Blanc des Vosges‘ history begins as early as 1843. The family-run French business manufactures large ranges of high-quality home linens and stylish interior design collections. Today the company sells its products in more than 1,500 stores all over the world.
Using its local traditions for its global growth …
Blanc des Vosges’ approach is unique within the sector: on the one hand, the linens are still produced at Gérardmer where the company was originally founded. This 100% Made in France is a factor that customers appreciate a lot. On the other hand, Blanc des Vosges uses all the possibilities that the Internet and a globalized world have to offer to promote its products. Gradually, it started exporting to different European countries before expanding to Asia and the Middle East.
Since 2000 the company’s revenues multiplied by 5, reaching 15 million euros. One of the main reasons for this development was that Blanc des Vosges increased the focus towards export a few years ago. Before 2008, its products were almost entirely sold in France –today export makes up 20% of the company’s sales.
… adapting to each target market’s dynamics.
How did the company succeed in increasing its cross-border trade so fast? It developed a well-thought-out plan and committed entirely to it! Not only did it recruit professionals to develop products specifically adapted for local markets and with descriptions in several languages, but it also had some team members travelling to the target market to learn more about it.
This strategy has been extremely profitable as it helped adapt products to the local needs in any region around the world.
International success also depends on adapting the export plan to the local market.
In Europe the approach was very similar to the one in France, but additional actions were needed. For example, as the distribution in Italy is less centralized, Blanc des Vosges had to hire a special agent just for the Italian market. For the Middle East, the company partnered with distributors as the brand’s channel to supply their products to the consumers. And when it comes to South East Asia, China represents the brand’s future target market.
After several years studying the Chinese market, Blanc des Vosges signed a contract with the big retailer SOGO in Hong Kong and created a joint venture with an importer based in Shanghai which should lead to the opening of another 50 stores. With many of its top-level managers now based in Hong Kong, it is clear that Blanc des Vosges focuses on conquering the Chinese market. This plan, combined with a multi-channel strategy, which includes a Chinese website, specific press releases and local social networks, has a high potential of success and it is expected to double Blanc des Vosges’ export share, up to 40% in the near future.
A project worth watching!