The French vintage-inspired sportswear brand Fleurs De Bagne, born in 2012, and the store Atelier 23, an authentic Provence style location, opened at the end of 2016, show that new ideas and projects can flourish and create high-energy partnerships. Being able to tell a story based upon a unique DNA, authenticity and great quality products count more than everything else for co-owners Mika Dumas and Jean Christophe Bagnis.
What are the current bestsellers of your store and why?
What we sell best are military-inspired knitwear pieces such as cardigans and pullovers according to French traditional men’s apparel. Knitwear plays a key role in this brand as we manufacture them here in France. We also offer all-condition jackets treated with special weatherproof waxing finishes. They sell well because they are all made with great materials, because one cannot find them anywhere else and because they express the brand’s typical spirit of an essential men’s pieces wardrobe. Also their prices are middle-high, especially considering their high quality, as a jacket costs about €400, a pullover costs €200-€250, a T-shirt around €60 and limited edition French-Canadian outer jackets cost €500. This jacket is made with authentic unsold stock vintage fabrics from the ’50s. During last season we also offered special edition pieces–in 200 exemplars only–made with a mix of new and old fabrics obtained from recycling old French uniforms and military tents. It’s always good when you can tell your customers a story.
Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
They like to buy a story and, at the same time, a beautiful garment. We work with long-time expert manufacturers, a guarantee for our customer as we sell durable and strong pieces they can keep for a long time. They also love our packaging that completes our products like, for instance, a box that looks like a mix between an old book and a photo box. They love all these details they can see and touch. Our customers are not only fashion people as we don’t want to make a fashion brand. What we offer is a brand with a strong DNA and they like what we are trying to teach it to them through it.
What inspires you and how do you inform yourself about trends?
Everything gives us inspiration. Also some customers are a good source of inspiration for us. We are not copying from other brands or an entire piece though we are always looking for inspiration or simply looking for interesting details or an aesthetic element. What counts more is the functionality of a garment.
How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
We inform them through social media, Instagram and in-store events, but we’ve also participated other events like the Wheels & Waves motorcycle, surf and skate culture festival in Biarritz. We do our own collaborations which are not only fashion events. It is important creating a relationship with your customers and good moments with them that shall not necessarily be business related only.
What do the collections you offer for next s/s look like? And what are the most important trends, in general?
We think that this brand will keep its same identity offering pieces that can be worn for a long time.
Where else does Fleurs De Bagne sell?
We are selling it now to 85 doors in countries like Russia Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Honk Kong, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium. Among our future goals we want to also sell in the US and the UK.
Do you sell more brands in your store in addition to your own brand? And will you add any new labels to your assortment?
In addition to Fleurs De Bagne we also sell Redwing Shoes, but we will also sell Sanders Shoes and Merz B Schwanen starting from this April. For next winter we are going to sell Manifattura Ceccarelli too. We are looking for brands with a story, as all we want to include has to be coherent with our attitude. We are always looking for brands that are similar to us.
How does your store differ from other stores?
Our store has a strong identity. You might enter and maybe don’t buy anything, but you like the place, the inspiration, the lights, the smell and the ambience. In the South of France it is not easy to find real shops like ours with such an authentic spirit and identity. This store also expresses a real way of life as we live according to this mood.
Also our story is uncommon as Mika Dumas founded the Fleurs De Bagne brand in 2012 even if he previously worked as managing director for a company in the helicopter mechanical business. He learnt everything by himself from this other business as he had a real passion for this world. Our brand debuted internationally in 2014 when it participated in Selvedge Run, while in January 2018 we exhibited in Pitti Uomo.
What do you like about your customers?
We like how they appreciate our brand’s good materials and stories. We don’t have to push our products as they like them already. We also like establishing a relationship with them–and they like this as we are not doing it just for business. Our store attracts 30-year-old people to 80-year-old ones. They all have a sensitivity for our stories–and a good spending power.
Atelier N°23-Fleurs De Bagne
62 Rue des Cordeliers
tel. +33 9 52 26 12 99