Normandie, the internationalization of the brand begins
17 May, 2013
Pitti Bimbo, the leading trade fair in the children’s fashion sector, which is held inFlorence, was the starting point for the internationalization of Normandie. This year, they will open their first point of sale abroad.
After participating in the Pitti Bimbo fashion fair for the first time, Normandie, the children’s fashion brand from Barcelona, signed various agreements for the distribution of their products to different countries in Europe and worldwide.
In addition, this firm is in the process of opening its first store outside Spain. They are still assessing which of the European fashion capitals will be the location of this first establishment, but they know that it will be in operation by the third quarter of this year. An opening that will also include three new franchises. In total, the brand has ten points of sale, three of which are their own stores.
Origins of an entrepreneur
Normandie was established in the year 2000 when, after working for six years in Paris as a designer, Graziella Antón de Vez set up her own company. We have been able to speak to her about her firm’s current expansion. She assures us that her experience with Antoni Miró, the designer she worked with on the creation of her children’s line at the end of the 1980s, was decisive in Normandie coming into the market. “I learnt everything that I know about colour from him. He also showed me how to backstitch woollen items. A pioneering idea that since then has been incorporated into other children’s fashion collections,” explains Antón de Vez.
Unlike other entrepreneurs and businesspeople, the instigator of Normandie, who has three children, assures us that the work-life balance was not the main inspiration for creating her own brand. “I think that more than looking for a way to balance my professional and personal life more easily, Normandie was inspired by a number of experiences as a fashion designer for women and children and from the years I was living inParis. While there, I went on many occasions to theNormandyregion and that, together with my love of painting, literature and music, were key to the project. Becoming a mother gave me the wings to create a story I had imagined and dreamed about”.
Now that this dream has come true, the founder of Normandie is certain that to find a balance between the business and the family world “requires the support of the people closest to you” and she adds, “With three children very close together in age, I have needed my husband’s support to combine work and professional life. I always worked at home for the first few years. In this regard, I like combining the business and the family world. If I can laugh with my children while I am designing, all the better!”
Expansion abroad, essential
After thirteen years of strengthening the presence of Normandie inSpain, the firm and the founder knew that the future required an increase in the importance of markets abroad in all their spheres of activity. “Up to 2012, our international presence was confined to the sales made on the website. The majority of them were aimed at the European market. Since the beginning of 2012, we are present inItaly,Holland,Belgium,MexicoandSouth Korea. Our goal is to reduce our dependence on the home market and to expand at the international level”, explains the designer of Normandie.
The economic situation at home is obviously one of the main reasons for this decision. “Our home sales have greatly decreased. The general situation has had a very bad effect on the sales during the season, while sales have increased during special promotion campaigns and at sale times”, says the designer.
After just over a year, the online Normandie store accounts for 5% of total sales. “Even so, the percentage is increasing every month. This online sales service has also helped us to implement express deliveries for gifts to newborn babies. This service ensures that Normandie reaches Spanish hospitals within 24 hours”, comments Antón de Vez.
Differentiating fashion for little ones
One of the defining aspects of Normandie is quality. With 100% natural fabrics, the instigator of this firm has been certain from the beginning of the importance and attraction of offering well-finished products in the children’s fashion sector.
With clothing and accessory lines that range from 0 to 36 months, another attraction of the brand is design. In this regard, Normandie explains that the city of Barcelonais also one of its sources of inspiration and reference. Normandie accompanies its brand image with the line Designed in Barcelona and it does so because “the city is an exclusive guarantee of origin and quality which brings added value”.
Antón de Vez says that she is “very proud of her city:Barcelonais open to the world, it is lively, cosmopolitan, creative and renowned for its architecture, its climate and the design which it projects, among other strengths”. Distinctive features that help to reinforce other fundamental values of this brand such as the attention to detail and product presentation, and the design of its establishments.