3 questions for Gaelle Drevet
The Frankie Shop founder
The Frankie Shop founder reviews the keys to her label’s success: a clearly defined style, ecommerce, boutiques in New York and Paris … Let’s take a closer look at her unique growth strategy.
What’s the story behind The Frankie Shop?
I’m a Franco-American, and for 25 years I lived in New York. At the end of 2014 I opened The Frankie Shop, a concept store in the Lower East Side, with exclusive brands – often from young designers – at reasonable prices. I had a background in fashion and I already had a boutique, but I needed a new project. Encouraged by my circle, the influencer boom, and journalists, and despite my reluctance, I responded pretty quickly and opened the eshop on Thanksgiving Day 2015. The wardrobe I presented online, like in the New York boutique, has always been the same, with a very personal attitude that’s elegant, minimal, and androgynous. It’s an easy-to-adopt workwear for every day. Very quickly, it was a success.
For personal reasons, I came to live in Paris in 2017, and I immediately decided to open a boutique.
I chose a little house at 14 rue Saint-Claude in the 3rd arrondissement. There was a ground floor sales space with all the fashion and lifestyle collections and offices on the floor above. We did everything ourselves there, even the photo shoots happened in the street. We were a small team and very in touch with what was happening in the real world. Undoubtedly, it was this very approachable style that worked so well, and still does today. The Frankie Shop’s style and aesthetics stood out very quickly; from the beginning we showed how to put pieces from our store together and helped women imagine themselves wearing our clothes. Our models were also easy to identify with. That’s how The Frankie Shop became a kind of secret address that people only told their friends about. This word of mouth was central to our growth and renown. Since then, of course, we’ve grown. We opened a second boutique at 7 rue Saint-Claude, in front of the first one. But the philosophy is still the same, and our community is always just as supportive. For example, we have 1.1 million followers on Instagram, and that figure continues to grow.
The Frankie Shop has locations in France and in the United States. Is the offer different for each market?
My idea is to have the same products for the French and American markets. Our stores are in two international cities, and they attract a local clientele as well as many foreigners. People come to us for our oversize, mix and match looks, like the ones you see on social media. And those looks are the same in Paris and New York. There’s no difference.
How do you define your growth?
Like I explained, our success is closely tied to word of mouth. I think our growth is totally organic, and it’s also dynamic. Everything moves really fast at The Frankie Shop. That’s why I started the American website at the beginning of the New York adventure. I quickly understood, however, that the shipping costs for Europeans were much too high. So I opened a European site in 2017. A few weeks later, our collection was available on Net-à-Porter, and it was great. That collaboration with the leading ecommerce luxury site was a way to establish contact with a different clientele.
In 2022 I started the men’s line, which was a natural progression of my work, since our shapes have always been very gender fluid. The first Parisian boutique dates from 2017, and then there was the addition of the space on the other side of rue Saint-Claude, which required some reorganising. We decided to present the lifestyle, men’s, and unisex collections in the landmark boutique and put womenswear at 7 rue Saint-Claude. Right now, our very first boutique in New York is closed for renovations, but it will reopen in the next few weeks. And we’re also going to open a new space in Soho. Ecommerce is a central part of our business, but the boutiques are essential. They’ve become destinations. That’s why I’m also thinking about a slightly different concept for our new New York address. I want a space that’s more events oriented with more services.
And I want to do it and stay true to our DNA: an on-trend wardrobe that’s recognizable but not too expensive. T-shirts at €10 are not normal, but T-shirts at €120 are also not possible, even if they’re eco-friendly. A responsible attitude is at the foundation of my choices, whether it’s in the selection of the designers that account for 50% of our product offer or in our own collections, which represent the other 50%. I’ve always prioritized long-lasting style with pieces that have been part of our collections for years. Best sellers like the Bea blazer and the Eva T with shoulder pads are icons that we never put on sale. I believe fashion should not be throw-away. We also have the responsibility of reducing our environmental impact. Our Lui shirts have been GOTS certified since the beginning of the year. And though we still work with some partners in South Korea, we are bringing all our production lines closer to our points of sale. And, of course, there are many other projects: the 2023 opening of a London boutique and the creation of a children’s line that I’ve started to test.