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Friday, March 24, 2023

WWD Awards Jacquemus Best Performing Fashion Company, Small Cap – WWD

There are chin strap expedition hats, and then there are chin strap expedition hats with strong consumer engagement.

Simon Porte Jacquemus came up with the latter. His “bob Artichaut,” as it’s called in the brand’s e-store, has been changing at a rate of about 10,000 units a month over the summer.

“This has gone viral,” marveled Bastien Daguzan, chief executive of Paris-based Jacquemus, which is receiving the WWD Honor for Best Performing Fashion Company, Small Cap. He said enthusiastic adoption of the bucket hat by his “community,” which includes celebrities, influencers and countless young enthusiasts for the brand, fueled demand for the item.

The same goes for a number of other Jacquemus creations, led by the successful Chiquito handbag, the new Bambino model and its sharp, lingerie-like fashion.

The designer’s vivid storytelling on Instagram, where he has 5.1 million followers, is the not-so-secret sauce behind the company’s meteoric rise, with revenue more than doubling in 2021 to exceed €100 million and a net return of more than 30 percent of sales.

In an interview, Daguzan said the company is on track to double sales again in 2022 and has a medium-term ambition of reaching €500 million in revenue by 2025.

So much for the common belief that it is nearly impossible for a young, independent designer to achieve critical mass in a fashion landscape dominated by fast-growing luxury giants like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci and Dior.

Jacquemus has done so by being something of a hybrid between a pure luxury player (accessories make up about 65 percent of revenue, the rest is off-the-shelf) and a digital-native vertical brand.

Their online store generates about 40 percent of revenue, with the rest coming from wholesale. It is a proportion that Daguzan intends to invest, stressing that excellence in e-commerce remains a fundamental strategy. “The main goal is to get a full grasp on digital, improve the digital experience everywhere we can, and intensify this channel,” he said.

A month ago, Jacquemus dove into physical retail by opening a pop-up boutique on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, which became an instant Instagrammer thanks to its most unusual feature: a giant popcorn machine that beckons customers to serve themselves through an arcade-style claw.

The Jacquemus pop-up boutique on Avenue Montaigne in Paris.

Courtesy of Jacques

Daguzan cited a “super good” response to the boutique, which often has longer lines than luxury neighbors like Dior, Gucci and Saint Laurent.

The executive characterized the pop-up window as a way to showcase the brand in an “elevated” atmosphere and gain insight into the physical channel. He already noted that “ready-to-wear is doing better in this store than online business.”

Resembling a gallery of beige and white sculptures, the multi-level unit is also a forum for trying out high-end products. While the average selling price of Jacquemus bags is around €600, the brand has introduced models that sell for over €1,000 without much price resistance.

But don’t expect a huge rollout of stores in the next few years. “The goal we have for retail is 10 percent of our revenue,” Daguzan said, noting that this will be achieved primarily by converting in-store stores from wholesalers to leased operations. He envisions operating “up to five” stand-alone stores at most by 2025, with the remaining emphasis on online expansion.

Today, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region accounts for about half of Jacquemus’s business, with the United States generating 35 percent and Asia about 15 percent. Currently, Daguzan is focused on expansion in the Middle East territory.

Looking at product categories, he described “huge potential” in accessories, including footwear. “People are expecting more Jacquemus memorabilia, and maybe also sneakers in menswear,” Daguzan said.

The brand recently unveiled a collaboration with Nike, citing such an enthusiastic response from consumers that the website crashed.

Daguzan joined as full-time CEO in May after working as a consultant to Jacquemus while serving as Paco Rabanne’s fashion general manager from 2017 to 2022.

Jacquemus previously served as Creative Director and CEO of his brand, known for sunny designs rooted in the lifestyle of his native Provence.

Daguzan said he met the designer in 2011 when Jacquemus organized a guerrilla fashion show during the Vogue Fashion Night shopping event. The designer, who sported shoulder-length hair at the time, toured the gigantic street party on Avenue Montaigne with models dressed in his creations and holding up a banner that read “Jacquemus en grève” or “Jacquemus on strike.”

It attracted the attention of a host of fashion notables, including Emmanuelle Alt, then editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris.

According to Daguzan, Jacquemus then realized that he needed to “create surprises all the time in order to be seen. He breaks the rules and that’s why he has attention.”

Jacquemus is one of the few fashion brands to host see-now, buy-now fashion shows, often showcasing their designs in beautiful natural settings: rolling lavender fields, a perfect wheat harvest, an idyllic Hawaiian beach, and the otherworldly. salt dunes in the French region of Camargue. Even her most classic indoor fashion shows can break the internet — recall Gigi Hadid’s viral hair makeover at the fall 2020 show.

The designer also shares his personal trials and triumphs on the brand’s official Instagram account. For example, her summer wedding to her boyfriend Marco Maestri became a sensation, a post that garnered 1.2 million likes. His blue-eyed, spotted dachshund, Toutou, appears frequently on the platform and risks becoming as famous as Karl Lagerfeld’s pampered feline Choupette.

Daguzan goes so far as to describe Jacquemus as some kind of media company. “Every time we say something on Instagram, you have a queue on Avenue Montaigne,” he said. “And that’s how we work: We create surprises so that people dream of us.”

Editor’s Note: The winner of the WWD Honor Award for Best Performing Large-Cap Fashion Company is Hermès International.

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