The Mayhoola fashion house, which will close 2018 at 185 million euros, has inaugurated a new production pole for accessories in Tuscany, in Scandicci, and plans a specific strategy for sports shoes. But also for eyewear and make-up
Balmain runs between retail, investment in production and new licenses. The maison, controlled by Mayhoola for investments, has in place a series of projects with a view to achieving the objective of triple the revenues in the medium term, in the light of a 2018 that will be archived between 180 and 185 million euro.
Among these, the expansion of the retail share thanks to new openings, the boost given to accessories with a new production site in Scandicci (Florence) and the development of a business unit for sneakers.
To tell MFF the future strategies was CEO Massimo Piombini, on the occasion of the presentation of the store concept at 374 rue Saint-Honoré, designed by creative director Olivier Rousteing in collaboration with Studio Amv. The two-storey shop is the largest of the maison with an area of almost 630 square meters.
What value does this opening for the brand have?
Paris is the focal point from which the inspiration of Olivier Rousteing is inspired and is part of the brand’s DNA. The historic location of the boutique on rue François Premier is a key but not very visible destination. There was a need to have a different space to represent the new concept store and collect the new product categories imagined by Olivier.
Which in particular?
The accessories, first of all, that must take off. In this regard we have created a Balmain Italia in Scandicci (Florence), where 40 people work in a building built ad hoc starting from a shed that belonged to the Cassetti jeweler. It’s a great place to make bags and shoes, it was an important investment. And then there’s a big project on sneakers.
What is it about?
Starting from the idea of bringing Balmain closer to the vast audience that already knows the brand, between the Olivier profile and the brand profile we count 15 million followers on Instagram, but who have difficulty getting close to the product. So we built a company in the company, we hired a person who comes from Puma as a kind of general manager of this business unit that is in effect independent for production, development, merchandising, communication and distribution. We left in September with two designers, one of whom was coming from Nike. The idea is to build monthly drops off the calendar with new models. We want to release a few units to generate desirability and seeding with the right characters. We have also signed an agreement with Selfridges to open a pop-up two weeks before the world launch, which will take place in June.
A work of opening the brand also made with the latest ready to wear collection. For me it’s the most beautiful collection since I’ve been here. There is a declination in reality. The answers we have with pre-orders are good and, for the first time, we have sold a lot of bags.
Returning to retail, what are the next projects?
The Parisian window of rue Saint-Honoré represents the starting point of the new retail strategy, which is rewarding us in terms of performance. There was no cannibalization with the other boutique, but in the three weeks of opening, we achieved the goal of winning a new clientele attracted by the position and product offer. When I arrived in Balmain, retail practically did not exist and wholesale accounted for 95% of sales. The forecast is to achieve at least 35-40% of the retail share in the next three years, while maintaining a strong wholesale presence. This is because there are multi-brand stores that touch a type of clientele that we would never have, secondly because wholesale is turning a lot into online. The third-party online is the true online of every company. The desirability of the portals can never be equaled by the owned sites.
How many openings do you expect?
The openings will not be many. The era of exaggerated retail push has passed. We will arrive at 35-40 stores in key positions between the US, Asia and Europe. Now we have four in America, three in Europe and 15-20 in Asia.
Last year he talked about the goal of tripling the brand’s revenues. Are you in line with these plans?
2018 has not yet been closed but will be in line with the objectives. In 2016 the turnover was 136 million euros, in 2017 150 million and last year it will close around 180-185 million to run towards further double digit growth in 2019. In addition, profitability is excellent and in line with shareholder expectations.
And the couture?
The couture is the way chosen to promote this shop, with a very special inauguration. At the moment we have not decided whether to continue or not. The idea is to leave the project as sporadic, because there are priority activities for us.
Which in addition to those mentioned before?
Beauty and eyewear, for example. We are choosing the right partners.