Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE MARAPL 2015 Contents a choice that has been met by Napoleon really understanding that,
“we are dictated to by the customer and there are some many
facets to their needs”.
Napoleon’s personal and business journey moves so fast and is
so integrated it can be difficult to pinpoint his key success factors,
beyond the empire of the brand he has seemingly effortlessly
created, he has an ability to merge the expectations of women no
matter what they are. In addition to the fact he doesn’t sit around
and wait for the next business and retail trend – he’s already there
moving with the consu mer.
“All the talk about omni-channel is well and good – they buy
online because they buy discount, click and collect but consumers
still want the bricks and mortar experience,” Napoleon said.
So when Napoleon was creating his bricks and mortar flagship
on Chapel street it was never going to be anything other than
marrying up what happens digitally with a store, presenting the
opportunity for instant gratification – “you can take it then and
there but still be inspired by the brand digitally,” he said.
Despite popular belief for Sydneysiders, Napoleon hasn’t always had a
brand fan base. After immense Academy and retail success in Australia,
since 2005 Napoleon has been on a long consumer journey when he
relocated to Beverly Hills – he had to start from scratch to build his
customer. This marrying of building a brand in different countries and
cultures has enabled him and his brand to be far more than a lipstick
but a lifestyle language that he believes empowers women from all
walks of life. “My brand is democratic and you have to allow people to
choose you,” he said. That also comes down to not being available on
every retail corner but accessible enough for people to want them.
“What’s happening in the digital world has brought this movement
of the two aspects working together so when you are in this bricks and
mortar environ ment, throughout the various stages of the store and
the environment there are pauses for the consumer to be in control.
It’s not us to tell you, you take, you customi ze it,” Napoleon said.
What’s so intriguing about the store is that the product
placement is hinted at but not overpowered. While there’s
definitely nothing subtle about Napoleon, his store is not over
bearing but still thought-provoking. He has an inherent ability to
create a mood and express himself without it being a dictatorship
there are so many colours, textures and elements of the journey
and experience, but it all works together.
“Living in America for 10 years has really taught me something I’d
never thought I’d admit and that’s patience with retail, because retail
is detail and when you are in that level of detail you have to listen.”
“You have to allow your journey to evolve and to not over power
your customer, so for as loud as I am I learnt the patience of not
overpowering her because she wants me to be next to her, not
talking down to her,” Napoleon said.
Many of Napoleon’s make up peers that have had success in
the USA are in more mainstream channels, whereas Napoleon’s
success is very luxury – think Bergdorf Goodman, Nieman Marcus
and Nordstrum, rather than mainstream Macy’s.
Napoleon believes that all of Australia is high-end, that we are to
put it simply, “a rich country of a middle class structure and above.”
“I’ve taken the Australian consumer base and replicated
those learnings in A merica. The Bergdorf and Barney’s customer
represents 300 million over there – it’s just worked.”
Napoleon believes that all Australian’s can shop at Barney’s and
Bergdorf. The poverty that exists in those areas is enormous but
when Napoleon sits back and looks at the Australian consumer
he admits, “she has so much choice and is enormously educated,
layered and chic. She’s not afraid to say who she is. Whereas
Americans try to conform,” Napoleon said.
Starting from scratch in any new market, Napoleon sets
out to identify who is like Australia. Everything in A merica is
about understanding a process, yet in Australia we still have the
rebellious Ned Kelly ‘go in there and do it’ attitude. Affluence,
intelligence, educated and where do they have the opportunity to
enjoy themselves – I guess that’s the lucky country.
The effort around u nderstanding the customer for Napoleon
is built around a love affair with things and feelings about how
people differ, how they are motivated and how people want to feel
in a shopping environment. Lifestyle answers this yearning with
four stores cu rrently and he hopes for 20-25 stores in Australia
each with a localized feel.
“I know you’re a Sydney man but Melbourne is the fashion
capital of Australia,” Napoleon said. Indeed we will see more big
things come from Melbourne.
Napoleon’s understanding of various topics is as detailed as it is
hasty – he doesn’t move slowly, but still takes a moment in time to
research everything. “Creativity needs to be where I am in charge
of my shoots – I’m sick and tired of photographers dictating to me.
I can change the look last minute.”
“We do enormous amounts of research and use our academy as
an A ndy Warhol factory.”
“We know what students respond to and what they do and
there’s an Andy Warhol Factory happening at eight different
campuses around the world,” he said. The largest facility in
Hollywood has everyone from the Latino that comes from
downtown, to the African American that comes from Baldwin Hills
to the affluent from Beverly Hills and Brentwood and then onto
the Korean and the Japanese that have flown in for the specialized
course, because its Hollywood and they are chasing their dreams!
“The Chapel street store for me typifies the Napoloen Perdis customer
if they come to Melbourne they’ll come to Chapel street,” he said.
For any burgeoning business its about instantly assessing results
as the key driver to evolution. With a brand that is developed with
the way the student engages with learning to how women want
to feel wearing something, beauty becomes transcendent across
mu ltiple continents.
“The world knows, it’s democratic,” said Napoleon. “I’m
not aiming to be everyone, I just want one world and one
“The Chapel street store for me
typifies the Napoloen Perdis
customer – if they come to Melbourne
they’ll come to Chapel street.”
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