Les chamanes, owner of Nature Bijoux, took over the Franck Herval label four years ago. Four years during which the new team has been attentive to customers in order to refine the position and work on collections…Franck Herval’s new identity was developed, confirmed. An inside view from Manuelle Bergé, Managing Artistic Director for the label.
Can you tell us about your career path?
< I was brought up in the costume jewelry universe. I was about 4 or 5 years old when my parents created Nature Bijoux. As a teen, I helped them at trade shows and I loved to tinker in the workshops. My desire for independence and new experiences quite naturally led me to study social sciences. After having earned my degrees, I worked for several years for Aide Sociale à l’Enfance (a French organization for social assistance for children); years that were very rich in various experiences, but left little time for creativity…I joined the family business in 2006 when my husband, Olivier, was named Production Manager in the Philippines. At first I was responsible for the company’s components department (+50.000 references at the time!), and I gradually developed customer accounts for customers who had high demands for creativity. Quite naturally, the ties with the R&D department became tighter and I became Managing Artistic Director for the Franck Herval label when it was purchased in 2009.
After the purchase, what creative direction did you take?
At first, I had to immerse myself in the label’s values – that had gained many fans since 1984 – as well as make changes to give the label a more contemporary style. I now see that I was a bit lost. I needed to free myself from multiple influences and that took some time. The first successful sales boosted my confidence and my style has developed over eight collections of jewelry and leathergoods.
What is the spirit of the new collections?
They reflect the values of the Franck Herval label, values that can be summed up by five key words:
-Trendy: a fashion spirit connected to ready-to-wear. Lines that are part of the present and therefore, always in movement.
-Accessible: both the price and style of Franck Herval jewelry should remain affordable and easy to wear.
-Sharing: Franck Herval jewelry is revealed and shared with friends on social networks (Pinterest, FB and Instagram…) or simply when friends get together. It generates complicity, conviviality.
-Multiple: unlimited combinations of colors/materials that go with different looks, without elitist pretentions.
-Confection: sewing, weaving, lace, braiding…which require meticulous work by experienced artisans, animated by the constant concern for details, closely linked to ready-to-wear. A certain expertise that is available in our own manufacturing workshops that have earned the trust of the most demanding labels.
For you, who is the Franck Herval woman?
I don’t think that there is “one Franck Herval woman”, but rather many women who identity with the same values. I imagine them as bubbly, active, autonomous, elegant women with a spirit of complicity. They are concerned about their appearance and expect exclusive pieces that are related to latest fashion trends, and they don’t hesitate to share their favorite pieces.
What inspired the Spring-Summer 2015 collection?
The collection is built on thirteen lines. As often, earrings, the referential product, set the direction for every story. This season, earrings account for nearly 50% of the collection and bracelets almost 25%. For summer, we see inspirations from ready-to-wear trends, such as Janis, a vintage spirit for a very Bohemian look, or Paradis Exotique, a “tropical jungle” style. For a more casual look, Lilly Blue especially goes well with the good luck charm trend with noble materials and charms.
How is the style team structured? How do you work?
The Franck Herval design team is made up of ten people: three designers, each one has one or two assistants, a layout artist and a colorist.
The first task is always to make a mood board, a chart that will define each story’s style. We put all of the ingredients on the mood board: colors, materials, silhouettes, textures, photos, key words. As soon as I clearly see what I want, I gather a maximum amount of elements that will help me brief the team. My leanings are influenced by everything that I see or do in daily life: fashion shows, articles, magazines, the Internet, fabrics, sketches, etc. Trend catalogs and consultancy with a Parisian style agency encourage and stimulate my creativity. After presenting the mood boards, the designer starts to work on an initial prototype. Starting with this first piece that always has imperfections, the team really begins to work. The final adjustment and then development stages are often the best moments when we exchange as a team.
What about sourcing, manufacture and logistics?
Design and manufacture for Franck Herval jewelry are located in Cebu in the Philippines.
Materials used are really very diverse. They come from around the world: India, Ecuador, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines, of course. We handle metal work, gilding, enameling, natural materials and assembly in our own workshops. As for logistics, a main warehouse in Cebu serves Asian, Australian, American and Russian distributors; the one in Montauban is for European customers. All distribution is piloted from the general office in Montauban.
Speaking of which, how is the label distributed?
Our sales force is mainly made up of exclusive distributors who use our label’s development strategy in their own countries. Currently, we have exclusive distributors in Japan, Australia, the Ukraine, Russia and New Zealand. Subsidiaries for the group handle distribution for Spain and Italy.
Our distributors also employ agents and/or sales reps. We support their fieldwork by participating in trade shows such as Bijorhca in Paris, Homl in Milan…Our sales policy relies on multi-brand retailers. They are active, effective partners who incite us to improve on a daily basis.
We are also present in department stores, for example Coin in Italy.
Do you think that the internet is an important distribution channel?
Online sales is not one of our priorities. Our main distribution network remains multi-brand retailers. However, the internet is an essential communication tool and improves the label’s visibility. The visuals from our last advertising campaign demonstrate the importance of social networks. The jewelry is worn and staged with the concept of:”a place, an instant, my jewelry,” to share one’s favorites with a large number of viewers.
Are you planning on opening flagship stores?
The priority for Franck Herval in France is to increase the number of multi-brand stores that carry the label. It is quite different for export. The very concept of a jewelry shop that specializes in costume jewelry is often unfamiliar or just beginning. So we have to think of shop-in-shops, corners and shops to offer essential service to our distributors. November 15th, Les Chamanes opened a shop in Barcelona where the group’s labels present their collections. It’s a very promising start and although we will certainly need an additional season to refine merchandising for the concept, we already think that ORI TAO will obviously be the best development strategy for export.
What communication tools do you offer your retailers?
We have revamped some of our communication tools in order to harmonize with our new communication campaign that was designed by the Carlin Agency; showcase website, POS, professional catalog, look book, as well as packaging (bag, label and pouches). Soon, there will also be updated merchandising to enhance staging for the Franck Herval universe.
What are your plans for export?
In addition to strengthening the positions that we already hold, we would like to expand in Italy, Russia and Australia where there seem to be strong growth potential.
What are your objectives for Franck Herval?
We could have planned for product diversification if we thought that our main offer was exhausted, but that is not at all the case! We still have a lot of work to do for merchandising; that is our next project. With an optimized advertising campaign, we can improve the label’s visibility with customers.
What styles can we expect for the next fall-winter season?
I invite you to come discover the winter collection at Bijorhca: sixteen new lines will be presented in preview.