PARIS — For some people, 13 is an unlucky number — but not for Benoit Jamin and Isabelle Puech, the French duo behind the Jamin Puech accessories label.
The couple founded Jamin Puech 13 years ago with a belief that quirky, richly embroidered and colorful bags would fill a place in the market. Now, their brand has grown into a $6 million wholesale operation and they’re setting their sights on retail expansion — no matter the inauspicious anniversary or the difficult economic environment.
In March, they opened their second Paris store, a homey 800-square-foot space decorated with furniture found in various flea markets. It is located on the increasingly popular Rue Madame on the Left Bank, within short walking distance of the Boulevard Saint Germain.
A third Paris boutique, a 300-square-foot space that adopts a boudoir theme, opened on the Rue Vieille du Temple in the trendy Marais district in April. Last month, they opened a larger store in New York at 247 Elizabeth Street, moving from a smaller unit operating at 252 Mott Street since 1998.
Jamin Puech also has shops in Tokyo, opened in 2001, and on the Rue de Hauteville in Paris, the couple’s first shop, opened in 1996. Some 350 doors around the world, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal, carry Jamin Puech designs.
“I think a lot of people were under the impression that we were busy sewing away all the time, hidden in our studio,” said Puech. “It was about time to try to increase our profile.”
Added Jamin, “The shops help build a stronger image for the brand. We needed to do that now to try to push the business ahead.”
The shop’s decor includes antique wallpaper the couple found at a flea market, as well as lampshades covered with pages from Paris newspapers, which the couple designed themselves. Bags range from about $250 for a sequined clutch to $450 for a leather bag covered with zippers. Prices are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.
With the wind in their sails from all their current retail ventures, Jamin Puech is also considering expanding in other ways. They have projects on the drawing board for a full-blown apparel line, as well as small home design items.“We don’t want to stop creating,” Puech said. “We haven’t figured out when we’d introduce the clothes, but it’s never to soon to start thinking about the future.”
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