Australian luxury Ugg boots prove popular in China
The footwear of choice for surfers and skiers, the humble Ugg boot has turned high fashion thanks to a push from China's middle class to wear blinged up Uggs.
Gold Coast Ugg manufacturer Burlee has just signed a deal in China for the distribution and sale of its luxury Uggs. Burlee boss Richard Friedrichs told local media the footwear brand will open standalone Burlee boutiques on the mainland and sell Burlee’s range through online platforms such as TMall.com and JD.com.
“China has a burgeoning middle class that is expected to reach 850 million," Friedrichs told the Courier Mail. “They like Australian products and they are prepared to pay for quality.”
Unlike regular Uggs, Burlee's are handmade from vintage fabrics and even snake skin, and come embellished in Swarovski crystals. The boots typically price between AU$400-800 (USD$300-600) with pairs selling for as much as $20,000.
However, Burlee has received opposition from US-based Decker Corp., over the trademarked use of the word "Ugg". Friedrichs told the Mail that Ugg is a generic name for an Australian sheepskin boot.
“The trademark issue is why we have developed the Burlee brand overseas,” he said. He added that manufacturing in Australia was more expensive, but moving the factory to China would affect quality.
Founded on the Gold Coast in 1974, Burlee currently has five retail stores in Australia.
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