“Seller’s website, marketplaces, physical intermediaries… and now we are moving to our own stores. We try everything! If it works, we duplicate. Otherwise we stop. A simple but effective strategy for the sock brand Made in France France Sock (LCF) created by the Tismail factory.
This company from Troyes, founded in 1961, produces white socks, in particular for the French army, La Poste, the gendarmerie, mass distribution and brands such as Aigle, Fusalp, Le Slip français, Cocorico or La Redoute. Its CEO Benoit Segenjoined the SME in 2010 together with the buyer
Alain Lohmann. “For several years, we have sat down, reduced profits, to continue to offer a competitive product Made in France. And then we told ourselves that the best way to become more free is to create your own brand, ”concludes Benoit Segen.
This is how La Chaussette de France was born about ten years ago. Until last year, the commercial brand developed only on the Internet and through a network of retailers such as Au Vieux Campeur and Terre de Running. The goal of this new strategy is to create a showcase to embody the brand and strengthen its image among customers. And of course, increase its share in the total turnover of SMEs 48 employees.
Ten stores by 2027
After the first three discoveries in La Rochelle in June 2021, Lyon in November 2021 and Lille in April 2022, the choice of retail as a new way of distribution and development seems to be bearing fruit. “We are pleased with the start of these first outlets. “La Rochelle was particularly successful: in seven months we have reached a one-year turnover forecast,” said Benoit Segen.
In its concept stores with an average area of 45 m2, the manufacturer of socks Made in France sells only products from its own brand La Chaussette de France. Technical socks that made him famous in the world of skiing, then trail and running, as well as more casual socks are available in offers for men, women and children.
The fourth store, this time short-lived, will open its doors in October 2022 in Arcachon for a period of six months. “We are taking the opportunity,” said Benoit Segen. If this is final, we will renew the experience next year. Other projects are also underway to cover six to ten stores in three to five years.
Tismail is currently limiting the risk. These discoveries are made directly, self-financed, thanks to a fairly comfortable cash flow. “We prefer to pay higher rents, but do without key money and rental rights,” adds the manager. The so-called “American” lease, which allows the tenant not to pay too much money at startup.
Free yourself from mass distribution
In ten years, La Chaussette de France has won the position, reaching 20% of Tismail’s total turnover in 2019. “In 2020, this figure fell to 15% due to Covid’s fault and reduced activity at ski resorts, where we have many of our 500 dealers. But we hope that this figure will increase to 25% this year, “said Benoit Segen. 20% of the production lines at the Troyes factory are already entirely dedicated to La Chaussette de France, and the brand’s turnover should almost double, from € 700,000 in 2021 to € 1.3 million in 2022, of which € 400,000 is to be made in LCF stores. .
On the other hand, it is not a question of a franchise or membership in a commission. The development of stores continues on its own. At least at first. “I have not considered this issue yet, but I am not closing the door to this opportunity, which has the advantage of attracting independent entrepreneurs to the network who can come up with proposals. Because retail is a separate profession in which we realize that the store needs to be managed as a center of profit. And it’s not necessarily easy if they are not run by franchisees, “said Benoit Segen.
Tismail also dreams of the direct international development of its brand, which is already distributed by hundreds of retailers in Europe. But be careful: the priority is to stabilize the first stores, which are still very young.