The Déclic brand is also ranged through 10 Myer stores, a relationship that started eight years ago.
“We used to work with David Jones, and then Myer approached us,” Déclic director and founder, Gilles Du Puy, told Inside Retail Weekly. “They wanted to do the full Déclic story.”
Interestingly, Du Puy was one of the first people to do a postgraduate diploma in retail at Melbourne’s Monash University, which was then a night course over one year.
“My last concept was the Déclic project, which I was told would not work here in Australia because there’s not enough people,” he said. “History has proved that that lecturer was wrong!”
The stores are set in main upmarket shopping areas – including Chadstone, Chapel Street, The Emporium, Strand Arcade, and Chatswood Chase.
“We are a premium, niche brand, but still affordable,” Du Puy observed. “As some customers told me on the weekend, we sell ‘small luxuries’.”
Déclic stores are set on appropriately small footprints, averaging between 40sqm and 60sqm, with the smallest, in Sydney’s Strand Arcade, measuring only 25sqm. Déclic stores sell men’s accessories and shirts, and the colourful décor exudes a quirky yet stylish theme that reflects the products displayed.
Bold geometric tiles on the store walls and floors match boldly striped socks and the latest floral shirts – all with that French eye for design and quality that Du Puy, who is also the designer, brings to the picture.
“I always like to add a bit of quirkiness and humour into the product we design,” Du Puy explained with a smile. “There is always a feel-good factor in everything we do, mixed with beautiful quality and very good workmanship.”
Being a more compact size, there’s also a focus on ensuring the stores are easy to navigate.
Déclic’s preferred neighbours are other men’s retailers, as it’s generally believed that men prefer to shop at one time within the same area for all their requirements.
“I think it works well when the retail mix is made of other menswear which is basically in a similar price point to us,” Du Puy opined.
“Men don’t like to travel to look for menswear; they like to go to a spot where they can go from one store to another to get what they want, to make it easy for them.”
Socking it to ’em
A top seller for Du Puy are the Déclic range of socks, with the business selling over 40,000 pairs of socks a year. The vast majority are sold within Australia, but that figure also includes a number sent through a distributor in Singapore.
The Déclic socks comprise 97 per cent cotton from Queensland and are made in Melbourne. They are popular as birthday gifts – for example, there’s a gift box of socks for each day of the week, with each of the seven pairs displaying a day of the week within the design.
Another strong sales target is weddings and special occasions – especially for Chadstone, Chatswood, and the Indooroopilly stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, respectively. Every week there are group orders placed for matching items such as ties, cufflinks, shirts, tie bars and accessories.
“Because we’re one of the only stores where you can get five of the same things – often required for a bridal party – we’re able to do that because of the quantity of stores we have, and the range,” Du Puy said.
“The Australian market is a small market, but it is a very demanding market as well. People expect a lot of choice, so we offer a lot of variety.”
Citing changing consumer interest in the US, there are two areas of growth that Déclic is currently targeting – men’s jewellery, and small leather goods.
This includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, cuff links with 24 carat gold features and tie bars – the latter of which now are in growing demand in sterling silver and becoming popular as gifts for special occasions as well as everyday products.
In the small leather goods category, Déclic has new products coming in in mid-October for the run-up to Christmas. These include a leather cufflinks box, passport holders, manicure sets, and leather tie travel cases that don’t take up much room, so when travellers arrive at their destination the ties remain nicely folded.
Du Puy said Déclic’s loyalty program database boasts close to 10,000 names and is growing by 10 per cent a year.
Expanding into Asia is something that is currently under consideration. But to do that, Du Puy said he’d be looking to partner with another retail entity. In the meantime, Déclic remains an Aussie with personality punching above its small sized weight.