When Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief founded Ba&sh, they knew they wanted to create a brand catering to modern women everywhere, but with a distinctly French flair.
“Thanks to the diversity of our founders, the audience is very diverse,” said Sarah Benady, the brand’s CEO of North America. “You can see it in our collection. We have outfits for the business side of things, occasion and dressy outfits, and very feminine looks, too. So the audience is very diverse, and I think that’s the strength of the brand. It’s a feminine woman that wants to be easily dressed, with one piece that can make her entire outfit — one jumpsuit, one dress. And it’s an active woman who may live a lot of different lives in the same day.”
On this week’s episode of The Glossy Podcast, Hilary Milnes sits down with Benady to discuss how the brand caters to both French and American consumers, uses unique offerings to build connections with customers, and fosters the perfect brand-investor partnership. Edited highlights below.
The differences between French and American consumers
“People [in the U.S.] expect more promotions, where in France, it is regulated by law, so you have to start your promotions in the first weeks of January and July, for eight weeks, and after that, you’re not allowed to have any promos in your store. It’s really different, because when those sales start, it’s a real event, and customers are waiting for that. Whereas in the U.S., that is absolutely not the case. Everyone expects you to be on promotion all the time, so we really had to educate our customer on the way we do promotions and make it fair for the brand, because we consider our price point to be very fair. We’ve been really lucky in that our customers have reacted very well to that, but it’s definitely different. There’s also the styling component. We noticed that in our U.S. retail stores, our customer loved when we made an entire outfit for them and were generally more open to being styled. In our French store — I don’t know if it’s because the clients have known the brand for years and know exactly what they want, but there is less opportunity for our salespeople to style the customer.”
Finding unique ways to build relationships
“We opened our first experimental store in New York, and we wanted to use that store a bit like a lab, and to get to know our customers better. There, we offer our customers the opportunity to learn French. We have a kids play area in the store for the moms that come with their children, so they can relax when they’re trying on our clothes. We offered one of our customers the opportunity to organize their baby shower — we saw that she was pregnant, and she just wanted to host her friends right in the store. And we we’ve been contacted by one of our best customers to organize her bachelorette party in the store. It’s been amazing. We try to have real relationships and events with our customers.”
Creating the perfect investor partnership
“We are very lucky, because since the investment from L Capital, they’ve merged with Catterton, which is a big, private American equity fund. Now, we have the chance to have ownership from the best of luxury in France and a very strong VC in the U.S. It’s been amazing for us, because not only is this a financial support, but it’s also a group of people you can reach out to for advice — for example, if you’re about to sign your first lease in the U.S. and you want a second legal opinion on what you’re about to do. This is a group of people that are here to make sure you’re making the right decision.”