretty difficult to start any business I would say, especially one in the footwear industry. Most people would start out with apparel, which I did myself; the entry barriers for apparel are much lower, material costs are less, minimum order quantity is less, labor is less due to the fact that it takes less time to mass produce apparel. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for a newly formed footwear company; I was hired on as an accountant. However through determination, perseverance, and a genuine love for the craft, I was able to hone my design skills and learn all aspects of footwear product development. During this period I did everything that was requested of me and more; working Saturdays, traveling to China at the drop of a dime, living at the factory for weeks, delivering shoes, etc… being in the fashion industry is not all glitz and glamour, you have to truly want it and love what you do.
Rewind 5 year’s ago what were you doing ?
Going back five year, I was a junior at Texas A&M University. I had just started my first business HoCheong Ltd., we offered tailored oxford shirts and graphics tees. This project was postponed when I graduated for I knew I needed more experience in the real world, time to grow both professionally and mentally, as well as time to expand my network, and so I moved to Hong Kong.
You guys are based out of Hong Kong right ? How much do you plan to market and distribute to America ?
Yes, we are based out of Hong Kong; Hong Kong is an international city that provides a great
business environment free of entry barriers; that’s the primary reason we’re based in Hong Kong versus the United States. The location also provides us with another crucial advantage; it’s very close to our factories allowing us to keep a close eye on production. Initially we plan on fully marketing and distributing our products throughout the United States, then moving forward to France, Korea, and Hong Kong.
Tell us who your biggest influence / Idol is in the business or clothing / Shoe industry ?
I would say the biggest influence on me would be my father and him affording me the opportunity to travel and
study around the world. I don’t have an idol; however, there are people that I draw inspiration from, both in design and business: Dominic Lau, Kris Van Assche, Ryan Leslie, Ato Matsumoto, Kanye West, Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, Tinker Hatfield, Amancio Ortega Gaona, etc…
You get a email about a large business investor wanting to put 10 mill down on your business,whats the first thing you use the money for ?
That’s good question: Honestly, we would use it for creating more exposure: trade-shows, event/fashion show sponsorships, and increasing our promotions for product placement. We have a quality product with design and comfort; now we need to share it.
Any last shutouts to friends ,Family that have helped you out with the company ?
Thank you for reading, for updates please follow us on twitter@circlefiveltd or oneLUVhc and Check Us Out at www.circle-five.com. I’d like give a shout out to my partners Greg Cox and Matthew Chu, Mario at FreshStock.,Pierre at SoBlackTie, Corey at CultureShoq, Micah at GRiND365, Nicolas at StyleFlavors, and Darren Buchanan from Buchanan Boyd. Special Thanks to Corey and the rest of the Rude Magazine team for taking the time to interview CIRCLE FIVE. We wish you all the best and we look forward to working with the Rude Mag team again in the near future.