Parisian concept store Nous to open new branches in Paris, Geneva airport
Paris concept store Nous is settling in more comfortably on rue Cambon. In January 2018, Nous opened at number 48 on the central Parisian street, relying on the expertise and extensive network of contacts of the staff working for the doyen of Parisian concept stores, the legendary Colette in rue Saint-Honoré. One year on, the formula seems to be working well, and Nous is pushing ahead. To celebrate its first anniversary, it is opening a branch at number 49 on rue Cambon, on the opposite side of the street. The 200-square-metre premises are currently being renovated, and the store is set to open on January 8.
Before then, Nous will be expanding outside France. Backed by its majority shareholder, Swiss investment fund 21st Luxury (which also owns luxury high-tech brand Hadoro), the concept store’s high-tech and fashion range will be available in Geneva from December 8, as Nous’s formula will be replicated in an 85-square-metre store within the Swiss city's airport’s duty-free area. It is a big challenge for Nous: until now, few concept stores tested this kind of retail channel, which is booming. Between 2002 and 2017, the duty-free market grew from $20 million to $69 million, according to a study by BCG, citing figures by Euromonitor. At Geneva airport, Nous plans to play to its strengths, exploiting its product selection and event expertise.
“At Nous, we feature an urban contemporary range. We don’t limit ourselves to streetwear alone. Our clientèle is very diverse and cosmopolitan,” said Marvin Dein, part of the original Colette team. “Currently, except for Wood Wood in Copenhagen, which mostly sells its own products, there are very few concept stores in airports. We had this opportunity through our contacts and those of our investor. And it’s just right for us, because we want to offer something different,” added Dein. Nous features a mix of directional products ideal for gift purchases, with a very broad price range that should enable the store to appeal both to the business travellers and the tourists which fly through Geneva - in 2017, there were 17.4 million of them.
Freddy, another member of the original Colette team, will take care of the Geneva opening and ensure that the store gets off to a flying start. As in Paris, a section of the Geneva branch will be reserved for pop-up initiatives, one of Nous’s strong points. The store’s clever retail formula blends exclusivity, a top-notch location, event-creation ability and high-calibre collaborations, from streetwear to luxury. For example, in the next few days, the rue Cambon store will host the launch of a volume by French rapper Booba, with 200 copies printed selling at €300 each. Each month, the store usually stages two key events, with more scheduled during the Paris fashion weeks.
The team at Nous will be able to deploy its event-organisation skills in a larger context for the next fashion week in the French capital, as the store, currently operating on a retail area of 115 square metres on rue Cambon, has also taken over premises of more than 200 square metres across the street.
"During the first few months, we had enough room for our products,” said Marvin Dein, whose associate Sébastien Chapelle, who was in charge of the watches range, left the team last summer. “But brands were soon very happy to work with us and we are now bursting at the seams. The new premises will enable us to expand the womenswear range. Ours is mostly a men's store, but more than half of our customers are women. We want to develop a strong fashion selection for them,” said Dein.
The branch at number 48 will therefore focus on watches, accessories and high-tech gadgets, while number 49 will be dedicated to fashion. An imposing carriage entrance, which will remain always-accessible, opens on an access way with two shop windows. The one on the right-hand side will feature the store's own looks, while the one on the left will showcase the pop-up area Nous is reserving for its brands. Inside the store, the palette of white, cream and light grey will be enhanced by golden lighting fixtures. The central area will be dedicated to art displays; a wall will showcase the store's sneaker collection, and a space of about 30 square metres will enable Nous to introduce a beauty products range, featuring fragrances by the Liquides perfume bar and a selection of niche brands adopting an eco-responsible stance.
On the fashion side, Nous wants to liven up things by featuring established brands alongside emerging independent French labels. The wall next to the fitting rooms will offer a selection of magazines. The premises’ huge inner courtyard will instead be used to host the store’s events.
With one success story under their belts already, the former Colette team is set to achieve more success, making their mark again on the Parisian scene. They have ambitious plans, and their appetite is boundless. Nous has a staff of 15, and the numbers are set to rise as international expansion is clearly on the agenda, while a make-over of the store’s website is also on the cards.
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