As mentioned in the article Events as Brands: Paris Fashion Week , I promised to shed more light on some of the brands I discovered during my recent visit to Paris. Lotty Dotty, a Paris-based start-up that manufactures funky T-shirts, is one of them. Having heard about Lotty Dotty prior to visiting Paris, I noted down the address of its showroom near the Pompidou center in Paris, and got in touch with Lotty Dotty's co-founder, a Paris-based US born fashion designer Shevanne Helmer.
Shevanne and her business partner Maya Persaud greeted me in a showroom full of colorful T-shirts featuring Lotty Dotty dolls dressed up in fashionable outfits. What's so special about this new funky-to-be brand and how does it intend to stand out from the crowd? While Lotty Dotty's founders are working on its brand new web site, here is already a preview of the concept.
SCHMOOZY FOX: What's the main concept of Lotty Dotty?
Shevanne Helmer: Lotty Dotty has developed a new T-shirt concept that allows one to change the look of one’s t-shirt by using detachable parts. The basis of our t-shirt is the screen printed doll with a sewn on Velcro bathing suit.
EachT-shirt will be sold with detachable mini outfits. This will give our customers the flexiblity to change the doll's clothes – undress and dress her. Our mini clothing collections are designed by unknown and up-coming designers.
This concept is so new and original that we have acquired a design patent.
SCHMOOZY FOX: How did you come up with this name, and what brand values does Lotty Dotty communicate?
Shevanne Helmer: Maya came up with the name Lotty Dotty. It is a name that invokes souvenirs of our childhood, and it is all about being playful!
We wanted to offer several T-shirts in one. This coincides with our will to do as much as we can to preserve our environment. Our T-shirts are made of organic cotton and bamboo and we try to use recycled materials whenever possible. Our ideals represent an increasingly growing trend for responsible consumerism.
SCHMOOZY FOX: What is your business model? Will you sell through Lotty Dotty branded boutiques or will you rely on distributors? Are you thinking of going into e-commerce?
Shevanne Helmer: As of today we begin by marketing 2 products: the first is our T-shirts for women and girls and the second is our “mini-clothing” collection. We are also thinking of introducing boys' and men's collections in due course.
We aim to sell our tee shirts in specialty and upscale department stores. We will also sell on our web site and are considering possibilities for mass-customization.
SCHMOOZY FOX: in my previous blog post about Paris Fashion Week I talked about the importance of meta-brands, overarching, superior concepts that add usually positive associations to other brands that want to relate to them. Paris Fashion Week is certainly such a meta-brand. Even though you did not present your new collection in a catwalk show, what benefits did you have from presenting Lotty Dotty in this showroom during the Paris Fashion Week?
Shevanne Helmer: Participating in Paris Fashion Week is very important because it gives a certain legitimacy to one’s company. It announces to the world that they have joined the “elite” corps. A certain glamour seems to rub off on your brand or line. I certainly felt compelled to launch our line at this event because it signaled, “Lotty Dotty is here!”
Aside from this, many buyers and press people from around the world are present in one place for a week. I met buyers almost everyday – they were just walking around the neighbourghood. In this respect, we found it important to choose a strategic location for our showroom. I was able to lure some of them in and present them our tee shirts.
SCHMOOZY FOX: And finally, what's the brand vision that you have for Lotty Dotty? Why do you think customers will like it?
Shevanne Helmer: Lotty Dotty is truly a new concept. There is nothing like it! During the 6 months Maya and myself spent trying to figure out how to “dress and undress” the doll, we searched everywhere to find examples of something like this and we did not find anything. As already mentioned, we also patented this concept.
We hope that our customers will also find Lotty Dotty fresh, new and colorful. We also see the potential to develop our dolls, add more dolls, as well as discover new designers!
In this economic climate, where everyone has to downsize, spend less, the idea of having several tee shirts in one can be very appealing.
SCHMOOZY FOX: Thanks, and the best of luck to Lotty Dotty!