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In 1987, designer Michele Bohbot recognized that women were embracing a new kind of feminism, but there were not enough clothes that mirrored that distinctive combination of rebellion and refinement. She conceived of a brand that paired a California state of mind with her romantic Parisian roots, and Bisou Bisou (“kiss kiss”) was born.
Women responded to the brand with a resounding “yes please”, and Bisou Bisou boosted to the forefront of fashion. Bohbot’s designs were adored by celebrities and aspiring women alike, and Bisou Bisou was available in stores across the US, including Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. Bisou Bisou had made its mark.
In 2005, Bisou Bisou pivoted its approach and began an exclusive relationship with JC Penney. Bisou Bisou adjusted the quality of fabric, fit, and price point and brought in a whole new demographic of women. Ultimately Bisou Bisou was available in over 1,000 JC Penney stores and the clothes were selling like hotcakes.
Then in 2017, Bisou Bisou decided to part with the retailer and bring home its iconic 90’s style. The designs returned to their original higher quality, slimmer fit, and higher price point, and would now be sold exclusively online.
While Bisou Bisou was an extremely successful store in both markets, this would be a big leap. They needed carefully selected branding choices, flexibility for their sales approach, and a robust marketing campaign.
In May of 2017, Bisou Bisou hired Los Angeles based Shopify experts Bluedge USA to create a brand new ecommerce website that would reintroduce the brand. Because all sales would be moving online, Bisou Bisou would need significant support with advertising and online engagement. Additionally, without a store in place, Bisou Bisou needed to move fast to get its products on the market in time for key sales events.
For every client, Bluedge USA conducts an in-depth consultation and robust research to determine a positioning and branding strategy.
We discovered that Bisou Bisou’s clients had matured alongside the brand in the years since its creation. Bisou Bisou planned to reach its original demographic of women ages 18-24, but its customers had grown into 35-44 year-old women.
Additionally, from the years of sales at JCPenney, Bisou Bisou had attracted another demographic of women who appreciated larger sizes and more affordable wear.
We didn’t need to build from the ground up to attract a new demographic, and instead needed to reconnect with these women, giving them a fresh take on the designs they loved. We could then apply this knowledge to the site’s aesthetics and our marketing efforts.
As is often the case for web designers, there is no ecommerce website before we build it. Bisou Bisou had taken its site offline to prepare for the big rebrand, but this meant it had no way to build a customer base.
To bridge this gap, we created a Shopify ShowCase site. It didn’t feature products, but it teased potential customers with bold branding elements and allowed them to sign up for updates about the launch. We then incorporated this information into our email campaign to give customers a taste of the brand and prepare them for upcoming sales.
In the meantime, we designed wireframes that provided the flexibility and variety that Bisou Bisou wanted, particularly for its home page and branding page. We were able to integrate the site with Bisou Bisou’s preferred inventory system, Stitchlabs, and customized every piece of the backend to what they needed.
We chose a sleek design style that communicated an updated Parisian theme and appealed to the sophistication of an older demographic, with small embellishments that would stand the test of time.
We also incorporated the lips, along with other custom branding elements, in emails throughout the campaign.
Additionally, we made it possible for Bisou Bisou to change the color of their logo on every page the site. This is typically not possible on a Shopify store, but we created a workaround so that Bisou Bisou can change its colors to match its new designs.
Bisou Bisou’s favorite feature, however, is a special video component we designed for the home page.
Bisou Bisou had a beautiful branding video that they wanted to showcase on their site, but on Shopify, the only place available for this was the banner at the top of the home page.
Bisou Bisou wanted to be able to feature other items like sales or new products in the top banner, while keeping the video. We custom-designed a solution that allowed Bisou Bisou to drag the video down to any other section of the page so that they could highlight whatever they wanted in the top banner at any time.
To gain the traction that Bisou Bisou needed for a new ecommerce site, we constructed an advertising campaign across Instagram, Facebook, and email.
We used key insights to place strategic buys on Facebook, where we were able to collect emails and target the exact customer we wanted. Our Facebook analytics proved that the most responsive women were indeed the JC Penney demographic, so we continued to shape our campaign in that direction.
We also created campaigns around special holidays and events that attracted active buyers and further boosted Bisou Bisou sales. This increased the time crunch we were under, but we had the store up and running in time for every key event.
Bisou Bisou’s relaunch ultimately became more about celebration, self-ownership, and sales, and less about changing the fabric of Bisou Bisou’s customer base.
One of the services that sets Bluedge USA apart as Shopify experts is our commitment to full collaboration and empowerment of our clients.
We provided Bisou Bisou access to every aspect of every part of the process and worked together on everything from the strategy behind each email to the smallest detail of the backend.
Bisou Bisou was grateful that we handed them everything they needed to be independent, and we made sure they had the resources to manage their store from both a marketing and a technical perspective.
According to Anastasia Stallcop, Bisou Bisou’s Designer, the best part of working with Bluedge USA’s owner Nicolas Alessandra was:
“dependability and the access that he gave to his information, to his talent, to [his] knowledge...The greatest part was it was all in one package. We got our site built from both a coder’s perspective as well as a marketing perspective...and were able to match our website to our marketing.”-- Anastasia Stallcop
Thanks to the beautiful new store, marketing efforts, and dedicated consultation, Bisou Bisou successfully reconnected with the women who had been empowered by the brand years ago. Shortly after the launch, sales skyrocketed so fast that customers cleared the full inventory.
Fortunately, Bisou Bisou still had access to the stunning ShowCase interface and could temporarily transform the store into the Shopify ShowCase site, continuing to engage with customers until the release of the next product line. For a brand that was inspired by rebellion and refinement, Bisou Bisou has combined every piece of its history in another incredible venture.