Parisians swear by it. Sézane creates enthusiasm. This Parisian / bohemian-style feminine ready-to-wear brand is experiencing strong growth and is constantly opening new apartment shorooms and new concepts in the most posh cities. And behind Sézane, is Morgane Sézalory.
Morgane was born on May 10th, 1985 Morgane was born in Africa, in Zaire (current Democratic Republic of Congo) in Kinshasa, in a French expatriate family. Her first 5 years, she spends them there. This first experience undoubtedly helped to develop her adventurous soul.
Her father was a chartered accountant and she lived with her mother in Courbevoie, also an accountant.
My mother, the ninth of her siblings, passed on to me this art of enchanting everyday life. She added ribbons, buttons to her clothes, giving a festive air to a simple dinner.Morgane Sézalory
She left school at the age of 16 and took the BAC as a free candidate. From a humble background, her family nevertheless insisted on instilling in their children a love of culture and the arts. But if she took the Fine Arts option on the exam, it was more of an attempt to earn points easily than out of passion. She makes a photo subject in which her teachers go into ecstasies and discover that she has, in fact, a real talent for creation.
She then dreams of jobs that are a little artistic, graphic but above all independence.
Morgane Sezalory’s entrepreneurship journey
Thrifting and Ebay
When her sister moved to London, she left him three suitcases full of clothes and gave him permission to put them on eBay.
I cut, patched, took beautiful photos of the different pieces, I sold everything in record time.Morgane Sezalory
Finally, rather than go to higher education, she decides to enter the working life with both feet by forging her own experience.
At the time, in 2005, eBay was really a catch-all with some pretty awful pictures; it was there that I realized one thing: I knew how to highlight objects and clothes, I knew how to arrange, I knew how to style things to make them look desirable.Morgane Sezalory
Ebay was a real laboratory, a school that introduced him to the web, to customers and to commerce.
In 2008, she launched her first business with one of her friends: Les Composantes. On an online site, they sell vintage vintage pieces that they find right to left.
One day, we found ourselves with an incredible stock of 800 pairs of new vintage boots, luxury Celines and others. We realized that it was impossible to sell them drop by drop. There were too many. As a result, we organized a mega private sale; we passed the info on to a lot of bloggers, and unexpectedly, there was a crowd at the rendezvous. We sold everything in two days.Morgane Sézalory
But the two partners, as in many entrepreneurial stories, quickly split up. They didn’t have the same desires. Her partner was attracted to furniture and design, while Morgane had more of a taste for fashion and wanted to continue in this direction. Despite this separation, Morgane continues to develop “Les Composantes”. This name, she has thought about it for a long time and she sticks to it.
Creating her firsts original designs
Between blogger and designer, Morgane Sézalory quickly found her audience, mostly Parisians between 25 and 35 years old. With online sales taking off, she quits her food job.
I sharpened my eye by hunting down vintage. I always look for the right detail, the beautiful materials, the extra thing…Morgane Sézalory
At the instigation of her future husband, Thibault Lougnon, who is also an entrepreneur, she contacted workshops in order to develop her first creations.
He encouraged me not to miss out on myself. […] One day, he even gave me an ultimatum, threatening me not to come back from my trip until I went to see the Parisian workshops he had listed for me.Morgane Sezalory
Her first designs then took place in Paris. She imagines the models of her apartment on the 6th floor of a 15th century Haussmannian building. Then, she has them made in small workshops in the capital that I know well and with whom I also work.
New ideas and great business finds
Even at Les Composantes, she was already showing good business acumen.
For the sake of organization and because she doesn’t like going to the Post Office too much, she decides to launch one sale per month, which allows her to group shipments. This sale becomes a real monthly meeting for its community.
She is also attentive to the habits of this one. This is why she is putting her selection on sale from 9 p.m. to make it accessible to everyone. She chooses this late schedule so that all women can take advantage of it: those who come home late from work, students… And, she tries as much as possible to remain affordable. She dreams of modern and truly democratic fashion.
The hundred or so pieces that she puts on sale each month are torn off in less than 48 hours.
