Simply, fashionably French
LIVIN' & LOVIN' - Tetta Matera () - November 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Promod is a fairly young fashion company founded in 1975 in Lille, France, by the Pollet family, who envisioned a brand that represents true French fashion all over the world. Among the French, it is an everyday lifestyle brand.

With so many fashion labels to choose from, what makes Promod different from other brands? Perrine Duprez, the new Asia area manager of Promod, says that Promod is neither a luxury nor fast-fashion label but instead a traditional French brand with a fashion-forward approach, international appeal, price and design accessibility.

Promod has an in-house design studio that creates new designs every week for the 10-million-plus clientele they have in 390 shops in 25 countries across the globe. They have at least 100 different kinds of merchandise at a time in all the stores.

That’s a tall order. How is that possible? Duprez explains that they have suppliers all over the world to serve all their clients. They have factories in Eastern Europe, North Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, China and the Philippines, including Italy and France.

“We choose our suppliers primarily for their specialty, then location. For example, our denim products are made in Italy because they are the best at that and our leather accessories are created in France because we have a long history of leather product making. Our leather clothing is manufactured in Eastern Europe because they know how leather works in cold weather and our cotton products are from Egypt as they are famous for their Egyptian cotton,” Duprez explains.

She also quite proudly adds that production is carefully monitored and controlled so Promod has close to zero percent of leftover inventory, unlike other brands with at least two percent.

“Not only does that translate to less cost for the company, it also means our clients do not wear clothes that are mass-produced.”

Impressive, I have to say. While most other brands, including luxury ones, are going the made-in-China way, Promod has kept their business model flexible and adaptable to the market without compromising their tradition of making high-quality merchandise, with a touch of exclusivity at reasonable prices. This success, in large part, can be attributed to the fact that Promod is a privately owned company run by a tight-knit family; decisions are made quickly and reaction to market demands is immediate. While many fashion companies have sold out to big conglomerates, Promod is staying private and within the Pollet family ownership.

Breaking Down Promod Fashion

When you enter a Promod store, you will be visually treated to two distinct fashion styles: the City and Leisure. In the City style section you will find office wear, daily casual wear, and party dresses. In the Leisure style area, you will find clothes for a day at the beach, a weekend getaway or overseas travel. All the stores worldwide carry the same clothes every season, but separate collections are created for particular markets on top of the usual collection. For example, in the Middle East, a special line of longer dresses is designed to celebrate Ramadan. They have more embroidery and are made with shiny and soft fabrics like satin and chiffon, just what Middle Eastern women prefer to wear to important occasions and festivities.

The sale of winter clothes in warm-weather countries like the Philippines does not seem to be an issue and does not affect sales in any way. “Locals who travel overseas tend to get their cold-weather gear at home before they leave,” Duprez shares.

Sizes are of no consequence, either, since Promod carries clothes from extra small (34) to double large (42). Their market covers a large demographic, starting from age 20, but clients in Asia tend to be older on average as compared to Europe.

Fifty percent of Promod’s business is overseas and Internet shopping is limited to Europe, with Germany as the largest online shopping market in the continent. Promod likes to keep things simple. The friendly atmosphere in the headquarters and offices is visible in the stores, even in the design; sales assistants are congenial and helpful, very natural, and always smiling. Store interiors are homogeneous and welcoming, big enough at 200 square meters (the standard size of a Promod store) to find many selections but small enough so as not to get confusing and lost in translation, so to speak. Their biggest store is in Beijing at 335 square meters and, according to Duprez, has the highest sales per square foot (SPF) ratio among all the stores in Asia, if not globally.    

Spreading Their Wings in Asia

The Promod stores in Asia and the Middle East are franchises, with one company owning the master franchise for each country. In the Philippines, Promod is owned by Vogue Concepts. Currently, China is their biggest operations in Asia, with 21 stores spread around the major cities. Promod can also be found in Singapore, Macau, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Cebu.

According to Duprez, the business in Manila has exceeded their expectations; that is why opening more stores is their top priority. Philippine business partner Vogue Concepts told her, “The Filipino clients love the fact that they are very well taken care of in the Promod stores. The store staff makes it a point to get to know the clients, their sizes, style preferences and shopping habits. The store managers call the clients when new stock arrives and reserve particular pieces they believe the clients would wear and buy. They also appreciate the unique designs, and are delighted to find products made in France, Italy, Turkey, even Hungary. For them that means Promod carries a high brand premium,” Duprez enthuses.

She was also told that clients like the fact that most of Promod’s clothes are machine-washable and easy to care for.

At the Greenbelt 5 branch their latest Nordic theme was eye-catching. The clothes have a universal appeal that caters to women of all ages, shapes and sizes.

The Party Collection, a special line of holiday wear and accessories, offers fun and versatile pieces, great options for all women looking to dress fashionably during the Christmas season without breaking the bank. This, for me and other women, sounds trés bien!  

* * *

Promod is located at Greenbelt 5, TriNoma, SM Megamall, Robinsons Midtown-Ermita, Ayala Center Cebu and SM Cebu.

AMONG THE FRENCH ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST AT THE GREENBELT AYALA CENTER CEBU CLIENTS DUPREZ EASTERN EUROPE FASHION PROMOD STORES VOGUE CONCEPTS
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