Bonton celebrates its 20th anniversary: ​​how the Parisian brand aims to become the benchmark for family-oriented lifestyle brands – Money

| The Bonton x Sonia Rykiel collaboration

Founded in 2001 by Irène and Thomas Cohen, the Bonton brand was born from the desire to offer high-end children’s clothing, with a fashion and relaxed twist more present than at Bonpoint, the other nugget created by their parents Marie-France and Bernard Cohen. Very quickly, Bonton expanded into lifestyle and developed a concept that would make its signature: that of bringing together different universes in shops where you feel good. A very lifestyle and family positioning that Jean-Michel Terrien, CEO of the brand, wishes to strengthen in the years to come.

What -which is the strength of the concept of Bonton, which today celebrates its 19 year ?

Jean-Michel Terrien : The children’s brand Bonton has developed unique know-how in the over-dyeing of fabrics, mainly cotton gauzes, which offers a great playground for colors, and which gives all their uniqueness to embroidery and prints. The other flagship asset of the brand is to have sensed the desire of modern families to go beyond clothing by opening up children’s fashion to other related universes, such as scents, shoes or even toys, from way to make our shops real places of life.

The flagship of the rue des Filles du Calvaire, in the colors of 20 years of the house This new vision of family life was further accentuated by the arrival of Julie Brisson late 2017, new shareholder and president of the brand. What universes are you targeting today at Bonton?

Jean-Michel Terrien : Until its redemption in 2001, Bonton was operating in the niche children’s brands segment, since the brand was only distributed within its own stores (2 in Paris), with the exception of rare corners abroad in wholesale. Julie Brisson and Xavier Marie brought Bonton a real retail vision, and pushed it to develop its branch network in France and abroad. In two years, Bonton went from 2 to 10 points of sale. They also sensed that the brand was legitimate to explore other territories than that of the baby, which remains its core business. The success of the “Maxi Me” line, offering mothers a capsule of clothing inspired by children’s icons, encouraged us to persevere in this direction. Today, Bonton is expanding its offer to the universe of women, with a first dedicated capsule, as well as that of the house in the broad sense, with a predilection for the night segment. Furniture, bed linen, pajamas, the “No Sleep Club” collection allows us to reach families at large by mixing fashion and lifestyle, with a festive and playful approach, which is all our own.

Jean-Michel Terrien, General Manager of BONTON Another domain on which you plan to position yourself, that of the teenager: a target difficult to seduce for children’s brands. How do you plan to go about it?

Jean- Michel Terrien : Indeed. Even if our children’s collections go up to 12 years, we noticed that from 8 – 10 year , the child falls into another fashionable relationship, that of the pre-adolescent then of the adolescent. They no longer want to be assimilated to children, their tastes are changing, and this must be taken into account, even if it is still the parents who hold the purse strings. This is why we wanted to partner with brands that have legitimized fashion, and whose values ​​echo our own. So, for the winter 2021, we are proud to have designed a four-handed collection with the house Sonia Rykiel . Entitled “Chronicles of Saint Germain”, the capsule is inspired by the intellectual Parisian DNA of our two houses, without forgetting the characteristic hint of playfulness. Spoiler: stripes and color are in the spotlight! These collaborations will be an opportunity to test, in addition to ours, a new distribution network in specialized stores like Citadium, or e-commerce platforms popular with Teens like Zalando…

In addition to consolidating its retail network, Bonton is showing its ambitions for the international market. Which countries are targeted?

Jean-Michel Terrien : For the fast-growing markets which are, for us, the United States and China, we have opted for wholesale development with reference partners. Today, Europe represents 25% market share, Asia excluding China 25% and the United States 15%. This is a dynamic that we want to rebalance, and this requires an increased presence of the brand in these countries. Next April, Bonton will inaugurate its first boutique in Shanghai, 100 square meters deployed in the local equivalent of the Champs-Élysées district. We are also thinking about opening a flagship store across the Atlantic. Concerning Europe, we have signed for the winter 2022 partnerships in Italy, Germany and the Middle East. So many measures that will allow us to make Bonton an international children’s brand.

Colorful prints, one of the brand’s signatures After the crisis of 2020, what do you think are the challenges facing houses like Bonton?

Jean-Michel Terrien : Children’s fashion is a very competitive market, both between brands, and even within their distribution network, between online and retail. Another observation that we have been able to make is that customers, who are no doubt tired of buying online, are returning to the pleasure of physically returning to the store. All the more reason to invest heavily and make our points of sale places of discovery and enchantment. I am convinced that beyond the product, it is the customer experience that will make the difference and win their support in the long term.

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