Amélie Pichard, the accessories designer known for her kitschy-chic sensibility and cult online following, has completed her first round of funding, amassing a roster of investors that includes Nicolas Santi-Weil, Ami Alexandre Mattiussi’s chief executive officer and cofounder of The Kooples. The founders of MAD Network — a French retail design firm and creative agency that has worked with Balenciaga, Azzedine Alaïa and Fendi — are also among those taking part in the fund-raising round.
Pichard has sold a minority stake in the business and retains an 80 percent share. Fund-raising was completed in partnership with investment fund ICI, founded by Olivier Rivard Cohen. They declined to reveal the amount of the funding.
In November, Pichard revealed that she had given up on the traditional fashion cycle — closing her wholesale business and no longer introducing collections each season — in favor of a slow-drip business proposition to allow for greater creativity and selective, have-to-have-it distribution.
Pichard now sells her own collection exclusively through her web site. She introduces new product when she likes and markets it to her 30,000 Instagram followers, releasing photos only when designs become available for sale. Pichard also collaborates with one or two retailers a season, developing product targeted toward these stockists’ regional preferences, weather and styles.
Speaking about the investment, Pichard told WWD: “It’s more about the combination of the project and the profile of the investors than the investment itself. At some point, as an independent brand and self-financed company, the first financing round is key. I think you need to look for partners more than just cash.”
She plans to allocate the funds toward jump-starting a brick-and-mortar business in Paris’ Bastille neighborhood, while also improving production and managerial logistics. “This investment allows us to hire four to five professionals in critical aspects of the business such as production or communication. We were only a staff of two for six years.
“We have clear objectives from a financial point-of-view but it was also a way to prepare the opening of our first flagship and start a new e-commerce web site. We’d like to reach 1 million euro [$1.06 million at current exchange] in revenue [without wholesale] by 2018 and remain profitable, as we have always been,” said Pichard.
Rivard Cohen noted that the brand is close to closing in on 1 million euros in annual sales, but declined to provide specific numbers.
Pichard intends to release her spring 2017 collection to her e-commerce site on April 15. It is to be the first collection she has designed without wholesale distribution.