Etam group creates brand accelerator for lingerie sector
The Etam group, leader in the French underwear and lingerie sector, and owner among others of Etam, Undiz, Maison 123 and Livy, has added a new string to its bow by creating a brand accelerator. The ‘WedareLab’ support programme is designed to assist emerging French lingerie brands, by allowing them to tap the expertise and commercial fire-power of a long-established operator like the Etam group, founded in 1916. The first labels supported by WedareLab are swimwear specialist Albertine and Lolo Paris, a DNVB active in the bespoke lingerie sector.
“The [Etam] group's DNA has always been characterised by a propensity for innovation. We are keen to share our experience and to understand how others are adapting to the market. Even as market leaders, we need to survey what is happening around us,” said Alexis Gurdjian, managing director of the Etam group since 2019. WedareLab is targeted to brands that contribute to the industry’s evolution through their unique business model, their commitment to CSR practices and their willingness to transform lingerie codes.
The programme's beneficiaries, up to five brands for a period of six months (renewable once), will have at their disposal office space within Etam’s headquarters in Clichy, near Paris, as well as access to company infrastructure, like the group's warehouses around Paris and its Tech Centre in northern France, where prototypes are developed.
The beneficiaries will also be given advice on some of the group’s business connections, whether suppliers (450 manufacturers in over 20 countries), sourcing offices or other commercial partners, from import/export companies to marketplaces and retailers. The programme also features tailor-made consulting sessions by the staff of Etam’s various departments, chosen depending on the participating brands’ needs.
For example, Albertine will be advised on “prototyping, logistics, sourcing and e-commerce,” said Gurdjian, while Lolo Paris will receive tailored support in the fields of prototyping, financial management and marketing. “We will also allow this emerging brand to use a Parisian showroom, within the offices the Etam group has recently opened at [sustainable fashion incubator] La Caserne,” added Gurdjian.
Commercially, the participants will have the opportunity of showcasing their products on the Etam e-shop, with 2 million unique monthly visitors, and to open pop-up shops within some of the group's stores. A visibility opportunity for these emerging labels, and a way for Etam to diversify by broadening the range of products available for its customers.
“This is a winning solution for both parties. We offer development assistance to these brands, and through this support the group’s staff will be exposed to new ways of working, and will engage with innovative, emerging industry players,” said Gurdjian.
In order to access WedareLab, applicants will need to be active in the lingerie, homewear, swimwear or beachwear sectors, and have already commercialised a minimum of two collections. The engagement levels of their social media communities will also be assessed.
If any of the programme participants were to need funding, and were open to having financial partners, the Etam group doesn't rule out the possibility of investing in a minority stake. Though of course this will not be a regular occurrence. The Etam group operates over 1,400 monobrand stores in 55 countries, and in 2019 it added to its brand portfolio by acquiring lingerie brand Ysé.
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