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17 French companies export to American stores Saks

The French Touch mission, organized by Bpifrance and Business France, has set itself the goal of promoting French know-how in the United States. However, in the midst of an unprecedented health period and marked by many obstacles to export and travel, we experienced more favorable momentum… Not enough to discourage the 17 lucky women who participate in the program, organized by Bpifrance in partnership with the chain American high-end department store Saks Fifth Avenue.

Discover the selected brands on the Saks website

A daunting selection process

For the first time, in July, Bpifrance’s French Touch mission offered French companies in the fashion, beauty, accessories and home sectors the opportunity to apply for a partnership with the Saks Fifth Avenue chain of stores. . The key for the winning companies: unprecedented visibility through 6 windows on 5th Avenue in New York, a digital and physical pop-up lasting nearly a month in the New York store and on their website. All imagined in an exclusive visual identity, intended to enhance the products and promote French elegance in the United States. A major opportunity for Laura Guillermin, General Manager of Dawei Studio, who is one of the selected: “ Saks is a reference in the fashion world. It’s a chance to be able to open a first point of sale in the United States “. ” We have long wanted to approach buyers from the department store chain “, continues Sophie Allouche, founder of Kos Paris, which is also part of the program. ” We did not want to miss the opportunity given to us by Bpifrance. »

Photo credit: Luis Gullén

To participate, you still had to go through all the stages of a long process. With an exceptional programme, an unprecedented selection. Of more than 100 candidate companies, 17 were selected by Saks Fifth Avenue’s sector buyers. A sustained journey, which lasted more than 5 months, between December 2020 and April 2021, remembers Sophie Allouche: “ Due to the health crisis, all interviews with buyers were done by videoconference. It’s always a little destabilizing not being able to meet a buyer “. This has not undermined the motivation of candidate companies, as explained by Aurélie Mesnil, Head of the International Missions and Strategic Partnerships Division at Bpifrance: ” Never had so many French brands been offered to a major American player among department stores. The 30 companies selected to pitch to the Saks Fifth Avenue sector buyers benefited from individual and tailor-made support thanks to a team of retail and United States experts from Retail Factory”.

At the end of this course, the 17 companies selected have therefore offered their collections within the ephemeral space of 70 m2 in the heart of the Contemporary Designers floor. At the end of this journey, the 15 selected companies were able to offer their collections within the ephemeral space of the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York. ” Great visibility for the brand “, according to Laura Guillermin. ” Highlighting our know-how “, emphasizes Sophie Allouche.

One objective: the development of French companies on American soil

This selection is however only the first stage of a broader ambition: the establishment on the American market. A goal recalled by Aurélie Mesnil: “ To be referenced at Saks is to enter the American market through the front door. This mission allows participating SMEs and ETIs to initiate for some, and for others to continue their development in the United States. “. Bpifrance’s support in this dynamic serves as an impetus for the strategy of the participating companies to establish themselves, develop, conquer an American market already fond of France.ench Touch in these industries. Witness the major French luxury brands already established within the Saks network, such as Dior, Louboutin and Chloé.

Photo credit: Luis Gullén

On the startup side, we are already thinking about the next step, as Sophie Allouche points out: “ This participation allows us to accelerate our process of setting up on the American retail market. We hope that this operation will allow us to settle permanently at Saks but also to develop in other department stores. “. Same strategy for Dawei Studio: “ The international is central in the expansion strategy of a fashion brand. Our presence at Saks serves as a door opener to other department stores “.

For Bpifrance, this system is part of a desire, proven for years, to support French retail companies wishing to develop internationally. This partnership with Saks as part of the French Touch mission is nevertheless a first, as Aurélie Mesnil points out: “ This is the first time that we have offered a 360° mission using a multitude of devices that allow companies to create business links, present their collection online and ultimately benefit from attractive set-up prices in the one of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world in terms of customer experience “. By the very admission of the two leaders, their respective companies would surely not have had the financial and human resources to carry out such a large-scale expansion project without the support and financing of Bpifrance. A win-win partnership, concludes Aurélie Mesnil: “ This delegation is a true standard-bearer of French excellence “.

The digital pop-ups dedicated to the selected brands will be live on the Saks site until December 7, 2021, while the physical pop-ups will remain in place until November 8. After these dates, will come the time for balance sheets, sales analyses, before, why not, extending the American adventure for these business creators?

Discover the selected brands on the Saks website

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