Soeur, booming on the export front, set to pass €50 million in sales in 2023

Soeur, booming on the export front, set to pass €50 million in sales in 2023

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“We have been very well received by American customers. It’s even taken us a bit by surprise, as our focus at the moment was on developing our presence in the UK and Spain.” Sitting in the elegant Parisian café Le Fumoir, overlooking the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and just a stone’s throw from Soeur’s offices, Freja Day, the brand’s managing director for the past three years, admits that she does not share the same concerns as the French mass-market players.

AW23 with Théo Wenner – Théo Wenner

The brand, founded in 2006 by Domitille and Angélique Brion has been very successful. From sales of less than €20 million before Covid, to €40 million by 2021, the brand now intends to pass the €50 million mark this year, with growth forecast at over 30% on a like-for-like basis. 

“Two years ago, international sales were still limited. This year, we’re going to reach 35% of sales generated outside France across our various channels. For the last three seasons, the American market has been our second largest, after France. We can see that our American site is performing well because our sophisticated customers are looking for a niche European designer brand. With our rather oversized style, we thought that the United States would be a strong market. But as soon as we took on an agent, things exploded. I also think that the return of American tourists to Paris, with I think an ‘Emily in Paris effect’, has been beneficial for us in terms of brand awareness. And the collaboration with influencer Leandra Cohen at the beginning of the year has also been a success. However we’re not yet ready for retail in this market.”

This international drive is based on building and consolidating a network of international retailers. The brand has a hundred or so across the Atlantic

The collection with influencer Leandra Medine Cohen increased the brand’s visibility in the US market – Soeur

“We continue to place our trust in wholesale partners, and I think this network is really making a comeback. For brands like ours, where it may be necessary to explain the product, retailers act as prescribers. And being next to the fine brands selected by these retailers is a way of being visible. For us, the trick is to find partner agents and distributors who know how to develop luxury or designer brands. What’s exciting is that as we grow, we have top-of-the-range agents coming to look for us. The brand has a distribution partner in South Korea, where it has a total of five points of sale in Seoul’s department stores.”

While France remains by far its biggest market, with twenty-four boutiques (including two outlets) and a dozen corners in French department stores, the label is gradually expanding into new markets. It recently opened in Antwerp, Belgium, at 30 Schuttershofstraat (close to IKKSSisleyAmerican Vintage

Freja Day – Soeur

In London, the brand’s corner at Harvey NicholsShoreditch

In Spain, already present in two El Corte Inglès stores in Madrid, Soeur has set up corners in department stores in Barcelona (Diagonal) and Marbella, and has just opened its flagship shop at 40 Calle de Claudio Coello in the capital, opposite The Kooples

Just like its recent collaboration with K-Way

“The last few years have been turbulent, particularly in terms of sourcing and manufacturing,” admits Freja Day. “We’ve coped well because we have a fairly limited number of partners. We have around forty manufacturers, and over half of them we’ve been working with for more than five years. This loyalty was important because they were under pressure from a cash flow point of view and we went along with it because we need their expertise. The fact that in France we were able to apply for the PGE (state-guaranteed loan) enabled us to support them and maintain our product quality. We are gradually paying it back and everything is going well.”

Collaboration with K-Way – Soeur

Faced with increases in the price of materials and costs, the Soeur team, like most players in the sector, has had to up its prices. “For some products, for the quality we were below the market, so we were able to work upwards, while for others, we changed the materials and went for a better quality. And we’ve also absorbed most of the cost increases. We did this because we are currently growing, and I want us to gain market share. Then, we have to control our discount rates. If we have the right price from the outset, we should sell at full price. There’s no point in spending money on marketing if the prices aren’t right.”

As well as working on pricing, while continuing to offer creative collections, the director is planning a series of technological investments to support Soeur’s growth. The goal is to increase the label’s sales via its digital channels from 35% to 50%. With a new round of financing on the horizon, which could see some of its shareholders sell their stakes, the promising brand could attract new investors with expertise in international development.


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