L'Atelier Fred

PARIS — Most people have heard of Nike Lab. But what about L’Atelier Fred?

A new customization concept geared around the Force 10 bracelet, the hero product of French jewelry brand Fred, L’Atelier Fred resembles a giant jewelry box, with a lid that lifts to reveal a screen and table with a row of built-in sensor pads. Customers are first invited to select a color of cable for the bracelet from samples presented on a series of perspex cubes in one of the box’s two drawers.

Upon placing the chosen cube on a sensor pad, an image of the bracelet is built up on the screen. Then, playing with a range of blocks stored in a second drawer, with the bracelet’s various customization options represented on each of their faces, they can compose their own bracelet. Each time a cube is placed on a sensor pad, it activates a digital mock-up of the components of the bracelet on the screen, which can be modified at will by turning the cubes.

Customization options include the ornamentation of the bracelet’s buckle, with a choice of gemstones or lacquer, choosing a color from the entire Pantone spectrum, with over 100,000 different design permutations to pick from. Delivery is within 15 days.

Giving the concept an even more personal spin, customers can also order a bespoke shade of lacquer using a hand-held “Capture” scanner. For example, if they direct the scanner at their bag, or a detail on a photo, the color can be replicated.

“This means that you can have your bracelet in the exact same color of the sky on the day that you met the love of your life, for example. The color is attached to a memory of a particular moment,” said Rachel Marouani, chief executive officer of Fred, at a preview of the concept, newly installed in the house’s Rue de la Paix store here.

Harnessing digital innovation to enhance customer experience has been a priority for Marouani since she joined the brand in 2012 from Sephora, where she held the post of senior vice president marketing and general manager e-commerce. For example, she came up with the idea — when all of the jewelry in the windows is packed up at night, for security reasons — of installing a box in the window which projects holograms of the jewelry designs.

“It’s a new way of presenting the brand,” she said, adding that in the Fred boutiques, much like in Apple stores, everything is managed through tablets, including transactions. “For me, it’s never about using digital for the sake of it. It’s not just about putting Internet in a store, it’s about using digital innovation at the service of customer experience and jewelry know-how.”

L’Atelier Fred will be rolled out next in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. The plan is also to introduce nomad trunks for pop-up concepts. “Why not at the beach in Saint-Tropez?” said Marouani.

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