Jott (Marcel) is looking for a personality that fits his size to support his growth

“We took over the company, but it already had a history” Didier Lalans, the new general manager of Marseille brand “Just Over The Top” (Jott), talks about. The experienced director, recruited by Kering and Lacoste, took over in January 2021 following the takeover of the company by investment fund L Catterton (LVMH). Today, the brand of ultra-color down jackets has 200 stores in Europe and Asia, generates a turnover of 150 million and employs 100 people at its headquarters in Marseille.

Within three years, the ready-to-wear company hopes to double those numbers. To achieve this goal, managers are working on a strong identity and a clear position tailored to their international reach family customers.

Reversing Jott’s rise requires a return to his Marseille roots. The quilt product was conceived in 2010 by Mathieu and Nicolas Gourdikian, two cousins ​​in their twenties who fell into knitting at a very young age. Their family is the origin of the wholesale trade group “Texto”.Located in Marseille. In 2008, the cousins ​​tried to start a swimwear brand… Failed. So they travel to Asia and smell the right “nylon”: a lightweight down jacket.

Embroidered patch on Jott jackets (Credit: JYD)

The budding entrepreneurs started working after their return. The first prototypes were made in the family warehouse in Chemin Saint-Jean-du-Désert (5).e). Mathieu and Nicolas add the name« Jott» : one said to the other « you are on top! and the other always replied, “Only up!” ” (above only)a joke They write these initials in a patterned germ representing the Marseille man, his hair in the wind, his scooter. The logo already confirms the main function of the product “protect” Mistral during trips on two wheels. A little jacket that you put on and put away depending on the weather.Their idea is quite simple. They take a product that is built into all wardrobes, give it an urban style and add color to it. », Didier summarizes Lalans.

Then comes the production time. The cousins ​​travel to China to source ducks and locate factories where China is the leading producer. After their partners are chosen, the co-founders start by selling the first batches to multi-brand retailers with a distribution model aligned with that of the family brand.

A few months later, in 2012, the designers realized the true appeal of their products at the ready-to-wear exhibition in Paris. Down jackets are displayed on a single shelf, one behind green, orange, red, yellow, other brands of the Texto group… And again: all models are sold. This original and diverse color palette in a mono product attracts customers.

Nicolas and Mathieu Gourdikian (Credit: Dr)

From wholesale to boutiques: positioning in color

Given this potential, the Gourdikian cousins ​​no longer want to settle for wholesale trade. Even if they have no retail experience, they want to set up their store. Texto team leader Patrick Gourdikian helps them flesh out the idea. To hear Didier Lalance, the entrepreneur is a key figure in Jott’s success. He was even the main contact during the sale of the company to the L Catterton foundation.

Jot’s colorful bags (Credit: JYD)

Something happens when you walk past Jott’s shop. It’s a bit like walking past a candy store. Whether you eat or not, you want to go home!

Didier Lalance, CEO of Jott

That’s why Jott opened its first franchise store in Aix-en-Provence in 2013. The store in Marseille’s Les Terrasses du Port shopping center opened in August 2014. In the scenography of the stores, down jackets are displayed in their bags, arranged in shades. colored Nespresso capsules. “When you walk past a Jott store, something happens. It’s a bit like walking past a candy store. Whether you eat or not, you want to go home!” Describes the former managing director of Printemps (Kering), who launched Citadium stores.

A shopping center located by the sea “works very well” two years later, its surface doubled: from 38 m2, the store expanded to 90 m2. Between 2014 and 2016, nearly two dozen other stores flourished.

2016 is a turning point for the brand, which opened its first store on the very chic Boulevard St-Germain in Paris.Close to luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Strengthen the brand image

However, Jott is not meant to be one “tenth” fashion brand. L Catterton leaders won “Unique simplicity of the product. » Didier Lalance sees competitors as outerwear brands (practical and quality outdoor clothing) The North face and Patagonia, not only the Japanese brand Uniqlo, but also the French brand, which has built its reputation on a light down jacket.Jott’s customers are both men (45%) and women (45%), and the brand also caters to its very young customers (10%). Jott presents itself as a hybrid and intergenerational brand. “This is very rare in the sector”Didier emphasizes Lalance.

Didier Lalance (Credit: JYD)

The brand has more difficulty asserting its position on price. For a leader, Jott is like that acrossCSP» products are sold between 150-300 euros. For comparison, Uniqlo down jackets, also produced in China, are sold for 79 euros each.“by its own quality», sliding Didier Lalans. This will be justified by the level of price difference “interval” different with duck down “It’s sustainable.” For the past year, Jott has committed to buying raw materials that come only from “livestock fair,” that is, ducks intended only for food. But Jott guarantees not to “the marketing argument. »

If that brand was an actor, it’s a brand you think is super cool and legit, but whose name you can’t pronounce.

Didier Lalance, CEO of Jott

Powerful marketing to create a distinctive image, Didier LalanceHe set out to “rest” the brand’s DNA with Sonia Tautou, the new marketing manager he met at Lacoste. They employ about ten marketing professionals. “There was never any marketing. Jott didn’t establish his position because the brand was only 10 years old and had grown incredibly fast… If the brand was an actor, it’s a brand that you think is very good and legitimate, but you can’t name it. pronounce”, describes a buyer who intends to invest in communications. In June 2022, a commercial featuring professional dancers was shot to support this movement and entertainment DNA.

Become an “actor” of the area

And then, the DNA feature sublimated, which is this connection with Marcel. “This brand, whether we like it or not, should think that it was born on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It represents protection, movement, city, comfort. », lists the boss. This desire is welcomed by Jocelyn Meire, president of fashion business network Fask, who has been in discussions with the brand for a potential partnership. “Besides this economic and social success, what I have noticed is that Jott wants to show its regional roots. And not insignificant. Without throwing stones at them, several beautiful brands born here do not claim to be from the region.»the entrepreneur believes.

Identifying it allows Jott to find future arrows of diversification. “Where am I going to be legal?miracles out loud Didier Lalance, I will not sew on outerwear, swimsuit, fleece, on the other hand, jeans, nightwear …» The production of these new products could even be moved elsewhere.“If Jott wants to get involved in local life, there are many ways to do that. They are not closed to the idea that certain products are produced in Europe, in our region, even in the part of Marseille.”Jocelyn Meire observes.

Jott salon in Marseille’s 5th arrondissement (Credit: JYD)

After 20 months of work, new products appeared in the Jott salon. Bathing suits, bags, hatsThis is a new place “embodies the brand”, rue François Arago, Chemin Saint-Jean-du-Désert, located a few blocks from yesterday’s warehouses. Jott recruited his entire team in Marseille and found them a rare pearl with a 2,000 m2 rooftop. “bringing people together, promoting the brand. » Finally, Jott projects himself “Loyal player in the field” and wants to bet on more original models, why not. “You will understand, we are still searching for our identity. But we don’t want to move away from what we are at the bottom. We want to experience the feeling of creativity, and this creativity will definitely come through the samples. »

Useful links:

> Export, diversification, logistics… Jott (Marseille) to conquer the world
> Brand website

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