Interview With Guillaume Gibault, CEO Of Le Slip Français

If you think of a successful startup, a Made in France fashion label, and a strong digital brand, you will most definitely think of Le Slip Français.

Le Slip Français with its infamous blue, white and red logo has become an ambassador of the French touch across the country and on a global level.

While a big percentage of startups are destined to failure, we wanted to learn more about the secrets of the success of LSF and some key lessons from its founder and creative director, Guillaume Gibault.

AM: Guillaume, please tell us more about your background
I am in my thirties from Paris. I graduated from HEC business school in International Management and then started to work at Bio c' Bon (an organic supermarket chain). But I wanted to start my own business, and I did so in 2011 with a small budget.

I was determined on choosing an industry that I liked and which was fashion. But I had to find the right market. I always looked up to Louis Vuitton and Hermès as leading houses in fashion, the Made in France label, and in the French savoir-faire. So I decided to transform that mix into a digital and an internet-oriented brand.

I was searching for a segment that lacked trendy products and fashionable releases, and underwear was one of them. Additionally, underwear is easy to ship, doesn't require trial and generates customer loyalty. And while many have told me this project wouldn't work, I was determined to invest my all.

AM: So what is the DNA of Le Slip Français brand?
We were one of the very first brands to make "Made in France" a popular label. But overall, my main goal is to have a French brand in every aspect of it. We are very focused on the French savoir-faire and vivre, and what France stands for internationally. Which is the good quality and French values associated with a premium French production.

AM: Who is your target client?
We have the same kind of clients since the very beginning. We have the trendy customers of course, but also a very broad audience of different ages, and not just Paris-based. The brand's lighthearted capital appeals to many customers.
 
AM: How is the brand consistent online as it is offline?

It is simply a reflection of the way I am and the way we work as a team. It comes from the dynamics of being true and authentic. And this genuine component can be seen all over our communication and social media stories. Consequently, what happens internally within our offices is projected externally.

AM: What is your criterion for selecting brand ambassadors?

The era of working with celebrities is not as strong and relevant as before. It works for brands that have big budgets to compensate the public figure and purchase media space to promote him/her. But startups don't usually have a big budget for this, so our strategy is to build the brand with people that fit with LSF's personality.

AM: How do you manage to keep the brand relatively affordable but also exclusive?
It comes with the nature of selling an everyday product. It's high-end in the way we produce and package it, and all the attention we put into the details. It definitely takes a lot of effort from our side for items aimed for basic usage on a daily basis.

AM: What is your advice to entrepreneurs?
The objective is not just about being an entrepreneur but more about thinking about what you like to do in your life. Think of all the things you enjoy doing, and how you can turn one of them into your job. If one of the answers is "I like to be my own boss," then yes, entrepreneurship is the thing for you. But remember it's a tough and long journey! Luckily, we live in a period of time where if you are persistent and push for what you believe in, you could change companies, jobs and careers.

Take a look at the Le Slip Français universe here, and shop you favorite items here.

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