Q&A with Anastasia Vasilkova, business development director of TM Choupette

Q&A with Anastasia Vasilkova, business development director of TM Choupette

“The brand offers very high quality, on-trend styles at a reasonable price and satisfies the demand for the new, the stylish and the unique,” says Anastasia

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Tell me about your products

Anastasia Vasilkova: Choupette’s products are for children from 0 to 12 years old and the matrix is rather wide: from baby nests, baby kits and special occasion dresses, to college uniform. We issue from 10 to 12 collections each year, and also have shoe collections, accessories and underwear. Choupette is a shop where everybody can find what they want, whether for special occasions or everyday use.

What makes these children’s fashions different?

Anastasia Vasilkova: When we design our collections we don’t look at children’s fashion trends, we look at couture and adults fashion trends. This is what makes them so appealing to children, who want to be like their parents and also their favorite fashion influencers. Choupette usually produces two different styles each season: one casual, the other for special occasions. Choupette’s sophisticated styling has proven highly popular in Russia, Italy and the Middle East, and other regions.

Tell me about the design process

Anastasia Vasilkova: Choupette has its own team of designers consisting of five people, located in Moscow. Each designer has his own area of responsibility depending on the season. We have designers specializing in summer and winter seasons, and a special occasion designer. Our Bureau has a collaboration with London Fashion Agency, from which we receive trends for two years ahead: we select ones we would like to use and adapt them to the tastes of different regions. For example, last summer we successfully launched a capsule collection for orthodox and Muslim regions.

How was the brand born and how was it developed?

Anastasia Vasilkova: The Choupette brand was born as a family business 12 years ago to satisfy a demand for stylish designer clothes for newborns from 0 to 3 years old. We reacted to market demand and expanded the range, creating stylish clothes for children up to six, then 10 and now 12 years old. The second big strategical step, in 2011, was to open a franchise program. Choupette is constantly growing and developing and looking for new directions.

Which countries do you particularly wish to expand your operations in?

Anastasia Vasilkova: Two years ago, Choupette decided to show itself to the international market and we started to participate at Pitti Bimbo (International Children’s Clothing Fair) in Florence, Italy. We had very positive feedback, which suggested the next step should be international development. Therefore, we launched our international expansion program to adapt our concept to the international market, renovating our store concept in little more than one year. Research indicated that Southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia would be promising markets. We wanted to open a store in Arabia, and so prioritized the Middle East. Last summer we had a trial in Dubai Mall, which showed us that we were right and we have been welcomed to this market. I think we will soon announce our contract with Qatar partners, and with several other countries in the Middle East.

How many locations do you have?

Anastasia Vasilkova: We have 100 locations in Russia and neighboring countries such as Abkhazia, Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and also in Switzerland and USA, particularly in Los Angeles. As you can see, we have stores in different regions and all of them are very satisfied with our partnership.

What qualities do you look for in an ideal franchisee?

Anastasia Vasilkova: An idea franchisee should be dynamic, active, ready to invest not only in the brand’s development but in himself as a franchise owner, one who is ready to develop himself as an entrepreneur.

Tell me about the type of support and mentoring you offer

Anastasia Vasilkova: One of the main features and differences of our franchise programs is the support we offer our franchise partners. We not only help them to find and open a new store in the right location, to source the right personnel and consulting, but we also support our partners within the whole period of our collaboration. We have a training tool called Choupette University – a platform, where we train and test our partners and their personnel on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We prepare all training materials and then we ask them to pass the exams. There are different study formats, from webinars and online tests, to offline seminars. We also have location training and merchandise sessions in offline and online format. Now we would like to announce a new way of supporting our partners: in August we launch a new pilot program together with our international business consultant Lynn Irons. Choupette Business Coach provides an area manager for the stores, who will manage all store processes on a daily basis.

What makes the Choupette brand a great choice for a franchisee?

Anastasia Vasilkova: Choupette is a niche brand which has already proven itself in the international market. The brand offers very high quality, on-trend styles at a reasonable price and satisfies the demand for the new, the stylish and the unique.

AT A GLANCE
Name of franchise: TM Choupette
Established: 2011
Number of franchised outlets: 101
Location of units: Russia, USA, Switzerland, Abkhazia, Armenia , Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Investment range: €100,000
URL: www.choupette.ru/en/franchise_program/
Contact: Anastasia Vasilkova +79037664544 / corp@my-choupette.ru

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