The pitch / The men’s fashion blog BonneGueule is also celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017. Its co-founders, Benoit Wojtenka and Geoffrey Bruyère, caught the e-commerce virus when launching their first e-book; then, they created their e-store before launching into retail. In 2017, BonneGueule has 3 stores and forecasts an annual turnover of €3 million, half of which comes from e-commerce.
Now / BonneGueule CEO and co-founder
BonneGueule’s curious journey
The BonneGueule adventure began in 2007 with a men’s fashion blog. Benoit Wojtenka and I created it to raise awareness among the sector to the “world of tomorrow” by reconciling men and clothing, and by offering quality, useful information to become a more educated consumer that is more aware of the implications of his consumer choices. In 2011, we launched an e-book, which worked well: for the first time, BonneGueule became a company. We started selling clothes in collaboration with other brands in a very artisanal way, with PayPal buttons integrated in an amateurish way, but we were very quickly confronted with volume management. In February 2014, while we were launching our own brand, we took the leap and contacted Axome to create an e-shop.
“Axome took us for crazy people (a little bit)”
Our stance was to have our own brand, but without a collection or special sales. And we wanted to stick to 3 products: a tee-shirt, a shirt, and a pair of jeans, but we had a very precise idea of the way we wanted to sell these 3 products! For this, we needed rather complex features, that’s why we kept Wordpress for the blog, and we called on the agency Axome for a PrestaShop at €20,000 (for 3 products...): they thought we were crazy but deep down, they believed in us!
We learned about e-commerce with PrestaShop and Axome, who supported us in an extraordinary way by really listening to us: in the beginning, we had very functional specifications to manage the connections workload, then we had more and more needs, expanded our catalog, wanted precise features, for which PrestaShop never held us back. Axome developed them by combining existing modules with custom code. Today, the BonneGueule e-shop is in line with our image and continues to support each step of our start-up’s growth.
How we customized our e-store
- Product page format: The first stance was to build pages that are very different from that which is commonly found (product description, size, maintenance, etc.). We opted for long formats: sales pages with 1,500 words enriched with videos, animations, pictures, gifs, etc. This simple format allowed us to achieve a very personal look.
- Logistics message: We connected a back office tool (FastMag) to PrestaShop, so as to add new features with this technical base. For example, for certain orders, a message is displayed on our logistics platform: “Careful, new customer, put a booklet in the parcel”.
- Web2Store: We also wanted the tool to interface with our back office and a very big database to allow the e-shopper to see availability product by product and size by size in each of our 3 stores, in real time.
- Order and retrieve in-store within the hour: Our base technology also lets us offer click & collect in record time for a store of our size: 10 minutes.
We were especially surprised by the how PrestaShop handled the increased load: we can receive 1,000 visits simultaneously without the site slowing down, even though we have created many complex custom features. Its ability to be well indexed in Google was also a good surprise.
Growth and international
BonneGueule is very French: 93% of our sales are in metropolitan France for two main reasons: 1. BonneGueule was initially a blog, and even on the e-shop we decided to base ourselves on a lot of text - in French; 2. fashion and buying behavior is very cultural and can vary enormously depending on the country.
Given that all of our production is in-house (from production to physical stores) and that we are at once a media, a community, and a brand...we did not want to add complexity or go too fast; we were concentrated on our first marketing, beginning with retail. But we will soon be launching our first versions in English then in German.
What I want for PrestaShop
There is something very reassuring about PrestaShop (since we base all of our e-commerce on their platform!), it’s that due to choosing open-source technology, many agencies and developers of an excellent level master the tool: the tool’s sustainability exceeds the company’s. This saves us from thinking about many questions related to risks and the availability of know-how in development or integration...
Since it listens to its community, PrestaShop has made the right market decisions, it offers a real solution for growing sellers who are exceeding or have already exceeding the symbolic threshold of one million euros, which is often a difficult stage for e-sellers. I think that their coming versions will be very interesting for growing sellers like ourselves.
For its 10th anniversary, I hope that PrestaShop will continue to develop an even richer ecosystem by betting on the innovation of its partners, to offer even more possibilities to develop the tool and sales.