Bulgari’s Jeffrey Hang Explains How The Brand Brings Roman Vibes To Its Four Kuala Lumpur Stores

“Why do we need four stores in Kuala Lumpur? We don’t. But specifically, we needed to be in TRX,” explains Jeffrey Hang, Bulgari’s South Asia Pacific regional managing director. Hang was in town to officially inaugurate the Italian jeweller’s latest Malaysian boutique on the ground floor of The Exchange TRX, which is shaping up to be the capital city’s number-one retail location.

The brand has had a lot of success at its previous sites at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Suria KLCC and The Gardens Mall, but he believes The Exchange TRX has an edge over the other locations. “Those properties have been around for a while. And of course they’ve done certain updates, but you don’t feel the way the pulse of retail is moving. This is the first mall that I think is world-class,” he adds. “The attention given to breathing space—the size of the corridors, the height of the ceilings, the location of the bathrooms—and then interspersing the F&B throughout, people are shopping this way today. It’s more of a lifestyle (experience) as opposed to coming in, looking for one thing.”

Bulgari did not arrive alone. It was one of many LVMH group brands that signed on to the project, with the entire stable making a powerful opening line-up for The Exchange TRX. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Celine, Tiffany & Co. and Hublot are just some of the heavy-hitting names that are part of the group. “For us, it was very important to support this project,” Hang says, while calling the mall a landmark for Malaysia. He adds that its highly connected location, which is close to major highways and right above the Tun Razak Exchange MRT station (which recently became known as the TRX Samsung Galaxy MRT Station), was a contributing factor in this decision. “We know that Malaysians are shopping all over the world. A part of that is the feeling that we don’t have the best of everything in KL,” Hang opines. “The Exchange TRX is that now, and I think gives Malaysians a greater sense of confidence and assurance when they’re shopping at home—we have the best of everything. And I can tell you that where Bulgari is concerned, that’s definitely the case.”

The new Bulgari boutique is also the first in Malaysia to implement the brand’s latest store concept, taking after the flagship in New York’s Fifth Avenue that was the work of architect Peter Marino. “It is very Italian and, specifically, very Roman,” Hang explains, referring to the generous use of warm tones and marble. A recurring saffron orange is meant to reflect an inviting Roman sunset.

It comes on the back of a strong period for Bulgari in the region, which Hang credits to the work that the brand did during the COVID-19 pandemic—pivoting away from a reliance on tourism and instead turning towards a burgeoning domestic market. “Focusing on locals with laser precision gave us the ability to not only come into contact with our clients but also to get to know them much better,” he says. “Jewellery is a very emotional business. Of course, our products matter, but what entices them to come back is the relationship that we build.”

In a region where jewellery is prominent, Bulgari bears the distinction of being the sole Italian brand among the top players. “There’s a certain warmth to what we do. I think this resonates with our clients and it feels authentic,” Hang says. “And the style is also different. We are bold in our design. Whether you’re looking at Serpenti or Diva, when you see a Bulgari piece, you know it’s Bulgari. That’s number one. And number two, we are the master of coloured stones. This region happens to appreciate that. You have other markets that are more specific to diamonds or precious metals. Southeast Asia is colour-stone-oriented. And where that’s concerned, for international jewellers, we’re the pinnacle.”

More photos of the Bulgari store at The Exchange TRX


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