If you scroll Instagram to feed your love for women’s fashion, chances are high you’ve come across one of your favorite influencers donning a Frankie Shop item (or three), along with the #frankiegirl hashtag included proudly in the caption.
The Frankie Shopboutique in New York City’s Lower East Side has come a long way since its status as the best-kept secret of the fashion set who have flocked to the location for its on-trend yet understated, minimalist designs.Two years after opening its doors in 2014, Frankie Shop launched its e-commerce site on Thanksgiving weekend, making the brand-with-buzz available to shoppers worldwide. The Frankie Shop has also since crossed the pond with a second brick and mortar location in Paris, in founder Gaelle Drevet’s native country.
Drevet, who pivoted from journalism to fashion and whose own style is the epitome of “effortless French girl chic,” has the innate skill of carrying brands before they reach cult status (just look at labels Ganni, Walk of Shame, and current vegan leather darling Nanushka), and sourcing the items that are sure to be on every “It Girl’s” wish list – before they disappear.
Whether or not Drevet’s “limited supply” strategy is intentional or not, the sense of urgency to purchase The Frankie Shop’s coveted items reaches a fever pitch among its fans once the “back in stock” emails are sent (take it from this writer, who purchased the tops she wish-listed as soon as the “back in stock” subject line popped up in her inbox).
The truth is, having a collection with a tightly curated supply is a logical tactic: not only is it cautious, but it also allows Drevet to test customer reaction of the more “trend-curious” itemsandincreases the desirability factor once items sell out. Add the top-tier influencers and fashion tastemakers who share the Frankie Shop items they’re wearing on social media, and the Frankie Shop formula is translating to retail success for founder Drevet.
Drevet was originally a TV producer atABC News, but this isn’t her first fashion venture: she’s also the co-founder of the e-commerce site, Pixie Market. I caught up with Drevet to hear more about how she pivoted from journalism to fashion and about the method behind the Frankie Shop madness.
Karin Eldor:I love that you transitioned from former TV producer onABC News, to fashion entrepreneur. Can you tell me about your career background? Gaelle Drevet:I always loved fashion to be honest, but I always wanted to be a journalist – that was my first love. I went to journalism school in France and then I moved to New York City, did internships and started working for
ABC News. I was transferred to London for a little while, which is where I discovered the local fashion markets, like Portobello and Shoreditch. It was so inspiring then – I met so many young designers there. It wasn’t about money or social media at the time, just trying to design interesting things.
I reconnected with a friend that I had met in NYC while I was in London – she was selling her shoes there and we decided to try to produce some designs in India. So we flew to Delhi and made about four or five styles each. And that’s how it started.Eldor:
What was the breakthrough moment that led you to switch careers and launch Pixie Market in 2006?Drevet:When we got back from India, we realized it wasn’t going to be that easy to oversee production there, but we definitely thought there was a niche to fulfill with small designers. So we decided to open Pixie Market – it was very much inspired by what we had seen in London at the time.
Eldor:That’s amazing! Now moving on to Frankie Shop, which is one of the most"It" and coveted brands on Instagram today. You have successfully created a sense of urgency with your curated selection of on-trend pieces and limited supply.I’ve also noticed how you use the"back in stock" / drop tactic that creates even more urgency. And of course, your items are super on-trend and desirable. It is brilliant!
Can you share your thoughts on this? Was this your intention, from the beginning? Drevet:Frankly, Frankie Shop is a small company, so the reason you have “back in stock” to begin with is because I couldn’t afford to buy so much stock with one given style. I was taking a chance – how do you know that one product is going to be a hit, right? You don’t. You trust your gut and you go with it, but I always started small and checked if our customers liked it. Nowadays, I do get more stock but somehow I’m always careful.
Campaign image, Frankie Shop, Photo credit: Beste ZeybelPhoto credit: Beste ZeybelEldor:You have also successfully amplified the desirability of your items and the Frankie Shop brand in general, with top-tier influencers wearing key items, as well as the creation of the #frankiegirl hashtag and sense of community. Can you share your thoughts on the role that influencers have played in Frankie Shop's success?
Drevet:I always wondered whether the business women we collaborate with liked the word ‘influencers’. I guess they are that, of course, by definition, but the truth is that they are women with a very strong sense of style and that’s really the bottom line. They just know how to put clothes and accessories together in a way that is inspiring. It might not be everyone’s style, but they usually understand what Frankie is about and vice versa.
For us, it’s always been very organic from the beginning. It’s not about money, it’s about a certain aesthetic that’s aligned with what our customers and followers want to wear now. For sure, all the influencers we have been working with have helped us tremendously, making Frankie – which is a small store in the Lower East Side – a name that’s recognizable today, but it’s all about super friendly collaborations around fashion. We chat all the time, we even design together and more importantly, we love what we do.
Eldor:What is the rationale of having your two brick and mortar stores in NYC and Paris? Is it because they are each the fashion capitals in North America and Europe?Drevet:It’s not easy but it reflects my life somehow right now. More than being the fashion capitals, it’s a personal choice. I started in NYC and I had a baby in Paris, that’s why Frankie is in both places right now.
Campaign image, Frankie Shop, Photo credit: Beste ZeybelPhoto Credit: Campaign image, Frankie Shop, Photo credit: Beste ZeybelEldor:In today’s digital age, why was it important for you to also have a physical presence? Drevet:I didn’t grow up in a digital age, I guess I’m old enough to still fight for brick and mortar! I travel a lot and for me the worst has always been finding the same stores and brands everywhere, so I hope that girls will always love to walk into a store and have fun discovering and trying on clothes. That’s really what it comes down to.
Eldor:What are the three most important traits of being a successful female entrepreneur today?Drevet:This is a tough question, but to be honest it comes down to these basic principles. Be able to multitask, work hard and always believe that everything is possible, and love what you do.
Eldor:Do you have any advice for other women who are looking to launch a fashion brand? It can be an intimidating move, when retail can be such a tricky and competitive space! Drevet:Have faith. Be confident but work hard. You have to know and learn about what’s around you, what customers want, and what you think you can bring to the table.
Eldor:What’s coming up for Frankie Shop, in 2020? Any new store openings or key partnerships, for example? Drevet:First is a new warehouse based in Europe, so that we can finally help our European customers get some Frankie goodies without the crazy shipping fees, then probably more brick and mortar shops, and collaborations for sure!Read more: ForbesWomen »
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