SURF’S UP: French lifestyle label Cuisse de Grenouille has debuted its first women’s collection in response to demand from women for its preppy vintage surf-inspired sportswear.
“We were selling as many sweatshirts to women as to men,” said Séverin Bonnichon, who founded the brand with his brother Lucas in 2010. “Since the beginning, our ambition has been to become a global lifestyle brand. Children’s wear is next,” he explained at an event to mark the launch of the brand’s first women’s collection, in store now for fall 2016, and showcase its new women’s standalone store on Rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais.
The first collection comprises some 50 items including sweatshirts, shirts, T-shirts, miniskirts, dresses and outerwear with a similar style to the brand’s core men’s offering. For spring 2017, the brand will double its women’s offer, and is showing the collection at trade show Paris sur Mode this Fashion Week. Retail prices for the women’s designs range from around 90 euros, or $101 at current exchange, for a T-shirt to 325 euros, or $365, for a coat.
“We’ve had great feedback so far,” said Bonnichon, “We’re aware that the women’s market is more competitive, but it is also a lot bigger. We hope that in the long term our women’s business will be bigger than men’s, as there are potentially a lot more multibrand stores for women’s than for men’s.”
The brand currently has around 100 accounts in 30 different markets. It operates three stores in Paris, including the 150-square-foot new women’s boutique, as well as one in Cannes, and has its own e-commerce site.
France accounts for around half of the brand’s sales, which reached 1.2 million euros, or $1.3 million at average exchange, in 2015. This year, Cuisse de Grenouille is targeting sales of 1.6 million euros, or $1.8 million at current exchange, Bonnichon said.
Last December, French investment firm Audacia, which specializes in supporting small and medium-sized businesses that export French savoir-faire, injected approximately 1 million euros, or $1.12 million, into the brand.
Audacia also holds stakes in fashion and accessories brands A.P.C., Maison Kitsuné, Olympia Le-Tan, Jérôme Dreyfuss, Balibaris, Wanda Nylon and Petite Mendigote.