Finding, at the bottom of a closet, a Burberry jacket that he didn’t even remember buying had convinced Chen Rui that he was right to hire experts from organizations that help wealthy Chinese get their wardrobes in order.
“Where did you find this?” Asks Chen, 32, to the four professionals hired to sneak into their closets filled with clothing from major brands.
Organizers place order in luxury customer lockers in Beijing – Photo: Noel Celis / AFP
It will never be repeated enough how complicated life is for the millions of new riches who have emerged in recent decades in the largest communist country on the planet.
One-third of the world’s luxury spending now comes from Chinese consumers, according to a 2019 report by McKinsey Consulting.
Even the coronavirus pandemic did not quench the thirst of these wealthy buyers. In the absence of the possibility to buy everything in stores in Paris or Milan, they started shopping online.
November 11, the “singles party”, with tempting online discounts, can be another occasion to test this unbridled passion for products that reveal their social status. Typically, the largest e-commerce operation in the world takes place on this day.
But wealth is always accompanied by worries. Chen confesses that the state of her vast wardrobe, where she accumulates her Chanel suits, Hermès bags, Prada shoes and other must-see haute couture items, is the reason for frequent fights with her husband.
“I never separate myself from anything in my collection, I do nothing but permanently increase it”, acknowledges the former art teacher. “I see no reason to limit myself,” he insists.
The only possible way out is to turn to specialists to organize your blouses, shirts and party dresses.
Four “superorganizers”, dressed in elegant black suits, begin to empty their closets, turning their beautiful Beijing apartment into a den for a few hours. Stacked, more than a thousand items must be separated, in addition to dozens of bags, which will – for some time – return to their designated place in the correct closet.
The team is led by Yu Ziqin, one of thousands of graduates from a school called Liucundao (“Method of ordering your things”).
The school’s founder, Bian Lichun, estimates that the organization sector already has more than 3,000 professionals. According to the national television network CCTV, the activity could generate an astronomical amount of 100 billion yuan (about 15 billion dollars) this year.
“We arrange spaces, not the brain”
With the epidemic, the volume of business has multiplied by five, says Bian: a consequence of the increase in online shopping and the desire of consumers to organize their place of confinement.
Their teams do not seek to convince their customers to discard old clothes or consume less. Your goal is to “learn to better preserve” your belongings, by installing more functional storage furniture or by using simple tricks like very thin hangers.
Chen, who does not want to spend less, does not protest about the $ 2,300 charged by his organizers for a day’s work.
Some compulsive collectors need to call in experts once a month, according to Bian. But they don’t try to intervene in their clients’ psychology. “We arrange spaces, not people’s brains,” he points out.
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