Lylian Richardière, founder and creative director of Le Temps des Cerises has been giving some thought to how the image of the ‘new’ Le Temps des Cerises brand should be like –now the name encompasses the formerly-independent men-, boys- and girls collections. And he has come up with a revamped identity where everything relates to the Mediterranean way of living. “Our know-how comes from the Mediterranean area, where denim was born. The manufacture takes place in this area and now we try to express this lifestyle in our collection, in store and in our communication actions,” he explains. On the communication front, the brand just launched a first-ever TV advertising campaign in France and Belgium, which will be broadcasted in various stations until September 25. Richardière targets purposely the male consumers who weren’t perhaps aware of the bond between Le Temps des Cerises and the gone men’s label Japan Rags. The ad features sexy twenty-somethings in a kind of lifelong ‘carpe diem’ attitude. Effective but well-trodden values like spontaneity, seduction and singularity are meant to be transmitted in the twenty-one seconds of the video as well as the accompanying print ad campaign. The brand allocated €2 million euros of marketing budget for TV appearances.
Le Temps des Cerises – TV ad
Willing to know more about the possible downsides of the brand unification, the opening of a hotel-boutique in Saint Martin earlier this year and if the brand will decidedly try to succeed beyond the French frontiers, we asked Richardière everything about the new Le Temps des Cerises.
You have unified the four clothing lines of Le Temps des Cerises after the summer’16 season as a new single Le Temps des Cerises label. How was the decision taken by retailers stocking the men’s line, Japan Rags? After all, the name was already rooted in consumers’ heads…
Not really. Before taking this decision, we did a notoriety study in France to test the visibility and the image of the brand Le Temps des Cerises. The target was 1000 male consumers between 18 and 45 years old, our marketing target. The results showed that only 40% knew Japan Rags as opposed to 60% who knew Le Temps des Cerises, which means that the women’s brand had a better notoriety than the men’s label. 80% of the study participants also said that they don’t have any problem to buy items branded as Le Temps de Cerises. After this, we decided to stop Japan Rags, and to use only one label for our four lines. 80% of the revenue made by Japan Rags happened in France –if the French market is ready to buy Le Temps des Cerises menswear, we think other European markets will follow.
Are there any measures that you plan to take in order to avoid losing any loyal male clientele after the disappearance of the Japan Rags tag?
There are 70 own stores branded Le Temps Des Cerises where you can also buy Japan Rags, the men collection. So when male consumers come to our stores, they mostly get to a Le Temps des Cerises subsidiary. This said, some consumers in France and Europe don’t know the link between both brands. However, people bought Japan Rags not for the brand itself but for the product or the story surrounding it, as opposed to major brands like Nike or Levi’s. Even if the labeling changed, the product remains the same.
Will the unification of the clothing lines have an effect on the overall design direction of Le Temps des Cerises?
Yes. Before the unification, both lines had a different artistic direction. It was a big confusion in our stores to stock two brands with two artistic approaches: Le Temps des Cerises, teenage and girly, and Japan Rags, urban and sporty. As we redefined our brand values, we shaped a new man and woman who share the same style. Both love casual and easy-to-wear pieces with on-trend details, mostly colorful and also featuring prints.
Last February, you opened the brand’s first-ever boutique hotel in Saint Martin. Why did you decide to step into the hotel business?
This project illustrates perfectly our new positioning. Le Temps des Cerises is not only jeans, Le Temps des Cerises is an “art de vivre”, inspired from friends, sea, music and sun. On the other hand, we think that fashion retailing has to find a new concepts and a boutique hotel could be this new way to make shopping fun again.
Are there any specific plans to open new boutique hotels in the near future?
The idea is not to open others boutique-hotel, but only to promote our concept stores to people who want to open a store Le Temps des Cerises as franchise.
In terms of retail stores’ expansion, how many stores are in the pipeline for this year and 2017?
Since 2015, our aim is to open ten stores per year. We run 70 stores in France at the moment, and want to reach 100 before expanding determinedly in Europe. Outside of France, Le Temps des Cerises operates two shops in Belgium, one in Bratislava (Slovakia), one in Prague (Czech Republic) and we opened a franchise store in Barcelona last spring. Right now, we’re looking for a retail location in Ibiza.
But is the goal of ten stores per year still working as planned? Are there any openings abroad in the pipeline?
Yes, we have planned ten new stores in France next year. If we have the possibility to open more stores outside of France, we will do it. But for the moment, nothing is confirmed.
What denim pieces for men and women out of the SS17 collection have been the most successful ones so far in the ordering season?
Ripped, vintage-looking blue jeans featuring stretch fabrics are working well for men. For women, all jeans featuring our new fabric concept Ultrapower, which offers high elasticity and great shape recovery features that offer ladies a really sexy and slim silhouette. On this family, there’s a broad range of colors and washes from black to vintage bleach.