How did the Shop 17 journey start for you?
The opening of Shop 17 was preceded by me being in charge of mono-brand stores for luxury brands. Like many things, every one of my projects began with meeting the right people at the right time. I was lucky to find a great spot on the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes and proposed to Christian Lacroix to open a mono-brand store there. He agreed to meet with me, and we were immediately on the same page. I was the proud owner of the first independent Christian Lacroix store at the early ages of LVMH. After running a Jean Paul Gaultier store as well, I felt the need to recoup my creative freedom. I noticed a lack of multibrand stores in Cannes, so 2011 was the perfect timing for me to open Shop 17.
What sets you apart from other stores in Cannes?
We are the only concept store in the area. Whereas other stores limit their offer to clothing, our boutique has more of an all-round purpose. Our strength is in selling luxury clothing and accessories as well as decoration and gifts, ranging from high to lower prices. On top of that, the boutique's spacious setting allows us to organise events and expositions.
How would you describe the average Shop 17 customer?
As a result of our touristic location, we are blessed with an international clientele. In between high seasons, we have a majority of Belgian, Dutch, German and American clients. Clients from the Middle East often visit us during summer. As far as their preferences go, one client can be quite the opposite from the other. We get young customers with a smaller budget who are looking for a reliable piece of denim or a nice gift, on the other hand, there are the fashion-minded clients that come in looking for exclusive, premium brands.
What do you keep in mind when making your selection each season?
There may be some brands that I like more than others, but in the end, it truly depends on what they've come up with that season. There have been times when I felt like everything looked the same in a showroom and other times I have felt like a kid in a candy store and wanted to buy everything. A collection needs to draw my attention immediately, or I won't be enthused to buy it. Unlike other buyers, I don't keep statistics on sales during the previous year. I rely on my gut feeling and choose everything on the spot.