When Repetto owner Jean-Marc Gaucher told Americas chief executive officer Gilles Assor he could no longer support the U.S. operation, it meant that Assor lost his job along with the rest of the employees.
“It was a mutual decision. I knew it made sense because freeing up my salary might help save the jobs of some of the employees in the Repetto factory in France. Those people have been working there for decades,” Assor said.
Now the executive is forging ahead with a venture of his own — a digital start-up specializing in crisis control for fashion industry businesses.
The service is called 1.1.100 — with the numerals referring to the crux of the offering: one question, one hour, $100.
The initiative will give businesses and individuals access to the expertise of top ceo’s at a reasonable rate, he said. The initial request, along with preliminary information about the business, is raised over text message. Assor guarantees to respond with a phone call within 48 hours — during which time he will lay out a proposal so a prospective client can choose whether to proceed.
Queries might relate to marketing, product merchandising, digitalization — and other issues that entrepreneurs and executives encounter every day, from managing cancellations during a crisis to building or maintaining business relationships and generating innovative ideas in line with the circumstances.
The idea is like having a substitute ceo on speed dial and the service will harness the expertise of Assor himself, his own c-suite contacts and cross-industry network. The premise, he explained, is that many businesses have culled their management teams in recent weeks and now find themselves lacking in talent as well as spare cash.
“It’s a disruptive offer to an evolving market when people have need of expertise but don’t have access to unlimited financial resources,” he said, adding that he has already received interest on both sides of the Atlantic.
French-born Assor joined Repetto in 2017 as ceo for the Americas and previously held executive positions at Robert Clergerie, Marc Jacobs, Maison Margiela and Jean Paul Gaultier. While at Marc Jacobs, he launched Little Marc with a children’s nightclub at the Palais de Tokyo and a window at the French capital’s famed concept store Colette — where he collaborated with premium adult toy company Bearbrick. At Clergerie, Assor worked with then creative director Roland Mouret to debut the label’s raffia wedge sneaker with Opening Ceremony and created the Clergerie Girl campaign.
At Repetto, the executive worked with the Museum of Modern Art to incorporate the brand’s famous Bridget Bardot pump into its permanent collection. The sneaker-obsessed executive started his career at Maison Margiela, where he worked with the designer on merchandising the brand’s first trainer.
Assor hopes his venture will enable him to continue to support his own family while helping other businesses.