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PARIS — Imagine the Hyères festival, multiplied hundreds of times, and accessible from a computer or tablet?
This story first appeared in the May 7, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That’s roughly the idea behind a new online platform for connecting brands with top international design talents, launched earlier this year by Paris-based executive search specialist Floriane de Saint Pierre.
“We give the power to brands to do their own selection and to contact designers directly,” de Saint Pierre said of her Eyes on Talent venture, which turns the secretive nature of headhunting — built on proprietary information and rich Rolodexes — on its head. “It’s a tool that I dreamed of having.”
RELATED STORY: In Search of Young Talent in Hyères >>
De Saint Pierre said the impetus for the site was her observation that design-led companies, such as Apple or Audi, tend to be the most resistant in economic downturns.
“Today talent is a mandatory driver of how to create value,” she stressed.
The site is by invitation for designers and by subscription for brands. So far it has assembled the portfolios of more than 1,200 designers from 15 countries in fashion and textiles; accessories and leather goods; jewelry and watches; industrial design, and photography.
De Saint Pierre and her partner in Eyes on Talents, French Internet entrepreneur Guillaume de Piédoüe d’Héritôt, a founder of online media portal Myprestigium.com, plan to add talents from architecture, graphic design, automotive and visual/digital arts.
Designers are curated: an aggregate of contest finalists, recommendations from top design schools, and a selection culled from the media and self-nominations by Eyes on Talents’ in-house selection committee.
“We take credibility very seriously,” de Saint Pierre said, flipping through pages showing one portfolio showcasing everything from jewelry and furniture to store design.
De Saint Pierre said the online platform allows companies to do what is physically and economically unfeasible: flying around the globe meeting designers, giving the service an eco/sustainability appeal.
While traditional headhunting methods are still vital for strategic hires of managers and creative directors, the open forum gives brands free reign to browse across diverse disciplines — or even use the site to market themselves in front of a qualified creative community via online design contests, for example.
Eyes on Talents was a partner at the recent 28th edition of the Hyères Festival of Fashion and Photography and also has ties to International Talent Support.
De Saint Pierre said Kering, Swatch Group and Tory Burch are among companies that have already signed on.