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Sonia Rykiel renews her marketing while wanting to stay true to “her DNA”

The ready-to-wear house Sonia Rykiel will remain faithful to “they are DNA” in its creations, while renewing its marketing strategy, assure its buyers, the Dayan brothers, from digital.

Striped sweaters, colors, the famous knitwear: Sonia Rykiel’s first fashion show, since its resumption a little over a year ago, presented on Instagram during Fashion Week at the end of February 2021, complied with the codes of “queen of knitting” disappeared in 2016.

“The first step is successful”, believes Eric Briones, author of the book “Luxury and resilience” (Éditions Dunod). “It is a gentle relaunch, in the wisdom that mainly targets fans of the brand and the press”, according to the co-founder of the Paris School of Luxury fashion school. “We are in a tribute, the brand is still in mourning for the loss of the designer”, he believes.

For Eric Dayan, “It was a first speech on a collection back to DNA, with very noble materials”. Eric and Michaël Dayan, co-founders of the showroomprivé e-commerce site with their brother David Dayan and Thierry Petit, took over the brand in December 2019 Sonia Rykiel who had been placed in liquidation six months earlier.

By buying Sonia Rykiel, the two brothers, who left the operational management of private showroom, find themselves owners of a “portfolio (…) with 400 intellectual property titles” of the house created at the end of the 60s, “archives” (sketches, words, photographs and all the parts), from “stock of raw materials” (fabrics, parts, bags …) and “some license contracts”, they detail.

Today, around twenty people work for Sonia Rykiel, a handful of whom “old” of the brand. At the time of the placement in receivership, they were 131 employees.

“The first strategy was to reactivate our social networks to reconnect with the community of 800,000 subscribers“Followers of the brand, explains Michaël Dayan. The second was to relaunch a new website in October 2020, in 100 countries with technology that adapts currencies, taxes and languages ​​according to the IP address of the user A site whose clientele is 50% international, led by the United States, and where the average basket is 500 euros, mainly for “iconic pieces” out of stock and bags. The new collection will only have been the third step in this strategy.

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Sonia Rykiel fall-winter 2021-22 at Paris Fashion Week, in February 2021 (Sonia Rykiel)

“The first revolution is in terms of distribution: the distribution network and in particular the iconic store in Saint-Germain-des-Prés are no longer part of the brand, the owners are targeting e-commerce but also a distribution in department stores, which reduces financial risk“, emphasizes Eric Briones. “We want to offer retail (stores), people because Sonia Rykiel is also this experience for others.” “We want to put it in place through three levers: the presence in multi-brands, in department stores, and to think about own stores“, he confirms.

His brother Eric Dayan believes that“a brand like Sonia Rykiel must also have an accessible luxury positioning, which was not the case with the last owners“- the Hong Kong investment fund First Heritage Brands – “who wanted to go to a competitor brand of groups like LVMH or Kering”, recognizes Eric Dayan.

The two brothers are also thinking of diversifying into tableware, beauty or perfume, but “gradually”. “We must continue to reassure, we bought a name”, explains Eric Dayan who points out that Sonia Rykiel is the only designer to have given her name to a Parisian street.

For Eric Briones, “luxury loves the Big Bang”. And “at some point, the brand will have to reinvent itself (…), with a woman at the head of creation”.

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