Picture Organic bets on lifestyle
The French brand opened its first Parisian flagship store in the heart of the capital’s ‘outdoor district’ in the 10th arrondissement, where the Old Camper base camp is located, and where Columbia and The North Face both opened their own stores. Picture Organic Clothing presented its universe to Parisians through an opening realized last December.
This boutique serves as a new way to connect with urbanites for the label launched in 2008 by three young people from Clermont-Ferrand, who with their offbeat designs and fun spirit incorporated stylistic conformity into ski and snowboard clothing.
After having a successful month of December and starting the year off on the right foot, the branch (the third one after the Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand stores), took over from Urban Surfers, one of the French capital's historic surf shops that opened in 1997. The brand was already well represented in the multi-brand store, and the Picture team has kept the generic surf shop concept, with surfing products displayed on the ground floor.
On the first floor, outdoor products are offered alongside lifestyle items, a trend that has gained traction in recent seasons. “Last year, when all the mountain equipment retailers were overstocked and didn't place orders, we were really afraid of having to close down," explained Julien Durant bluntly. “And it was our lifestyle products that saved us.” Given the opening constraints experienced by ski resorts, the pandemic period could have indeed been fatal to the French ski and snowboard equipment industry.
"Fortunately, we started hiring people in order to develop these lifestyle products, but we have accelerated our market strategy within this category. We had to switch from a business model dedicated to technical outdoor wear to having a stronger focus on lifestyle. We identified the market potential since online shopping is very prominent in cities like Paris, London and Lyon. Last year we recorded very strong growth in these products, but this did not compensate for the decline in other categories. And for the first time since the brand launched, we recorded losses. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of support measures.”
The brand, which has a total of 18 stores with franchise partners, has been able to keep its head above water. Last year it benefited from a €4 million PGE (already repaid) and short-time working arrangements which enabled it to cushion the fall in business and income. Its turnover fell from €32 million in 2020 to €25 million in 2021, since the company opened new headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand and employed new staff in order to prepare for its future expansion by 2025.
This came as quite a challenge for the BCorp-certified brand, whose points-of-sale have conventionally been located in mountain, lowland and coastal regions. Picture, which undoubtedly has some of the most contemporary designs in the ski and snowboard equipment market, had to find its place in an urban environment while remaining true to its alpine codes. This translated into workwear jackets, coach jackets and dresses for women. The brand also introduced new materials, such as linen-cotton blend T-shirts.
"It was also a challenge to incorporate this modernity in our advertising. We decided to work with a team that creates campaigns for urban and luxury brands," stated the general manager. “It was important to make this contrast.”
An urban technical line
Starting next season, Picture will begin to incorporate streetstyle into its technical products with a few pieces. A full collection will be rolled out for Fall/Winter 2023. "There's this commuter angle, with functional and stylish products for biking. But we realize that in every city, in Annecy, London or Paris, people are waiting for a sleek, technical product. It is this 'slick design' that we are going to develop without limiting it to bicycles for urban people.” About 15 designs will be presented in total.
The lifestyle line’s success has encouraged the brand to expand in this division without neglecting its mountain gear products. Picture will present its collection dedicated to "all mountain" biking at the next Outdoor Retailler trade show, the big outdoor sports event in the United States to be held from June 9 to June 11 in Denver. The line, as with its technical winter clothing and surf suits, is more environmentally friendly with products made of bio-sourced materials. The brand, which has developed its technical shorts in detail, plans to collaborate all year-long with retailers in resorts that switch to offering cycling gear during the summer period, thereby maintaining continuity with its partners.
Boosted by its expansion and good sales orders, the brand will be back in the black this year. "We are looking at €35 million in sales and we may even reach €40 million if our restocking is successful," explained Durant. “We are all concerned by production and delivery issues, even if we have moved our production areas closer together. 80% of our lifestyle line is produced in the Mediterranean basin. But what will make a difference will be the ability to deliver products to our customers. What is reassuring for Picture is that in one year we have returned to the development trajectory we had set for ourselves in 2019.”
To reach the €50 million mark, the brand, which is aiming for 15% of online sales, will continue to expand in France but plans on strengthening its international presence. It could soon start opening stores via franchisees in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Copyright © 2022 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.