∙ 1833 words ∙ 9 min read ∙
LesBernadettes: to two Frenchies in Morocco…
Before “LesBernadettes” adventure started, Marion and Glawdys were used to work together.
They met each other in Morocco. Glawdys was in charge of Strategy and marketing development for the opening of Resort hotel, Casino & Spa. At that time, she needed the skills of an outstanding event agency. And this great event agency was managed by Marion.
Together, they organized more than 50 events, from 50 to 2000 attendees. 50 events which the master words were “exceptional,” outstanding, and “never seen.” Of course, when you manage huge events like this, with incredible demands and a culture you need to adapt yourself to, it creates strong relationships. As a matter of fact, Marion and Glawdys became excellent friends.
From time to time, the girls were used to spend their holidays in Hossegor near Biarritz, at Glawdys’s familial place. The subject of opening a pop-up store always popped-up when they were going there. In fact, Marion and Glawdys were wearing this cute, boho-chic clothes and accessories from the last Marrakech concept store. Their friends were always demanding and wanted to wear those rare finds from Morocco. Therefore the idea of LesBernadettes was emerging little by little…
… To two Moroccan’s child in Biarritz
After lengthy discussions and time of wondering, Glawdys came back to Biarritz three year ago. A couple of months after, Marion worked on the concept of their future store. The Bernadette created a brilliant and complete book. Indeed, Marion defined the brands she wanted to work with, which she already knew because there are Morocco’s friends. All the propositions she wrote fit in a very creative and coherent universe.
Convinced, the girls both started this new exciting project. First, a study confirmed that their plan was realizable. Then, it was time to define which city they wanted to move in.
In the beginning, they were thinking about Hossegor, a well-known place to surf, especially in summer. However, since they wanted to run the business for the whole year, they decided to move to Biarritz. It was fair enough, after Morocco, the girls wanted to keep their quality of life, no way to come back to France in a stressful urban area; Biarritz was a good compromise.
The next, and huge, step, was to find the perfect spot in Biarritz. According to Glawdys, the location is the most important thing you need to focus on when you want to open your business.
“In our case, we created the shop. We created a new living area, located at a very nice crossroad. Indeed, we are located at the very beginning of Biarritz’s hyper-center, next to the parking slots and most importantly next to the “Les Halles” which is the most dynamic quarter. You have the markets in the mornings and the “apéros” at evenings (and sometimes in the shop…).”
LesBernadettes opened its door on the 1st of July 2016.
Who is Bernadette?
Good question, it was the first one I asked them actually. When our business owners were working together in Marrakech, they were used to call themselves “Hey, Bernadette.”
You need to know that, in France, we like to call our friends with this kind of very old-fashioned names.
“When we were developing our project, we put “LesBernadettes” as a placeholder, so we did not need to think about it now. But instead of changing it later, we get used to it, and it stayed in the right place.
Now, every girl who is joining our tribe is called a Bernadette, because she is carrying the values of our brand.
Along with our Bernadettes, there is Marion’s mother, interior decorator living in Marrakech for twenty years. And another Marion, who is one of our creative designer based near Biarritz.”
Like every entrepreneur at the beginning, Marion and Glawdys had some doubts. Indeed, they never learned how to manage a store. Therefore, they force themselves not to burn any steps. They want to discover all the aspects of running a shop little by little.
It is the same regarding their communication, LesBernadettes managed it by themselves. For the opening, they did a lot of Press Relations to develop the notoriety faster.
“But, nowadays, we are not so active on social media, we are conscious that we need to improve it, but we had other priorities in the meantime. We are taking our time and prepare ourselves, it is essential for us.”
Complementarity is key
Marion and Glawdys’s complementarity is simple: Marion is working in the front, Glawdys is working in the back. One focuses more on the visual and the atmosphere of a new product, the other one is wondering if this new product will bring some new business.
“This balance is perfect because we always need to communicate and wonder ourselves if we take the right decisions. We never stay in our comfort zone.”
Therefore, Marion is always in the sourcing phase, listening to the trends both on the Internet & social media, and on the trade fairs. She is according a lot of importance to the visuals and lifestyle coherence of the concept store when she is selecting the products. She is building up the atmosphere, the universe of the brand.
Working with a partner can bring some tensions. For Marion and Glawdys, these tensions are totally fine and necessary. Like a couple, they need to communicate with each other, and that kind of conversations makes them go forward, they are essential to learning.
