By  on January 18, 2006

NEW YORK — Daniel Cremieux came here from his hometown of Paris earlier this month with a clear vision.

"I need to see and understand how the market works here," said the president and chief executive officer of the 30-year-old firm that bears his name. "From the deliveries to the way people shop, it's all very different than it is in Europe."

Cremieux needs to understand U.S. customers for a good reason. His firm, which has only produced men's wear since its launch and has only sold Dillard's exclusively in the U.S., will launch a women's line for spring 2007 selling. With the women's line, Cremieux said the company is planning for significant expansion in the U.S., which will include more products carrying the Daniel Cremieux brand name (accessories and home are two opportunities on the horizon) and some freestanding stores. Already in the works is the company's first U.S.-based freestanding store here.

"I'm very interested in Bleecker Street and Madison Avenue, we just have to figure out the best location for us," he said. "But it will be open within a year. That is the goal."

It seems like a reasonable goal. Seven years ago, Cremieux set up his U.S.-based company, called Cropton Design, and hired Martin Miller, president of the Terbell Group here, as a business consultant. Under Miller, the company worked out a long-term exclusive deal with Dillard's to carry the men's line in its 315 stores. The line, Miller said, continues to perform well and Dillard's now displays it in Cremieux shop-in-shops, which includes the men's sportswear, suits and premium jeans as well as a home line.

The women's line, Cremieux said, will reflect the same attitude as the men's, with a sexier edge.

To design it, Cremieux has hired his son, Stephan, to lead a team of five designers.

"We hired a new group of designers to work on the women's line, so they can focus on just that," he said. "They are all young, between the ages of 22 and 28, which is about the age of the customers we are targeting."

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