Dents

By Alison Tudor Ackroyd and Yashan Zhao | Source from Alizila

Royal glovemaker Dents’ CEO says firm doubled revenue in China by going digital

Glovemaker Dents has enjoyed a growth spurt in sales since its debut on Alibaba Group’s cross-border online marketplace Tmall Global two years ago.

While Dents is a small British company with its headquarters nestled in rural England, it has been making gloves for British high society for almost 250 years. We’re a small company, but we’re a big brand. We’re a heritage brand. We’re a company that punches above our weight. People have a pair of Dents, they don’t have a pair of gloves, they have a pair of Dents. We’re always really delighted when we see the Royal Family wearing our gloves. We make the gloves for Prince Charles for his ceremonial occasions, the white gloves. We’ve had a long and glorious history with the Royal Family and we’re very proud of it.

King Charles III wore the coronation gauntlet that Dents made for his grandfather George VI at his coronation on May 6. Dents’ gloves have also appeared in hit TV shows Bridgerton, The Queen and Downton Abbey.  Dents believes its British heritage wins fans overseas, but it wanted the reach of a digital e-commerce platform like Tmall to tell its story to Chinese consumers.

We’re really excited about the China market; we’ve seen it grow really quickly. And it’s an interesting market because we seem to be reaching a younger audience. It’s a challenging market, but it’s dynamic, it’s fast-moving and we’re really pleased to be selling there. The British company’s sales on Tmall Global doubled from around £500,000 ($620,000) in its first year on the platform to £1 million in the second year.

“The China market is going to be our biggest market within the next couple of years,” said Moore.  “It’s been a journey being on Tmall and coming from the UK, not knowing a great deal about it and then seeing the exposure and the customer base has been amazing.

Our Tmall store initially was mostly men’s and then in the last 18 months suddenly our women’s business has boomed, absolutely boomed. And what’s helped it is the technology, we have touch screen gloves, you can use your phone, you can use a tablet and not take your gloves off, which is lovely, and the Chinese absolutely love technology. 

We’ve seen a huge upturn in our driving gloves for men and for women, but mainly men, and men like to have a cool car, a cool bike, a great watch, and with a driving glove. And we’ve actually just made a driving glove where you can actually have your watch inside the cut-out on the driving glove and it’s been selling really well. We’re so pleased that we are seeing the return of Chinese tourists to London and of course, we have our gloves in Selfridges and in Harrods and Liberty. In fact, most of the finest shops in the UK. It just re-emphasizes how important the brand is on Tmall, and when a foreign visitor of any nationality sees our brand in major department stores, it just reinforces the importance of the Tmall store.