24 Sèvres, launching today, brings Parisian style to the world
Today, after three months of testing with friends and family, we are opening 24 Sèvres to the public at http://www.24Sevres.com and the 24 Sèvres iOS app. 24 Sèvres is a fashion boutique extending the world’s first department store, Paris’ Le Bon Marché, to anyone with an Internet connection in more than 70 countries around the world, any time of day or night.
When I joined LVMH in October 2015 24 Sèvres was an idea introduced to me by Alexandre Arnault with a code name and one employee, Eric Goguey, formerly leading e-commerce for Sephora Europe. Today 24 Sèvres is a living and breathing startup in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, home to world-class in-house software engineers, fashion buyers, a creative studio, marketing team, customer service staff, and more.
Here on 24 Sèvres’ launch day I’d like to extend gratitude and credit to Eric and the 24 Sèvres team:
Thank you! Not only did you build a product you built a team, a startup in Paris, in secret, heads down and focused. 24 Sèvres’ initial version is beautiful and in my experience testing and demoing over the past few months incredibly well-coded and stable end-to-end, from browsing and simple ordering on mobile, to receiving my beautiful package. You clearly took pride in your software craft the way other LVMH craftspeople take in their respective métiers. I salute you!
Dear reader, please show the 24 Sèvres team your support by downloading their app from the Apple App Store:
or visiting them at http://www.24Sevres.com and make a purchase if you’re so inclined… and tell a friend…
In case you’re wondering what’s special about 24 Sèvres, let me give you the highlights:
#1 UNIQUE SELECTION
I distinctly remember a picture of the world’s first department store in my Indiana high school French text, a photo of a giant and beautiful building called Le Bon Marché, located at 24 Rue de Sèvres in Paris, France. In 1852 Le Bon Marché invented the concept of department store, putting multiple brands together in a single showroom allowing the customer to browse, dream, and be inspired by the products on display. Later they would pioneer doing this via a paper catalog for people who couldn’t make it to their showroom; they invented e-commerce, conceptually, in the late 1800s.
Today I live in Paris, a ten minute walk from Le Bon Marché. I’m a member of their 24 Sèvres loyalty program. In the past year and a half I’ve bought cashmere sweaters, shoes, jeans, sweatshirts and socks, soaps and hand cremes, a mechanical swiss-made watch, and a raincoat for Paris winter. I’ve purchased notebooks and pens, and books to read in both French and English. I’ve bought games, Legos, a stuffed panda and alligator, and a beautiful dress to wear to Christmas dinner for our daughter, Lucinda. But Le Bon Marché is much more than just a department store; attached via tunnel and walkway is La Grande Epicerie, a massive grocery and collection of eateries that I describe to my American friends as a combination of Eataly and Whole Foods. In Le Bon Marché there is a cafe with delicious vegan salads who also happens to sell music books (I bought the Punk Magazine collection there) and vinyl (AC/DC bootleg vinyl Rive Gauche?!). There are “jeans ateliers” (yes, more than one) where you can have your jeans custom made and multiple places in the store where you can have all kinds of products, from shoes to bags, customised just for you by artists and craftspeople. January 2016 brought an inspiring art installation from Ai Wei Wei and this year you could walk through the centre of an installation from Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. In December Lucinda and her fifth grade friends went to Le Bon Marche to see the shows they had running during the holiday shopping season — acrobats, mimes, music — and every hour on the hour a musical alarm would sound and staff would run through the store handing balloons to kids. All this to say that if you believe what retail futurists like Doug Stephens are saying, retail’s purpose is changing, physical experiences are becoming more premium and more experiential, something you simply cannot get online, then Le Bon Marché continues to lead and innovate.
Which is incredible if you live in the neighborhood (as I do) or are visiting Paris (like thirty million people do each year) but what about the other seven billion people on the planet? How can they experience Le Bon Marché and this unique, Parisian take on fashion, lifestyle and culture? Especially when none of the leading online boutiques are based in Paris?
24 Sèvres will bring this unique spirit, selection, and style of Paris and Le Bon Marché to the world 24 hours per day every day of the year. The unique style and selection will bring Le Bon Marché to you, wherever you are in the world.
#2 BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING WINDOWS
We are excited to be launching 24 Sèvres just at the beginning of what we consider phase two of Internet e-commerce. If the first phase was about price the second phase is set to be about the total customer experience.
Why do people come to an online boutique instead of simply typing a keyword in to the search bar? We know they come (often every day) to be inspired, see what’s new and of the moment. Yet online boutiques today are still pushing « editorial + commerce » in a visual Internet era. I was inspired by meeting Faye McLeod (LVMH Visual Image Director) at Alexandre Arnault’s apartment early in the 24 Sèvres project. Looking through the book Louis Vuitton Windows which features a lot of her team’s (LVMH Visual Studio) work I was reminded that our physical stores invoke desire through beauty and creativity, not promotion. From there we started exploring how to bring this art of visual merchandising to the Web and our mobile app, and asking how we could connect our physical store windows to these virtual ones. This will evolve in the coming months and years but I am excited to see how Faye, Julien, and the team have conceptually and visually connected the merchandising of the initial 24 Sèvres capsule collection in Le Bon Marché at 24 Rue de Sèvres in Paris and online at http://www.24Sevres.com. I hope you can visit both this summer but if not please compare any page on 24 Sevrès to a similar page on your previous favorite online boutique and let us know what you think. We are proud of the difference but would love to hear your feedback.
Testing the 24 Sèvres personal shopper experience from the 24 Sèvres app
#3 EXCEPTIONAL AND HUMAN SERVICE
Fast shipping, easy returns, personal shoppers for VIPs — customer service is an arms race in luxury shopping at the moment. But how do you bring the experience you get working with a human being in store to your home? We wanted to explore the notion that great luxury customer service is more than just fast delivery so we built the first video personal shopper integrated directly in the 24 Sèvres mobile app. Simply create an account and click Personal Shopper in the My Account section of the 24 Sèvres app to be connected to a personal shopper in Paris. Worldwide access to a personal shopper in Paris would have been science fiction twenty years ago but it’s available on the most popular cell phone in the world today. This plus fast shipping to more than seventy countries worldwide and the most luxurious unboxing experience of any online shopping destination show our commitment to service which will only grow in the coming days and months.
It’s a big day for us! Thanks for sharing it with us by giving 24 Sèvres a try. Let us know what you think.
ian c rogers
Paris, June 6, 2017