Editions M.R makes successful transition to new brand name
The market was waiting to see what would happen, after Mathieu de Ménonville and Rémi de Laquintane decided to change their label's brand name last year. "We always needed to explain what the name Melinda Gloss meant. For Asian and especially English-speaking buyers it simply did not bring a French label to mind, and a menswear one even less so. The Matches Fashion website told us that it was a serious spanner in the works, so we ended up changing the name," said the label's co-founder Mathieu de Ménonville.
The name change was implemented from the Autumn/Winter 2016-17 collection and, according to the designers, it turned out to be non-traumatic. Sales for the collection actually leaped 47% in the season in question, compared to the same collection a year earlier. The name change was something that some buyers were even expecting.
Today, Editions M.R generates 70% of its revenue through exports, and 30% in France. Its main market is Japan, well ahead of Korea. "We built our success in Japan by taking on a local agent and a local press officer. It took us time, energy and resources, but in the long run it was an approach that paid off," said Mathieu de Ménonville. The label is now present in 26 stores owned by major Japanese distributors, like Biotop, Beams, United Arrows, American Rag and Hankyu. In Seoul, Editions M.R opened its first retail corner abroad at the end of April, a 20 m2 space at Beaker, a concept store chain owned by Samsung. The collection is also distributed in seven other stores in the country.
Of the other international markets, the label is prioritising the USA, where for the time being it is only distributed via a few independent stores. The objective is to establish partnerships with US department stores, a strong growth opportunity according to the label's founders. In Europe, initial sales results from Matches Fashion appear to be encouraging, and sales in Germany are also positive.
In France, Editions M.R operates one store only, in boulevard des Filles-du-Calvaire, Paris, having closed down another in the French capital because its renovation would have been too costly. "Nearly 80% of our customers visited the two Paris stores. There was no point in taking on so much renovation work, and we preferred to invest in a new website." Mathieu de Ménonville has nothing but praise for the manager of the Parisian store: "He plays a crucial role. He must transform the in-store experience into something positive. Men love clothes, but they are less keen on shopping. We must make their job easier, by listening to them and being at their service." As for the new e-store, launched in April, its sales are satisfactory, on par with those of the monobrand store.
Another novelty by Editions M.R is the first pre-collection, introduced to better respond to changing consumption patterns. "In menswear, there are only two major seasons in a year. But we must become increasingly proactive and change the seasonal pattern, as it is no longer relevant. The solution is to launch a pre-collection and a series of capsule collections and collaborations, working in synch with our retailers." Every season, Editions M.R features a permanent collection of about fifty items which are never included in end-of-season sales. It is a common-sense idea, which came to the founders after they experienced first-hand the frustration for the lack of availability of certain products. It also provides a reassuring base through which the label can establish a regular relationship with customers.
In parallel, Editions M.R will launch a series of capsule collections, starting next Autumn/Winter with a first shoe collection made in the UK and a collaboration with Le Coq Sportif.
Ever since Editions M.R was founded in 2009, the label has kept on growing. The expansion has been backed since 2014 by a private investor the designers net through one of their clients. "We are not under pressure to produce results. [The investor] is aware of the market's fluctuations and uncertainty. With him, we learn and we can discuss things."
Editions M.R has remained loyal to its initial aesthetic, targeting a laid-back urban consumer, sensual and a touch quirky, someone who loves clothing and also literature, films and art in general. The collections’ fabrics come from Europe and sometimes Japan, and the clothes are manufactured in Portugal, France and Italy. Editions M.R's customers are equally at home among friends or with their family and, whether they are in their twenties or fifties, the Parisian label is full of projects for them.
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