An unexpected and surprising announcement landed in my inbox on Tuesday morning. She came from the Marie Claire group, a discreet family business not used to chasing after journalists and publicity.
Posted at 6:30am
It was all the more surprising that the founder’s daughter had gotten in touch The press just last week to report the death of his father, Réal Lafrance, which took place at the end of June. We spoke about the reluctance of the businessman who nevertheless built one of Quebec’s most important clothing retailers with its 300 stores.
And now a press release announces the creation of a new store concept where you can buy a kitchen table, dishes, a lamp, an ottoman, clothes and lingerie. All this in an atmosphere of Scandinavian and Nordic inspiration, with an effort to highlight “timeless”, “sustainable”, “ecological”, “minimalist” and “timeless” products.
With this we hope to attract educated women between the ages of 25 and 35 who “shop consciously” and take care of themselves.
His name: Livom.
Four branches are opened in August and September in Repentigny, Sherbrooke, Saint-Hyacinthe and Chicoutimi. Another inauguration is scheduled to take place in Quebec before the end of the year, with Ontario already in the pipeline for 2023. You can also shop online.
In short, despite our web craze, we still believe in the good old concept of a store in a mall.
We are of course very far from the Marie Claire, San Francisco, Grenier and Claire France brands that offer affordable clothing for women over 40. Your regulars will agree.
But we are still in continuity. Because the artistic direction and marketing of Livom are in the hands of Paule Lafrance. The 25-year-old is the granddaughter of Réal Lafrance and her father Sylvain is president of Marie Claire. Interest in retail, victim of many prejudices, has been passed down from generation to generation.
Paule also explains to me that despite having an essentially artistic background, having studied communications, art, media, cinema and fashion design degrees, she “always” had an interest in working in the family business, even gaining experience as a “drummer at one.” Metall Band”. There it first proved itself with the family brand Dans un Jardin. “I design the stores, choose the formulas, develop the marketing campaigns and create the product lines. The family is satisfied with my work and told me, that I am the ideal candidate to take care of Livom. »
The idea of creating a concept that has nothing to do with the Marie Claire boutiques came “mainly” from her father Sylvain, admits the co-founder. The director saw a business opportunity in this desire to improve the comfort and atmosphere of our home, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and teleworking.
The new Livom concept
Bundling clothing, furniture, and decor into one store may seem strange, but other companies mix categories successfully. Perhaps the best example is Canadian Tire, where you can buy a bike, coffee maker, wipers, paint, children’s books, and laundry detergent.
Also think of Simons, which has expanded its range of homeware, Anthropologie, Zara, H&M and Winners, all of which offer clothes alongside tableware.
Located in Saint-Hubert, Montérégie, a brand new concept called Archipelago sells plants, furniture, pets, decorative items, groceries and lawnmowers – all under one giant roof. Anything to “live in a very lively house,” we plead. Time will tell if customers accept the idea, which has the advantage of surprising.
After what the retail sector has been through for two years, it is reassuring to see that Quebec businesses are still looking to invest in creating new concepts that will enhance local offerings. And will bring new things to consumers who need refreshing experiences after a long status quo.
There is also something beautiful about a family business integrating and listening to a motivated third generation that expresses a vision and values of its time.
Two months after the death of Réal Lafrance, the birth of Livom embodies a laudable desire for sustainability.