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Oct 25, 2022
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How La Fée Maraboutée, now controlled by the Capza fund, is facing the future

Translated by
Oct 25, 2022

Gaëlle Lelong, head of La Fée Maraboutée since the end of 2019, alongside Pierre-Yves Vincent-Falquet, carries the ambition to grow its network of stores, progress on the CSR front and accelerate on digital. Projects supported by the investment fund Capza, which acquired the Roanne-based fashion brand in September 2022 from Silverfleet Capital.

AW 2022/23 - La Fée Maraboutée

"We wrote a five-year plan, which was readjusted at the time of the transfer. Capza 'bought' our project, and did not change it. What they liked was our resilience during the Covid-19 phase: we held our ground and always maintained a positive Ebitda", says Gaëlle Lelong, who has previously worked for Kookaï, Morgan and Ekyog. "The company is able to finance its growth, and the fund is open to giving more investment capacity, especially to open stores.

The label, created in 1996, relies on a network of 140 stores in France, 65% of which are affiliates. It hopes to expand this network at a rate of about eight openings a year. This year, it has opened a store in Le Mans in Sarthe, Corsica, Les Sables-d'Olonne in Vendée, and has moved store in Lille from a 50 square meter space to 120 square meters.

A few days ago, a store was opened at Ateliers Gaîté, in Paris and its next location will be in Laval in Mayenne, with a store opening planned for November. "We have targeted about forty cities that could welcome the brand on the French market," she says, while also working to "develop the wholesale clientele internationally."

Gaëlle Lelong has been co-leading the brand since 2019 - DR

The digital channel has not been left out. In 2023, the company will no longer be working with The Oz, who it entrusted with its website. The brand will take over its own website and deploy the 'ship from store' service, which has been tested in some 40 stores since the beginning of the year. The internationalization of the site is also on the agenda, as platforms dedicated to the Belgian and Spanish markets are soon to be launched.

"Web sales account for 8 to 10% of our business, we can aim for 12-13%, but not necessarily more. Our brand concept is very physical. We are close to our customers, advice in the store is essential and we consider our store managers as prescribers".

La Fée Maraboutée, which is currently carrying out a carbon assessment of its activities, also says they are now offering a more responsible fashion. One third of its products are claimed to be eco-designed, and 85% of production is imported from close countries, like Turkey, Portugal or Italy. "We have tightened our standards and labeled our products, with the RCS for example since January 2022 (e.n, Recycled Claim Standard)," says the director. In addition, the company operates six second-hand corners in its stores and plans to digitalize this offer.


The brands pricing has also fluctuated. The mid-range brand (125 euros for a sweater, 150 euros for a dress, 300 euros for a coat) says it has been working on lowering its margins for three years, without cutting back on quality. "Before my arrival, there had been a sharp increase in prices, which customers had not welcomed. Nevertheless, due to the surge in raw materials and transport costs, the company has decided to increase its prices again this summer, by an average of +8%."

On the style side, the focus is on strong patterns and graphics, designed in-house. "We are targeting women over 35 and continue to gain and retain customers. It's reassuring because the style has evolved a bit. For example, some of the more youthful styles are the dress with a fitted waist, plain or patterned and the wide pants."

On the other hand, a year and a half ago, the brand created the 'La Fée Atelier' line, a wardrobe only intended for multi-brand retailers and offering exclusive prints. This allows them to differentiate themselves when some of them are located in cities where there is a brand store. The label also operates the Humility brand, created in 2015 and offering "natural materials, purer cuts and a more intellectual style."

Financially, La Fée Maraboutée expects to close 2022 with a turnover of 62 million euros, a 30% increase compared to 2021 (+10% compared to the pre-crisis reference in 2019).

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