“DARE TO BE BOLD. DARE TO BE FEMININE. AND MOST OF ALL… DARE TO IMAGINE”
During Who’s Next, last september, we met Fabienne Chapot, founder of the eponymous brand. She started the brand 13 years ago in Amsterdam. She explained to us how the bold and colourful brand DNA that cemented her success is still at the core of her business today, but in an evolved, mature and feminine way.
Can you present your brand and how it was born?
I started the brand 13 years ago in Amsterdam as an accessory and bags brand, it was called FAB. 5 years later I added shoes. It was always a dream to finally have a clothing collection but I was not ready at that time. So, after 9 years I changed the name FAB to Fabienne Chapot because it was hard to protect the name. We then added clothing which was a big step for us. I also found an investor, at which time we had a team of 8 or 9 people, and now we are 45. In three years we have grown fast, and we are still expanding! Our clothes are now providing 70% of our turnover, and selling in 8 different countries.
We stand for being colorful, positive and feminine. We have a unique style!
When I finished high school I was really unsure about going to university or to a fashion school because I loved the business and commercial side of things, but I was also very creative. So, I decided to go to university but kept that passion alive. Today, I’m helping to create the collections but I’m also working on our business strategy. I have a design team and a creative director, but in the end I have the overriding vote. I am always working to protect our brand DNA.
Describe your brand in 3 words?
Positive, playful and feminine.
What are your sources of inspiration?
There are so many things! I guess it’s everything around me, my brain is always switched on. And of course when I travel, I make sure to visit interesting places etc.
Get out there and get inspired!
When we start a collection, we always start with a theme that has been suggested by our creative director, who travels a lot and is very aware of what is going on in society.
What is your signature piece?
Our Mia dress is the most famous one, it is very long and feminine, and really easy to wear, it’s really comfortable; It has a very typical Fabienne Chapot silhouette.
What advice would you give to people who want to launch into the world of design with their brand and want to take part in Who’s Next to gain visibility?
It is actually our first time here as we are hoping to venture into the French market! We just had a pop up store at Galeries Lafayette and we have started to work with an agent. But I would say just stay always stay true to yourself.
How not to go unnoticed today?
It’s very much linked to what I said before, stay true to yourself and don’t pay too much attention to other people, never copy their ideas and ensure you have an exclusivity within your designs. Make sure you stand out, and ask yourself why the customer should want to buy your brand instead of the one next door?
So, find your signature look and stick to it.
Here at Who’s Next, for example, we chose to have very quirky furniture, because when you pass-by a stand you should be able to see the “full story” and understand it immediately. Everything has to come together logically and be coherent with your brand DNA.
Tell us about your experience at Who’s Next.
It’s only been a day, but I can already say that one thing I love is that buyers actually place orders here. I like the atmosphere of making business on the spot, it has a good energy. We have also seen some very high-quality retailers. So far, I really like it.
A memory or an anecdote from Who’s Next?
I am impressed with the buyers here, especially a French one called “29” based in Saint Malo, they were very nice. She placed an order with us and so we are very happy, and I feel that we are starting our journey into the French market with some of the best stores in France.
Upcoming projects ?
To expand into the French market! I need to learn how to speak French! Right now, we have 4 stores in Holland and Antwerp. In October, we are opening another store in Rotterdam in a lovely street, which is a big step for us! We also want to constantly be evolving our brand and we want to gain a better understanding of our customers so we can continue to make even better collections.