Novoid is the story of three brothers in the South of France who “love fashion, sharing and meeting people“. In 1993, Greg, JC and Oliver opened their first three stores, all placed in the same streets of Aix-en-Provence. However, around seven years ago, the three sold their first retail forays (the stores are still in business today, but with a more mainstream offer for boys and girls) and little by little opened up three new concepts: Novoid PLUS, born 2002, which offers men’s apparel, footwear and accessories, the Magasin General PLUS, opened in 2014 for lifestyle products, home accessories etc. and finally the streetwear store MOTTO which was opened in partnership with Carhartt WIP last year in September. We spoke to Gregory Siary, one of the retail-savvy brothers, about what makes a good assortment and how to cater to a customer base ranging from skateboarders to lawyers. Interview by Maria Hunstig

Menwear at Novoid PLUS
Menwear at Novoid PLUS

How would you describe your assortment and what makes it special?
Our assortment is inspired by what we like ourselves: Fashion, urban culture, skateboarding, music, traveling… We prefer quality and comfort rather than the hype.
I think our assortments are special because they are diverse but coherent.

Which brands and styles are your bestsellers at Novoid PLUS right now?
Bleu De Paname (everything from the brand goes well but the Counter Jacket is a real bestseller), Norse Projects (all the Niels Tees are selling very well), Common Projects (the OG Achilles), Drapeau Noir (for shirts and slub tees) and Adidas (especially the NMD PK sneakers).

Which new brands did you add to the assortment recently?
We added Patta and Stan Ray for SS16 and will welcome Borsalino, Sans Nom and Champion x Beams for FW16.

Lifestyle and home products at Magasin General PLUS
Lifestyle and home products at Magasin General PLUS

Tell us about your second store concept, Magasin General PLUS.
This is a new adventure that we love a lot because in this store we can sell everything we like - from barbecues to books, fragrances, knives, kitchenware, Pétanque balls, bags, accessories, groceries, local beers… The store is full of authenticity and nostalgia. Many of our products are manufactured in their city of origin and we sell a lot of Made in France products. People often stay an hour in the store as it carries so many products!
Our bestsellers are the Pétanque Balls from La Boule Bleue (Pétanque, a form of boule, is really important in the South of France and La Boule Bleue is a traditional manufacturer of these balls), all made in Marseille. We even carry out special orders for our customers depending on their weight, their size and with their name engraved - we don't mess with Petanque in the South of France! Despite that, we also sell candles by Lola James Harper, vintage bulbs by Zangra, all kinds of knives (by Opinel, Douk-Douk, Deejo etc...) and Amor Lux’ sailor tops really well.

Accessories at Magasin General PLUS
Accessories at Magasin General PLUS

And what’s the assortment like at your third store MOTTO?
Most of all, the store is run in partnership with Carhartt WIP but we wanted to add a few authentic brands to the assortment, such as Stüssy, Patta, the OG Vans collection, Converse CT and Reebok Classics. We opened it in a 45-years-old workwear store in Aix-en-Provence and kept a lot of furniture and elements from its previous use – so the soul is still here!
The idea of this store is to offer authentic labels that reflect our background, enriched with a range of lower priced goods compared to Novoid PLUS.
Our bestsellers at Motto are Patta tees, Carhartt WIP’s Sid pants and all the Old Skool OG Vans.

Streetwear at MOTTO
Streetwear at MOTTO

Where do you order your products (showrooms or trade shows - which ones)?
We do both, but I prefer showrooms…it’s more quiet and easier to work correctly there.

Which trends & looks do you think will dominate this fall/winter 2016-17?
Technical apparel and ‘90s street pieces mixed with comfortable basics.

How often do you redecorate the store, how important is the interior?
There are no rules. We constantly change, add or move furniture, decoration etc. The interior is essential - customers who visit your store need to feel good, at ease and comfortable inside.

MOTTO is run in partnership with Carhartt WIP
MOTTO is run in partnership with Carhartt WIP

What do you like about your location/city?
I like the architecture of my city: The small streets and places…and there is sun on almost every day of the year! Also, I like the proximity within the city and being able to get everywhere by walking. And: I like being only 20 minutes away from the sea and 1,5 hours from the first ski resorts!

Who are your customers and how do you engage with them?
Our customers are a mix from kids to grand dads, from skateboarders to lawyers, students to tourists - everything. I stand inside of my store from Monday to Saturday so I know all of my customers: they trust our advice and I want all of them to leave my store with a smile.
We are mostly a local shop, so human relationships are really important to us.

How important is social media to you? How do you make use of it?
Social media is really, really important to us – it is an indispensable tool these days. We use Instagram and Facebook every day to post about our store news, latest arrivals, new launches etc. But we also just post things that we like and that describe our lifestyle.

Details at MOTTO
Details at MOTTO

What’s the secret ingredient for successful retail?
Travelling a lot, loving your job, always taking challenges and having your own identity and true guidelines.

What have been the biggest challenges in running a fashion store?
To always bring in news and keep a leading position but never forget where we come from.

Which person – celebrity or not – would you love to welcome in the store one day?

Store addresses:
Novoid PLUS
4 Rue des Chaudronniers
13100 Aix-en-Provence

5 rue Rifle Rafle
13100 Aix-en-Provence

Magasin General PLUS
3-5 rue Matheron
13100 Aix-en-Provence