Who’s gonna save Tila March?
The iconic brand, which had success with Zelig – the tote bag designed by Tamara Taichman that conquered ‘fashionistas’ around the world (such as Emma Watson and Jessica Alba) – is going through a delicate period. In receivership, the company that believed in phygital and had quickly developed exports to Japan and China, is a good example of the real difficulty to install a brand in the jostled universe of leather goods and accessories. “The association shops + e-commerce sites are no longer enough: it takes experts in digital and brand content to create attraction and desire, without stopping,” says the co-founder.
Zelig, the tote that launched everything
Everything had started well and the story is well known: Tamara Taichman, former editor of Elle and a good connoisseur of fashion designs, designed a tote bag for her own use, that aroused envy and became Zelig. She still had no brand, no business, no matter: she and her companion at the time Nicolas Berdugo, (they remain associated in business) -who formerly worked for large luxury groups- created Tila March, opened two shops & a corner in Printemps and transformed the test for more than ten years. Without much means, the bags and accessories designed by the pair made headlines and were found on the arms and shoulders of supermodels & writers (Colombe Schneck) who all declare them an unfeigned attachment. Design, innovation, prices studied, Tila March was the rising brand, done without brand or logo displayed on the products. In 2015, the company raised more than 2.2 million euros from funds (ACG Management and Extendam) and engaged its digital transformation. Was it too late or with the wrong strategy?
“There is a place for new accessible, innovative luxury brands, because the Chinese clientele, which is unavoidable, weighs and will weigh more and more heavily”, says President Nicolas Berdugo. “But to reach this clientele, everywhere in the world, you must be a firepower in real digital expertise that we may have delayed in attaching to ourselves. The growth of e-commerce is impressive and sooner or later, even platforms such as Farftech.com will have to achieve profitability”, he adds. “I really believe in the association of shops and the web as long as you have the digital team that ensures it”. It seems that some industrial concerns and unpaid distributors have caused the ship to rock from a financial point of view. While it was still profitable, the company went into the red last year and saw its turnover drop significantly. Its e-commerce site is partly insured and maintained by the company W-Shop Webpopulation Group.
In receivership, Tila March has until November 15 to find a passionate buyer who wants the brand. A digital expert would be welcome. The rest, Nicolas and Tamara still have in stock, the experience is a plus.
By Manuel Jacquinet
Nb: its e-commerce site is partly insured and maintained by the company W-Shop Web population Group, a cloud solution for retailers.