However, the girls also organized their following role since the beginning, Glawdys explains:
“Most importantly, the best thing to do when you are associated with someone is to define your territories and field of action since the beginning. As a result, each one takes its own responsibilities.
If Marion wants to work with a new supplier because the products fit our brand’s DNA, I follow and trust her, and I know that she will assume her responsibility.”
Before the opening of their concept store, LesBernadettes get closed to a lot of organisms that help people to create a company.
A good example is the one of LesBernadettes ‘s e-shop. The girls looked for a lot of information during two months to master the technics behind a website. Then, they were able to write a complete technical specification that she submitted to a digital professional, so he could correct it. As a result, she was able to send it to some webmasters and select the right freelancer according to her needs and desires.
Each time the girls have doubt on their respective field of action, they are always looking for advice from experts and professionals. Exchange makes you go forward.
In France, they were able to receive help from the CCI* on the national scale, some small organisms at a smaller scale (the Tec-Ge-Coop), and most significant meetings with professionals via discussion forums.
“The most appropriated method for this type of project is to source a maximum of information. Multiplicate the people who will give you precious advice (expert accountant, CCI’s represents, business owners). You will never have the same opinion because it depends on the experiences from each other. Therefore you will master different topics that will help you to start on your own, and fulfill your individual needs. Alone, it does not work.
Be always in exchange, be open-minded, don’t hesitate to test your project around you as soon as it is ready and protected. Talk about it to challenge yourself. When you have the sincere desire to undertake something, you have convictions: even though you affirm them, also though you confirmed them.”
Boho-chic & Rock inspirations
When it comes to the selection of the products, you need to talk with Marion. Boho-chic & Rock inspirations, the pieces need to speak to her and to fit with the overall style of the shop.
“The origin or the way it was made does not bother me. The most important thing is that there is a story behind the products. We need a story to tell our customers. If there is no connection with the creator, it does not make sense for me.
The other important thing is that we do not want industrial quantities, we want to create the rarity.”
Even when they create their own products, LesBernadettes do not produce in significant quantities to be able to renew the shop whenever they want.
Thanks to Marion’s mother discoveries in Marrakech, that she shared every day during what’s up calls, they are able to innovate and bring a fresh wave of new pieces very often.
So, what kind of products can you find in LesBernadettes? Marion’s big summer crush is a brand called Karma Koma. A brand developed in Corsica and hand-made in Bali.
“I don’t regret my partnership with this brand, the dresses are hyper-feminine, they are the specialist of naked back clothes. On top of that, the suits fit every kind of morphologies. Karma Koma fits perfectly with our universe.
I discovered this brand when we opened the shop. Since then, we never stopped working together, because this is the kind of stories we want to share in our shop. We built a solid relationship, we are talking together every week.”
Regarding the home decorations, LesBernadettes are working with a creator named Ludovic Petit. His brand “LUP31”, based in Marrakech, is offering incredibly beautiful light fixtures. He and our business owners are working really carefully and in a transparent way. Indeed, they are able to talk about the design, to give feedback, and bring some inspiration to involve the products lines together.
What can we wish for our favorite Bernadettes? For the moment, the girls are developing their e-shop, it is already a big step.
In parallel, they have a lot of work to prepare for the B2B market, since they detected tremendous opportunities there.
“Our third Bernadette based in Marrakech was also a freelance journalist for the Franco-Morocco Press. Therefore, she is at the very source of the trends and the information. She shares with us a lot of information about the market, what is happening there.
This is how we know in which suppliers in Marrakech the professionals are going to. We know how much they pay, the quality of the products they buy, we know their behavior, we know everything.
All these elements make us able to anticipate the needs, and we know what to do in a better way. We are able to work directly with the suppliers as well, without intermediary, this is our biggest strength.”
All these green points pushed the girls to step into the B2B market, full of promises.
To be honest, this kind of concept store fits entirely with my style. Therefore, I brought a little souvenir from this colorful and inspiring concept store. For 29€, I get those sweet earrings, created by the brand AMA bijoux. All creations are handmade in Biarritz, and the jewels are composed of semi-precious stones.
If you want to know more about LesBernadettes, please have a look at their Facebook Page and their Instagram. You too, get some Boho-chic inspiration!
13 Avenue du Maréchal Foch,
64200 Biarritz, France
Monday: 15:00 – 19h30
Tue. – Sat.: 10:00–13:00, 15:00–20:00
*CCI is the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry that helps entrepreneurs to develop their business.