Anastasia Vasilkova, Choupette: awaiting European response
Choupette®, a domestic brand, is well known to the Russian customers and also to the children and their parents in the US, Switzerland, and even in the UAE. The company is steadily making itself at home in new markets keeping strong positions in the national market at the same time. Anastasia Vasilkova, Choupette Business Development Director, told us about the plans of the brand and about their participation in the exhibition.
Anastasia, will you please tell us what has Choupette Company brought to the CJF – Child and Junior Fashion exhibition?
“This season we present three new collections of autumn-winter 2018/2019: Antiprincess and Magic of Light for girls and Walk around the Moon for boys. Their names speak for themselves. For the first time we have enlarged our size range up to 152 cm and divided the collections into three groups according to the age. Our partners duly appreciated the line-up of our down-padded items: natural down fashionable coats with detachable toys for little children, bright trendy-colored items for teenagers. Besides, we have brought our traditional product range: dresses for little children and a new line-up of baby nests for new-born babies, and, of course, elegant party dresses for special occasions and New Year parties.”
This year, for the first time, we can see a New Year shoe capsule. Who is its manufacturer?
“Yes, indeed. We have had a test period, and it satisfied our expectations. Now this capsule has become a noticeable addition to the elegant product range. We produce it in cooperation with an experienced and good quality Russian manufacturer. We provide design, and they do manufacturing.”
Year after year, both in spring and in autumn, you come to the exhibition with a rather small stand. Is it your company’s strategic decision?
“We have made a strategic decision to have a small stand at the outset. Now we are thinking whether to keep that strategy or change it since the product range has been significantly enlarged. We did a very good job at the autumn edition this year. I am absolutely sure that it is a must to be present at the CJF – Child and Junior Fashion exhibition, and we’d better do it every season if possible, since we operate in this market. So we participate in the exhibition twice a year no matter that we have collected our good customer pool. If a company does not exhibit, it can cause a suspicion whether all is well with its business.
“We know almost everyone here; however, it is necessary to get a feeling of the mood in the market, listen to the buyers, get a feedback from the market in order to keep the business moving in the right direction. It is impossible to do it at the office. The commercial return could have been better if the exhibition were shifted to the beginning of September. As a rule, all the season products appear in the shops’ shelves by the end of September. CJF – Child and Junior Fashion for a long time has been an independent and ambitious project which can maneuver in its market and appoint the calendar dates which are important for the industry.”
Would you please tell about development plans of the company? Are you going to introduce new product categories, for example?
“We are already a full range manufacturer, we can hardly add something. However, we are considering some extra product range which is important for retail to increase average purchase amount, the sales index. I mean accessories, panty hose, and socks. This year we have introduced thermal underwear and enlarged the product range of underwear.”
You are actively searching for new retail sales opportunities entering the markets of new countries. Recently you have supplied your products to Dubai. How is it going out there?
“The test period in Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping center, is over now. There we opened a corner in a multi brand boutique. Everyone, including the owners of the shop, confirm the project is successful. We have made three deliveries of our products there recently, and at present we are negotiating to enforce our presence in Dubai Mall. I’ll not tell you the format we are discussing at present, I wouldn’t like to get so far ahead; however, I think that we’ll be able to inform you about it in spring.”
How many shops in Russia have you got by now?
“We have more than 100 brand shops in Russia and neighboring countries. This year we have already opened 12 new retail outlets, and we are planning to open two more stores very soon. I think the result is not bad for such a year with all economic perturbations.”
How is the sales business in the retail chain?
“We summarize the sales results in the end of the year; however, we have intermediate results for the spring-summer season. I can tell you that the general traffic in the retail chain has decreased, but at the same time, the sales value has increased by about five percent. It means that other indicators have increased, for example, the average purchase receipt amount. This is an illustration of good job of our sales staff. And, of course, this is because of the experience of our partners and the instruments that we provide them with.”