The word “multitasking” would be an understatement when describing the many occupations that keep Julien Bouzereau busy at his small but cozy men’s apparel and accessories store Beaubien, located in the Parisian district of Le Marais. Bouzereau holds the roles of sales associate, store manager and buyer, and also developed the well-curated store’s website himself. After gaining experience as sales associate at Kitsuné, Bouzereau opened Beaubien in April 2013, fruit of his desire to offer internationally-sourced denim- and casualwear brands that are difficult to find anywhere else in France and that are hard to get in other European retail landscapes. “I don’t want the store to be very niche, because in Paris it’s hard to have this kind of business. So the idea since the beginning was to mix a lot of different labels that will appeal to various customer targets,” he says. Among the highlights, Beaubien stocks Battenwear, a Brooklyn-based brand that offers functional outerwear with a very urban flair; and the Japanese denim brand orSlow. Names hard to find in the European retail landscape. We met Bouzereau in his Parisian store to get to know with greater detail his business approach. Interview by Lorenzo Molina



You mix brands with a very contemporary design approach as well as other ones with strong heritage roots. At this moment, which brands are your bestsellers?
The best-selling one is Norse Projects. It’s a strong brand that appeals to very different kinds of people. Libertine-Libertine is doing quite well for shirts; they’re using very nice fabrics.

Do you plan to add any new labels?
The idea is to keep the same brands, as the store is still quite new and I need a couple of seasons to value the current brand mix. It takes a lot of time to introduce a new name, so I want to work on the brand assortment in the long-term. This summer I rescued a brand that I used to stock, Jungmaven. They produce sustainable t-shirts made of a blend of hemp and cotton with a vintage feeling, made in the US. A new brand is always an investment, especially for a young store like mine, so I have to believe in the product and it has to appeal to my customer base.

The store runs a very cool website. What percentage of the total sales is happening online? Where do your orders come from?
Last year, it was over 30%. That’s quite big if you think that the website was launched one year after the physical store was opened. France accounts for 20% of online orders, so most orders come from abroad: UK, US and Germany. It’s interesting to see the digital shopping behavior. E.g. Battenwear is mostly sold via ecommerce.

What are the biggest challenges when running the store?
The competition from big retailers that are cutting prices and make several promotions.

What are your sources of inspiration as a retailer?
When I started the business, travelling abroad brought me a lot of inspiration, as I could visit independent men stores in Japan and the US; then I wondered why not starting a similar concept in Paris, where the offer was so small.

How is your customer base clothing wise?
It’s very diverse –from very trendy people with clear ideas to the ones that are starting to build up their closet with quality garments and improve their style.

What menswear trend do you think will gain relevancy in 2016?
In terms of pants, my customers are going towards more relaxed fits. So I believe clients will ask more frequently for a Levi’s 501 instead of a skinny jean in a couple of seasons.




Beaubien
21 rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth
75003 Paris