Cotte Yolan: Succession and Strategic Transformation

Siew Kim Jean Lee, Liman Zhao

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case demonstrates how, through trial and error, Qingdao Kutesmart Co., Ltd. ("Kutesmart," formerly known as Qingdao Red Collar Group Co., Ltd.) executed its strategy of "building a customer-to-manufactory (C2M) business ecosystem," following transformation from mass production to mass customization. In 2015, Kutesmart launched Magic Manufactory to explore consumer-oriented garment customization. However, when public response fell below expectations, the new brand closed its physical stores in the second half of 2016. Drawing on the lessons learned from the failure of Magic Manufactory, Kutesmart launched Cotte Yolan, a proprietary made-to-measure garment brand designed by founder Daili Zhang with an eye on handing over the reins to daughter Yunlan Zhang. To ensure a successful succession, Daili, who was about to retire, formulated Cotte Yolan's own governance framework and carried out a range of organizational changes. He believed that with this governance system, companies in other industries could also transform to customization and succeed in succession. Looking ahead, father and daughter had different views regarding the future position of Cotte Yolan: should it be a fashion brand, a made-to-measure garment supplier, or a project to promote the transformation and upgrade among traditional companies? In addition, would Cotte Yolan's governance framework prove crucial for implementing Yunlan's C2M strategy and leading the company into the future?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

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Case type

Field Case

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Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • Family Business
  • family businesses
  • strategic transformation
  • Succession
  • Organizational Reform
  • organizational change
  • organizational transformation
  • organisational change
  • platform management

Case studies discipline

  • General Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail Trade


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