LE NEW BLACK: Hello Sébastien, how are you? Can you introduce yourself?
Sébastien Vicente (SV): I am in charge of the Art of Living Department at Business France. After a Master's degree in International Relations, I started my career in the internationalisation department of French companies within the public agency Business France. After several positions abroad, I joined the Export Department in Paris to head the Art of Living department. The Art of Living brings together several sectors with international potential, such as decoration, tourism, leisure, sport, and fashion, a real sector of excellence in France.
This is a very busy time for the fashion industry, with the continuation of the "Plan de Relance Export" and the support of French companies on the international scene, which remains our priority.
LNB: Can you tell us more about the role and mission of Business France?
SV: Business France is the national agency for the internationalisation of the French economy. It is responsible for the international development of companies and their exports, as well as welcoming and prospecting for international investments in France. It promotes the attractiveness and economic image of France, its companies, and its territories. It also manages and develops the V.I.E (Volontariat International en Entreprise).
LNB: What support does Business France offer a fashion brand today?
SV: The health crisis has been an unprecedented shock for fashion export companies. The months of closures and confinement have weakened the brands and led them to review their international development projects. In this context, Business France has reviewed its approach while innovating, so that French companies can find their way back to the international market. We are convinced that the proposals of the "Plan de Relance Export" will enable companies to maintain their international presence!
Business France offers multiple solutions to French fashion companies: the "Pavillon France Mode & Accessoires", a turnkey stand with a privileged location and numerous services at their disposal, the "French Fashion Corner", a digital showcase promoting French brands to potential partners, the "Business Expedition Mode & Accessoires", a program enabling companies to discover ecosystems abroad, and the "French Booster Textile", a complete program designed to accelerate the development of a brand on the French market.
LNB: What is the French Fashion Corner in particular?
The French Federation of Women's Ready-to-Wear, PROMAS International and Business France have joined forces to set up and deploy a program to support "French showcases" on 5 BtoB platforms as part of the "Plan de Relance Export" dedicated to the sector, for which the government has mobilised 247 million euros. These "showcases" make the offer of French exporting brands more visible to concept stores, department stores, e-commerce sites, purchasing offices, and retailers; they also support brands in their digital transition to overcome certain traditional sales obstacles.
On LE NEW BLACK, this offer is composed of a standard annual subscription package on the platform, which includes the posting of products and collections, the provision of commercial tools and sales aids as well as the creation of a list of individualised prospects. At the same time, the brands are offered support by Business France, either in the form of personalised coaching on international prospecting or a workshop on export taxation for the brand's three priority markets.