Three famous Parisian palaces – but their name is still yours – are soon to present the blankets, shawls, blankets and carts of La Maison de la Maille. They will join the already impressive list of big names in the luxury hotel industry who have chosen this young brand, including Le Crillon, Terrass’ Hotel in Paris and Aigle Noir Hôtel in Fontainebleau. However, initially this proposal was not intended for this audience.
Charlotte Hughes Despoint has a philosophy: “You have to know how to surprise and embark on projects you would never think of. The mantra that guided her throughout all her entrepreneurial adventures.
She left Paris for family reasons after several years spent at design agencies dealing with major luxury goods accounts, including time at the helm of her own agency, mainly focused on wines and spirits, which she sold in 2015, Charlotte Hughes Depoint ob ‘ teamed up with fellow photographer Francois-Xavier Vatin to launch La Maison de la Maille in 2017.
Concept: capes made of natural wool made in France. The only exception is the range of merino wool, as it works with an Italian spinning mill, which has this forgotten know-how, but all other stages of production are carried out on site. “We are working, in particular, with a spinning mill in Tarn, which has developed a patent for the processing of wool pieces and has a real approach to eco-design,” says Charlotte Hughes Depoint.
When it first started, La Maison de la Maille addressed its offer directly to consumers. Production is even starting thanks to the Ulule campaign. “Our business plan was clear at the beginning: we have to be a pure BtoC player. And then we quickly realized that customers need to see and touch the products, and changed course, building a network of independent retailers, “- says the businessman. And since “nothing is going as planned”, as she recalls, this was only the first turn in front of another, which disrupted the whole strategy of La Maison de la Mail …
Fifty-fifty on BtoB and BtoC
Another important turning point was that a small company from Sarthe decided to open up to professionals in the field of luxury hotels. “Although we didn’t think about it at first,” says Charlotte Hughes Despoint. And yet BtoB is now half the turnover of La Maison de la Maille. The first hotel near the company’s headquarters in La Fleche was conquered. Then comes Crillon’s turn in Paris, which was approached thanks to a mutual acquaintance.
“Luxury hospitality is a very demanding industry – and rightly so. The success of entering the first palace opened the doors of others to us, ”explains the manager. On the other hand, addressing this new audience needs some adjustments. Starting with the adaptation of the production tool for custom production, which is expected in these prestigious institutions. “You also have to agree to question the whole initial economic model, which is not necessarily obvious. »
Brand coverage in the media
But the game is worth the candles. Thanks to the palaces and luxury hotels to which it offers its plaids and other decorative accessories made of natural wool, Charlotte Hughes Despins hopes to increase the popularity of its brand and thus improve sales at BtoC. “To sell directly on the Internet, you need to have a strong and recognized brand. Otherwise it is very difficult, especially if you have such a high-quality positioning as ours. »
Thus, the luxury hotel industry will play the role of a trusted writer and help promote the brand. It also helps to smooth out the strong seasonality of these products, which are usually sold at the end of the year, in the heart of winter and during donations. And then this allows La Maison de la Mail to consider international development. “We are slowly starting to campaign for certain institutions and have good contacts in South Korea and Japan, but we prefer to strengthen first in the French market. »
Bet on the “French alpaca”.
Over the past year, La Maison de la Maille has set itself a new challenge: to offer a range of 100% French alpaca. “Here again, I allowed myself to be surprised, because I did not think to go this way: our alpaca fiber first came from Peru. It was an alpaca breeder in the west of France who contacted me and asked us to do something together, ”says Charlotte Hughes Depuent.
Together they created a new French sector. From now on, 100% Alpaca products are Ma Mais de la Maille from the Great West. The plaid is made of fiber of the same animal, which gives each room a unique dimension, which is highly valued by luxury hoteliers. “This creates a real connection with the animal, the traceability is absolute, and the chain is ultra-short,” – says the businessman.