When he launched Asphalte in 2016, William Hauvette wanted to solve a simple problem: how to sell reasonably priced clothing that costs a lot to produce?
This EDHEC graduate entrepreneur had already created a men’s knitwear brand at the age of twenty-five, Six&Sept, with a classic production and wholesale distribution model. Large collections and high costs related to stocks and resellers’ commissions, leading to high sales prices. The brand never took off. William and his associates, therefore, decided to review their model from A to Z to return to the objective of those early days. To make themselves useful by giving more meaning to the clothes. To be successful, they knew that they had to cut all of the costs that didn’t concern the product and service. This meant limiting stocks and intermediaries and offering the right price all year to avoid the logic of a sale.
This is how Asphalte was born, with an innovative formula: rather than the traditional “produce to sell,” the model is to pre-sell and then manufacture.
Starting with questionnaires, William and his team help consumers to find out what they want and co-create the pieces with them. The models of clothing designed in this way are available for pre-order on the site two weeks before being manufactured by a network of European suppliers. The parts are then delivered within one to three months. This means no more inventory or waste, and production costs adjusted to the lowest possible level.
On the style side, Asphalte plays the register of a virile and timeless cloakroom. Composed of authentic basics with solid and comfortable materials, such as the “perfect sweater,” the “good jacket,” the “solid sneakers,” or the “beautiful raincoat” currently in development. Wishing to create responsible fashion, Asphalte limits its small (e.g. a single jean or turtleneck model), as a rule of thumb to consume less but better.
When it comes to communication, William and his associates’ message is direct and relaxed, asserting their model and the values of the company and of the brand to develop a strong community on the web and social networks – 48,000 Instagram subscribers.
Four years after the creation of Asphalte, the results are there! The slow fashion model, 100% web-designed by William Hauvette, answering the needs of environmental responsibility, is a winning bet. Profitable from the first year, Asphalte now has 40,000 customers with a turnover of 6 million euros. Based in Bordeaux, the team has grown from 4 to 20 people. And despite the health crisis, the brand has held its ground: launched on the eve of the quarantine, its latest T-shirt, designed for 15,000 pre-orders, sold out at … 42,0000 copies!