A French ready-to-wear brand with strong identity and values, Jennyfer is a cool, sexy, low-priced fashion brand created in 1980. Here, RLI speaks with President of the company Sébastien Bismuth about the changes within the company to anchor the business in the modern retail world.
With a strong startup spirit and mindset that has made the brand one of the ready-to-wear leaders in and out of the French market, and with new collections, a new visual identity and a new shopping experience; Jennyfer is continuing to look for further global growth. Today the company works with more than 2,000 collaborators and has 500 stores across 31 countries, with these being a mix of owned and franchised locations. The past few months have been a crucial time for the business as they look to build their new business model on a good product at a good price and incorporate this within a new brand image.
“We are practicing an ‘on demand’ strategy, based on flexibility and reactivity offering to our clients a large product range with a shorter lead time to market. Moreover, with our new pricing policy, we are no longer doing discounts regularly and instead offer to our clients an ‘everyday good price’ with low prices the answer to the new Z generation target of women from 16 to 21 years old,” explains Sébastien Bismuth, President of Jennyfer. In line with this new strategy and brand image, the company recently opened its first store with the new concept ‘Ringside’ in Polygone Mall in Montpellier.
A bridge between the old ‘arty’ concept and the future one, the newly-opened store is raw, bold, and digital. Instead of shopping windows, two vertical screens have been installed, along with additional screens in-store, an automatic click & collect, neon lights, black, white and raw wood is also on show to add to this ‘arty’ concept, whilst allowing an increase in storage capacity to show the maximum possible amount of the collection and give further choice to customers.
“Over the next couple of years, our goals are to achieve an optimal network of shops in our home country and become the leader in the market. We would also like to reinforce our presence in Belgium and Italy, and focus on our main international markets which are the Middle East, Northern Africa and Overseas France,” says Bismuth. Jennyfer’s offer answers to a certain community and style rather than a French or worldwide consumer. Its goal is not to adapt its collection to everybody’s needs and tastes; instead it’s to embrace this community and style that already exists in these countries.
The label has recently launched a large communication campaign called ‘Zéro Étiquette, aimed at denouncing stereotypes in our society. With this campaign, the company is asking people to not judge Jennyfer, and this is backed up with war cry, ‘DON’T CALL ME JENNYFER’.
Bismuth explains that social media is one of the company’s key focuses in terms of its communication strategy and its aim is to become a media-brand and not just a brand. Its collaborations with influencers goes much beyond product placement, they participate in the Jennyfer strategy and embody the brand digitally and in-store.
So why does Bismuth think customers continue to shop at Jennyfer?
“I feel our customers remain loyal because we don’t pretend to be what we are not. We have been around for almost 40 years, we are a popular fashion brand and we always will be, offering cool products for a great price and our customers know they can be stylish without being broke. On top of this we share the same values as our customers by being ourselves whatever people think of us.”
The ethos of the company is based on one strong idea of ‘employee first, customer second’. Bismuth aims to create a unique employee organization by creating transparency and accountability between people and the capability for each to express their own personality and creativity. This philosophy puts their employee’s initiative at the centre of the company’s actions.
Looking forward, Bismuth feels the company’s long term challenge is to become a worldwide brand and to develop the brand’s notoriety beyond the French market. “To accomplish this, we would like to associate ourselves with retail partners that possess a strong international image and we look forward to what the future holds,” concludes Bismuth.