She also associates ethics and fashion. When her brother died in 2008 from Malaria in India, she decided to launch Shop for Change. The concept? She offers the girls, rather than giving the money to get rid of an item of clothing from her closet that they have extra in their closet, that she agrees to resell on Les Composantes. The funds raised with the sale are then donated to the association “Malaria No More. “
Sézane’s success story
A winning association
On the advice of her husband, Morgane joined forces with Corentin Petit at the end of 2012. The HEC graduate had just left Balibaris, the men’s fashion brand he co-founded in 2010.
Corentin then takes care of the commercial, logistics and production part, which allows him to focus on the creative part and artistic direction.
The following year, Les Composantes became Sézane, a contraction between her name, “Sézalory“, and her first name “Morgane“. Sézane is an extension of her, but it is also a project that she wanted to be appropriated by others.
With the 50,000 fans who have followed Morgane since its inception, the company has since grown exponentially. Their turnover in 2014 is three times that of 2013. And by 2013, they had already multiplied their sales by more than five. They have no cash flow problems, almost no inventory and are able to largely self-finance their next collections through the sale of previous ones.
In 2015, Sézane opened its first apartment, rue Saint-Fiacre. This first Sézane apartment is more than a showroom. It is a living space, fitted out as such, in which the brand can receive and welcome its customers. Arranged like a real apartment, we discover an intimate, cocooning atmosphere that quickly puts women at ease.
Probably to finance physical development and accelerate its growth, the two partners decide to bring in an investment fund. Summit Partners, an American fund from Silicon Valley, known for spotting nuggets (Private Sales for example) is betting on the Parisian brand.
Quickly, they opened other apartments in New York, London and Aix en Provence.
In 2018, Sézane achieved nearly 80 million euros in sales, up 30%. 92% of its business is done online and 20% of its sales are already made internationally. In their Sentier offices, located rue d4uzues, more than 150 people work for the brand.
During 2018, the Summit Partners fund sold its shares to General Atlantic, another American juggernaut, also a shareholder of Tory Burch or Authentic Brands. However, Morgane Sézalory remains at the helm of the company Benda Bili.
Sézane also opened a men’s line with October Editions and is developing a Self-Service store concept.
Thinking about tomorrow
While the brand does not necessarily produce in France (its productions are in Hong Kong, Tunisia or in Eastern European countries), the brand displays a real policy of sustainable development.
In a beautiful open letter from Morgane Sézalory to its community, the brand initiates the Tomorrow program and extensive work to bring more transparency behind the label.
Behind DEMAIN is a team made up exclusively of volunteers. Through this structure, 4 initiatives are carried out.
Initiative 1: every 21st of the month, 10% of daily sales in Sézane and October are donated to DEMAIN.
Initiative 2: A new coin is offered every month by Sézane and October and all of its profits are donated to DEMAIN. Discover our new products every 21st of the month.
Initiative 3: In a solidarity shop, old second-hand Sézane pieces are sold for the benefit of projects supported by DEMAIN.
Initiative 4: The Sézane team is committed to volunteering hours for associations and projects supported by DEMAIN.
What should your take aways be from Sézane’s success story
Sézane is one of the first fully digital fashion brands (DNVB). Its key asset? Excellent knowledge of the clients and their desires.
Attract the right customers and retain them
Sézane was targeting a loyal buying clientele: women in their thirties, fashion enthusiasts. They have good buying power and like to change styles frequently. From an economic point of view, it is a good clientele if we can capture it. However, the active 30s are not so easy to capture. They want style, quality, price, renewal: in short, everything at the same time. But Sézane’s designs, thanks to the eye of Morgane Sézalory, consistently hit the mark.
Sézane was also one of the digital precursors. Her site is written like a real fashion blog. The photo compositions are modern, refined. More than clothes, it is a real universe that is being built around Sézane. The aficionados dress Sézane, live Sézane, speak Sézane. Word of mouth quickly increases this invested community. Among the first fans were several bloggers and influencers who quickly became great ambassadors for the brand. The posts are spreading at high speed on the web and even go beyond French borders.
