The technological revolution has united the world in many different ways, e-commerce is one of them. While the big players like Amazon or Alibaba are way ahead of the game, it’s never too late to make the shift from the high streets to the internet. In fact, any brand with a simple product offering can rise to the top of the global recognition, with some simple crossborder ecommerce strategies.
This is what brands like Monsieur TSHIRT and Coton Doux did, with splendid success. These two French brands came up with a unique product offering to compete with the prestigious leading brands. Yet, they reached to their planned trajectory of success way before expectations with a French presence in the case of Monsieur TSHIRT, and a cross-border one for Coton Doux. These love stories from France are good examples of making a dream come true in the national and global scale, without really having to spend a fortune in traditional stores, distributors’ commissions and other such middlemen fees.
Monsieur TSHIRT: Making French people laugh with their collection of T-shirts.
In 2013, Arnaud Péré, then a marketing graduate studying management, founded his own T-shirt brand with his brother and a friend. They had only 7600 euros, and half a year to experiment with the viability of their project. At the beginning, they were planning to resell T-shirts made by other manufacturers. In the next two years, the startup has gone through several souls-searching stages before settling on a clear strategy.
In 2015, the brand launched two new websites – Monsieur TSHIRT and Madame TSHIRT, for a closer his-and-hers approach with their customers. By that time, they had taken control of all aspects of their vision – in-house designing, manufacturing and distributing the T-shirts. They were offering online a collection of humorous T-shirts for the French people and customizing them in France with 100% organic cotton. Over the next three years, the e-commerce continued to grow in full pace, while they also opened a few pop-up shops, and allowed other stores to sell their products.
By 2018, they have reached their preliminary threshold of 1 million customers, and also started offering products such as boxers, sweatshirts, customized T-shirts, etc. The brand still hasn’t reached to the global market, with their need to make people laugh being an obstacle, though temporarily. They certainly have the tools and the e-commerce experience to do that, when they sort out their international “laughing” strategy and when they are satisfied with their national market share.
Coton Doux: A success story that became a global behemoth with cross-border shipping.
Around 20-years before Monsieur TSHIRT was established, Hassan with his brother Kamel Mennour established his shirt brand Coton Doux. Initially known as Citron Doux in 1994, the brand had a unique vision of combining contemporary art with fashion.
Over the next few years, the company collaborated with many of their artist friends to offer an audacious collection of shirts for both men and women. Their range of products was slowly, but surely creating a buzz among the young consumers – for its quality of the fabric and its originality of the designs. The company saw a massive upturn in fortune in 1998, when Olivier Pacaud, now a colleague, came up with a plan to export their products overseas. Within 2 years, they had created a website, settled on a strategy, and included other products such as cotton boxers and socks in their product line, and started making fashion products for children. The final digitization and the optimization of the logistics was done in 2000, when another new partner joined the team.
Despite being a relatively old brand, Coton Doux had the vision to embrace the internet future. They didn’t hesitate to jump on the bandwagon, and they’re now reaping the benefits of their bravery. In addition to their website, Coton Doux now operates 12 brand shops across France including multiple stores in Paris. They also have a great team of graphic designers and partners.
From a small-sized business enterprise to big-scale success.
Monsieur TSHIRT and Coton Doux owe it to fashion e-commerce, national and cross-border respectively.
Despite being two different companies of two different eras, the success stories of Monsieur TSHIRT and Coton Doux have one thing in common. They have invested in the e-commerce and used it to take their products to their target consumers.
The French market is filled with many designer brands with multi-billionaires’ backing. Therefore, competing with them for the same consumers seems like a recipe destined to fail. For both of these companies, just offering different and qualitative collections of T-shirts or shirts wasn’t enough, they also needed to embrace a better distribution system, and the one offered by technology proved to be the right one.
For Coton Doux, the business was boosted even further when they decided to export their products to the global markets. Luckily, they also found a great supporter in the shape of the editor of InStyle magazine, who provided them with the exposure needed to enter the USA. Currently, they offer free and fast delivery of their products to 198 countries around the world.
Monsieur TSHIRT, on the other hand started when e-commerce was booming at a faster pace than anything else. However, they weren’t discouraged by the already established e-commerce marketplaces, rather embraced them. They credit a combination of their web activities – through the marketplaces but also their own e-commerce, their social networks, their online customer service, etc. as the catalyst for their national successes.
So, is it too late to write new fashion e-commerce and cross-border Love Stories?
Judging by the successes of these two companies, who began their journey in two different eras, it is safe to say that it’s never too late to start your own personal journey in e-commerce, national or cross-border. In fact, it is the perfect time for the beginners.
With more nations encouraging their entrepreneurs to embrace international e-commerce, and a larger and larger array of tools at your service for a little cost, it’s never been as easy to start your own international or national online business.