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Article - Fashion Mag

Swann & Oscar explores the made-to-measure at low prices

Treating yourself to a high quality, bespoke shirt can quickly turn into an expensive exercise. Starting on that assumption, and seeking to “making an offer, that had been confined to a niche market, more accessible to everyone,” Vincent Colin and Thibault de Drouas created Swann & Oscar, the name referencing the two literary figures of Charles Swann and Oscar Wilde. Launched in 2008, the brand opened the doors of its first showroom at 19 rue d’Anjou in Paris’s Eighth Arrondissement a few months ago.

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Covering an area of thirty square metres, this “cosy and comfortable” location allows customers to view the range of three hundred styles of cloth (the most distinctive being Italian or English) and to choose collars, cuffs, and cufflinks – and to create the shirt of their dreams, at prices ranging from 69 to 169 euro.>

When bringing their idea to life, the founders of Swann & Oscar were aiming to sell 150 shirts per month. That goal was met, because by the end of the year the label “should achieve its goals, despite the economic crisis that has tightened the market, with the launch of the showroom playing a big part,” notes Vincent Colin. Revenue has increased to 150,000 euro, with 25% coming from the new showroom and 25% from the office service.

In effect, Swann & Oscar can visit its customers at their offices, provided that they’re based in Paris. “A much more dynamic customer acquisition tool than the website,” which is located at www.swannandoscar.com and which, with its careful design and implementation, nonetheless generates the bulk of the brand’s sales. On the web, 60% of sales come from outside Paris. Over time, Swann & Oscar expects to maintain its high quality standards with comparably low prices, which is another reason why the website remains a preferred tool. “We’re not looking at opening stores all over Paris,” Vincent confirms – because when people mention new points of sale, they also mean new cost structures and greater overheads. However, to increase the loyalty of 650 existing customers, which is one of the brand’s key goals, Swann & Oscar needs to retain its attractive pricing. Only available in French for the moment, the virtual shop window, which attracts customers from all over the world, has plans to launch an English-language version. During 2009, Swann & Oscar expects to double its revenue – an increase which should be supported by the launch of a women’s range, which is currently in its test phase.

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