Launched in February 2019, APONE was born from two Bordeaux ready-to-wear enthusiasts, Pauline Buffet and Charlotte Desclaux, who met in the same professional world. Driven by a desire to found a company on a human scale, both in the concept of the brand and in its management, Pauline and Charlotte have chosen Bordeaux, a metropolis that lives at the pace of innovative projects and the creation of new places, to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure. No longer in the market offering, Pauline and Charlotte wanted to create their vision of the fashion boutique: user-friendly, unique, sustainable: an ephemeral sales project responding to new marketing trends.
A high value-added concept
Aimed at a target of 25-50 years, the two entrepreneurs decided to focus on an innovative concept: exclusivity. From the garment to the means of distribution, the two Bordeaux women have thought of every detail. As far as tailoring is concerned, each collection is produced in limited edition, handcrafted, in a workshop in India that respects the working conditions of Pankaj, the workshop manager and his team. Pauline and Charlotte regularly go there to choose fabrics, in this country with multiple and timeless inspirations. The two friends, draw themselves the new models. The collection consists of only about twenty pieces, which offers flexibility to readjust and retouch if necessary on a room. In order to create a “community” effect, customers register on the APONE website, after which Pauline and Charlotte contact them by text message to send them the Bordeaux place of sale, which has hither been kept secret. The collection is then sold in previews one week a month in ephemeral bordeaux locations, whose address is only revealed the day before the sale, in order to maintain a close relationship with customers through exchanges and meetings.
Far from the concept of ready-to-wear boutiques that maximize every square metre by putting as many clothes as possible on the shelf, Charlotte and Pauline favour a more selective and qualitative approach than quantitative. They therefore chose to limit the number of parts manufactured. From this perspective, they describe their business model as “reasoned consumption” since the collections, which nevertheless respond to the well-trodden marketing principle of limited editions in order to create a craze for the brand, are thought to be the opposite of overconsumption and fast-shopping. If APONE does not make custom-made, each piece must give a form of singularity and exclusivity to the clientele who, on the occasion of previews in secret places, can exchange with Pauline and Charlotte, the two makers of the pieces.
The success is on the agenda since in February, APONE attracted 600 people to the capital of Girona. Once, the collection of the month presented at the premiere, the models are then sold on the brand’s website.
Restructuring ready-to-wear trends
Pauline and Charlotte’s project illustrates changes at work for those who wish to start their ready-to-wear business. The store concepts respond to this inflection of customer needs. Physical stores, in order to face the competition of e-commerce, must now transform the shopping experience: limited editions, themed collaborations and unique collections allow us to remain at the forefront. Only based in Bordeaux, APONE wants to become a local repository in the field of “retail experience”. Whether the customer leaves with a purchase or not, the most important one does not lie there, he must be able to be surprised, fanned by the curiosity of the place and the collection that awaits him, so that he wants to return to the place. At a time of dematerialization, it is necessary to be able to give customers reasons to move in a physical space. Thus, by creating shared experiences, the shops are better able to satisfy the desires of the customers. This is the case of APONE during previews during which Pauline and Charlotte can survey their clients who have come to meet them.
Charlotte and Pauline, two Bordeaux women in their thirties, have chosen local entrepreneurship by combining their mutual passions for fashion. A company on a human scale that is fully in line with the bustle of the Bordeaux metropolis, setting up collaborations between different places and uniting a community of customers. Their job as entrepreneurs reinvents the profession of business leader. Far from management, their job is to create, meet, exchange…