PARIS — The 18-year-old Princesse Tam Tam company is getting a facelift.

For starters, the intimate apparel brand — which was named after a Josephine Baker movie of the 1920s, “Princesse Tam Tam” — began changing the format of its 80 Princesse Tam Tam boutiques in France this spring with a clean, contemporary statement of uncluttered space decorated with fuchsia, vintage rose and pale green walls and furnishings; blond-wood floors, and crystal chandeliers. The former look focused less on the luxury of space and more on key product displays on numerous metallic wall fixtures.

According to Emmanuel Venot, import manager, the updated test store in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a Paris suburb, has been “extremely successful” because of its modern yet formal appeal. He said the company has a “plan to renew our existing shops into our new concept.”

Owned by founding sisters Louima and Shama Hiridjee, and Mourad Amarsy, who is chief executive officer and Louima’s husband, the company’s annual sales volume has skyrocketed from $4.1 million in 1990 to more than $43.7 million in 2002. Approximately 30 percent of its overall sales are generated from exports. In addition to family-owned boutiques, distribution also is aimed at 1,500 specialty shops in more than 64 countries and 500 specialty operations in France, as well as major stores including Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and The Bon Marche, and mail-order businesses like La Redoute and Les 3 Suisses. In 1996, its e-commerce site, princessetam-tam.com, was launched.

Venot said sales of the brand at major French department stores reflected a 46 percent increase compared with the previous year.The signature look of Princesse Tam Tam intimates — whose core consumer base is women from 20 to 40 years of age but represents a youthful “brand spirit” of ages 20 to 30 — is a unique palette of exotic colors and prints of the Hiridjee sisters’ homeland, Madagascar. Bras, panties and bustiers account for 55 percent of assortments, sleepwear comprises 20 percent and swimwear represents 25 percent.

“Our strategy at this stage is to focus on the export network of developing shops,” said Venot, noting expansion has begun with a freestanding store in Italy and two franchises — one in Italy, and another in La Reunion Island. “We will develop our own shops but also with partners willing to invest in Princesse Tam Tam stores with master franchise agreements. One of the keys to the success of the brand compared with others is offering a global concept of mix-and-match looks, as well as coordinating nightwear and corsetry.”The Princesse Tam Tam collection is distributed in the U.S. by NAP Inc.

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