Play on emotion, envy, frustration and desire
Sézane unwittingly also created a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect. By developing its collections in very limited editions, around a hundred pieces that run out in a few hours, Sézane creates frustration but also desire. Plus, seeing the parts tear off and go very quickly makes it seem like this is the IT item you shouldn’t miss. Undoubtedly, this must have enabled Sézane to rapidly grow his list of newsletter subscribers.
The frequent and rapid renewal of the collections is also a real strength of Sézane. And being in the world, I know how difficult it is to do that. It’s a fast fashion logic, but with designer clothes and a bit unique. It forces and encourages women to come back regularly.
The secret behing Sézane’s success: Morgane Sézalory
A true hard worker touches everything
If we have the impression that Sézane has developed quickly, it is because we can only see the top of the iceberg since Morgane has been refining her sense of fashion since her debut in 2008. Sézane is the consolidation and the acceleration of everything she has accomplished and learned since her sales on Ebay and with “Les Composantes”.
Then, Morgane is a real hard worker. She worked non-stop and had set a steady pace for herself, a routine that she adhered to to the letter. There are no secrets: Getting a business off the ground takes work.
I get up every morning around 8 a.m. to work. I devote all my mornings to it, religiously, no matter what.Morgane Sezalory
In addition, having run this business alone for a while, this woman has developed a good knowledge of the entire chain. Because indeed, Morgane took care of everything. From styling to sales and logistics, she took care of it.
When I arrived, I was struck by her sense of resourcefulness”Corentin, her business partner
Surround yourself well
Luck or determination, Morgane has surrounded herself well. Her husband, Thibault Lougnon, a web entrepreneur, was a real pillar and encouraged her to make key decisions: the development of her own creations, the choice of a partner …
Her business partner, Corentin, is discreet in the press unlike Morgane who is seen everywhere. However, there is no doubt that he contributed a lot to Sézane‘s success by taking care of operations and good financial management which are key points of any business.
She also found herself competent workshops, able to support her in her rapid collection developments. Indeed, releasing a new collection every month is almost a tour de force and I say it knowingly. It requires good partners and reliable providers.
Finally, she was able to develop around her a community of women who followed her for her talent, her values and her passion.
Fun facts about Morgane Sézalory
Morgane Sézalory is the happy mother of 2 daughters: Nina and Olivia. To all those who are mothers and entrepreneurs, Morgane is a model to follow!
She is more of the morning, a real electric battery at dawn as she puts it.
Morgane has owned and kept six trunks since she was 18 years old. She had unearthed them at an auction and never leaves them.
At the end of 2016, her body said stop. After this burnout, she learns to delegate and takes more time for herself. She worked part time from the house. She works out at least twice a week in the morning and takes up meditation.
Useful resources on Morgane Sézalory to go further
Bibliography: Books on the subject
Want to go further ? Take a look at these books. In the first, you will find an interview with Morgane Sézalory as well as other fashion actors. Perhaps you will discover trades there that you did not even know about.
And in the others, we are talking about DNVB. DNVB is the business model behind Sézane and several other brands. Are you an entrepreneur or a marketer? These books are full of good ideas to learn from.
If you would like to read these books, please feel free to click on the links below which are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything extra or increase the prices, but on my side, it helps me earn small commissions that allow me to pay for the site here and continue to create great content for you.
Articles and other interesting resources
Portrait de Morgane Sézalory, à l’ère de Les Composantes, avec Glamour Paris, 2010
Interview avec Sézane, 2014 sur le Journal du Net
Interview business, Morgane Sézalory et Corentin Petit pour Sézane, de Géraldine Dormoy, 2015 :
Morgane Sézalory and her family life on Thesocialitefamily
Interview de Morgane Sézalory avec Grazia, 2016
Anecdotes sur la femme derrière Sézane avec Marie-Claire, 2018
Podcast interview de Morgane Sézalory avec Nouvelle école sur le burn-out et le lâcher prise, 2018
L’annonce de Sézane sur Demain et les projets retail sur Fashion Network, 2018
Recherche Sézane désespéremment, l’article de Jean-jacques Manceau paru en 2019:
A conversation with Morgane Sézalory avec Wardobeicons, 2019
Sézane’s website: https://www.sezane.com/