Open and Close: To Summer launches “room of her own” with “Nosepaper”

New Chinese-style fragrance label To Summer has recently opened a new experiential store in Shanghai’s ROCKBUND area on the Bund. Inspired by English writer Virginia Woolf’s (1882 – 1941) A Room of One’s Own (1929), the fragrance store is complete with a coffee shop/bar by neighbouring café Naive founded by publisher Imaginist and books from feminist bookshop Paper Moon. Between 26 January and 2 March, customers who buy over 1,500 RMB (208.39 USD) can earn a co-branded coffee or cocktail, depending on the hours (9am to 6pm for coffee or 7pm to 2am for a cocktail).

In the book, Virginia Woolf wrote “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. This quote serves as the main inspiration for the concept store. The Bund might mean luxury and extravagance to most, but for To Summer, it means female freedom and imagination. The fragrance brand also curated a “Nosepaper” of women’s poetry under the theme of “Open and Close”, with guest editors and poets such as Yu Xiuhua and Wu Ang.

Established in Beijing in 2018, To Summer is a fragrance label dedicated to oriental scents and is often categorised as a “new Chinese style” with “guochao” movements. It opened its first offline store in Shanghai in 2022. Having received further investment from the global beauty conglomerate L’Oréal Group, the fragrance brand has also recently opened shops in Wuxi and Nanjing.

On the other hand, ROCKBUND is an office – apartment – café/restaurant – shopping complex built in the renovated historical buildings on the north side of the Bund. The Somekh Building, where To Summer’s new shop resides, has a literary history and once hosted the Wenhui Bao newspaper and the 1930s women’s magazine Ling Long. Apart from To Summer and Naive, it also hosts the likes of cosmetics brand Aesop, ROCKBUND library, multi-purpose work and coffee space IdeaPod Reserved and teashop Basao Projects.

The historical location is an amalgamation of Chinese and colonial European styles, typical of Shanghai. The arty and literary atmosphere of the complex fits the stereotypical lifestyle-centric image of Shanghai, especially the Bund. The concept store will be able to attract To Summer’s predominantly female target audience and  cosmopolitan young people by doubling down on the literary and feminist concepts.


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