March 09, 2018
Jean Cassegrain, CEO Longchamp
French in origin – global in outlook...iconic brand Longchamp launches an eyewear collaboration with Marchon at SILMO.
CEO Jean Cassegrain reflects on the philosophy behind the concept, and inspiration for the collection.
Q: Please tell us how the concept and collaboration evolved with Longchamp and Marchon.
A: Eyewear was the missing element to complete the silhouette of the Longchamp woman; it was a logical step for us to start this product category.
We reviewed several possibilities before we decided to partner with Marchon. Upon deciding that they would be the ideal partner we put together this licensing project, which is a long-term project to establish the brand – step-by-step in this
Q: Longchamp has always chosen unusual fabrics – including nylon for bags. Do you and Marchon intend to initiate any atypical materials in your brand?
A: Our expertise is in soft materials and so the innovation for us here is not in the materials but in the functionality. We want to create a connection between the brand, its existing product categories and our new eyewear range. It is about developing this relationship with the kind of woman wearing our eyewear, and her lifestyle.
Q: Vivacious colours are synonymous with Longchamp designs: will awe-inspiring refreshing shades and hues grace your spectacle frames as well?
A: Colour is an integral part of our DNA, so naturally, colour will be an important element of the eyewear collection as well. Our customers like colour and come to us for this vibrancy, so we will be sure to deliver a vivid collection.
\\ Longchamp LO102S
Q: Is there a special inspiration for the initial launch of your collection into the luxury eyewear marketplace?
A: My sister, Sophie Delafontaine, is the creative director and she has spent hours in meetings with Marchon to put this collection together, to infuse it with the Longchamp spirit.
The Longchamp brand is active; it is about moving around; it is about being in the city; about travelling; it is about this connection because sunglasses are also an accessory you use when you are travelling, when you are outside.
Another element of our DNA is the know-how and the quality. Our savoir-faire and expertise is in leather goods but we lend our eye to ensuring a fresh finish and quality in the details.
We are famous for our folding bags, Le Pliage®, and its functionality, practicality and playfulness are all important elements in Longchamp, and so with Marchon we have designed a pair of folding sunglasses.
Q: Nowadays, there is an exciting optimism in American/French relations. Will your eyewear designs possibly reflect American informality coupled with French cultural traditions?
A: The inspiration is French. Longchamp is totally, deeply French. And we are French, not only because we are based in Paris, but also because we are the favoured brand of the French woman. Yet we are happy to share our vision with all women around the world, and enjoy sharing this lifestyle with our customers.
Q: Briefly outline Longchamp’s marketing profile for your new eyewear customers, predicated on your established protocols for your luxury brand?
A: We started as a men’s brand back in 1948 but over the years, the lady’s products have overshadowed the men’s. Today our customer base is about 80 percent female, 20 percent male. Accordingly, for this eyewear project our target market is female.
Q: As a family business that has been most successful, what would you convey to a new generation of entrepreneurs looking for insights, inspiration, and success?
A: This family format has given us independence and the freedom to do things when we are ready. For example, for this eyewear license, we wanted to take the time to do it when we were ready. To realize this project in the way we want, we had to get substantially involved in order to make a product we believe in, and that requires time, investment, and trying to understand the business. It is our name at stake.
www.longchamp.com / www.marchon.com
\\ French savoir faire in a striking silhouette: LO604S
\\ Longchamp LO2604: timeless optical design with fresh details
Nicola Zotta, President of Marchon
President Nicola Zotta outlines his goals for Marchon Eyewear
Q: What is your primary initiative as the new President of Marchon?
A: This is a very exciting time for Marchon. We find ourselves in a particularly advantageous situation that will allow us to achieve our ambitious goals for the next decade. Besides international expansion, we have significantly upgraded our internal capabilities in brand management, trade marketing, retail and key account management.
Q: Marchon has an intriguing and diversified brand portfolio that is sold internationally. Could you please describe the Marchon customer profile?
A: Customers for Marchon’s brands are very diverse, but they have one thing in common: they are looking for quality eyewear that suits their look and wallet. Our brand portfolio is specifically structured to meet those needs – from high fashion to affordable lifestyle to advanced performance.
Q: What is the Marchon criterion for brand licensing partners?
A: We look for strong brands with a distinctive point of view that have high global brand awareness with consumers. We have organized our current brands into three segments – performance, lifestyle and fashion – and each covers a range of price points. We are actively looking to grow each of those divisions by adding meaningful brands with robust future growth potential.
Q: The latest collaboration is the iconic French brand Longchamp. Are there particular marketing strategies to promote this new association?
A: Longchamp is a very exciting addition to Marchon’s global brand portfolio. We have received fantastic feedback and praise for the new product designs from our partners and customers. We launch in Longchamp’s home market, France, and will then quickly establish a presence within Longchamp’s worldwide boutiques, leading optical and retail accounts.
Q: In the 30+ years since Marchon was created, how do you foresee the brand developing in the next few years?
A: Thirty years on and we see ourselves as being in a very powerful position. We view Marchon as a start-up within a mission-driven company that is positively impacting people’s lives. Our global teams are energetic, enthusiastic, and focused on continuing to build Marchon into a world-class organization that is trusted and admired within the industry and among consumers.