Business Story: From l’Origine to Kings Road – Chelsea

The creation of the “L’Origine” showroom is an evolution of your original business: tell us about your background.

The family business was established in France in 1960. My father and his brother have become recognized master floorers working for embassies, international companies and individuals all over the world. Their reputation has been built by word of mouth. Their love for noble, quality materials has made them successful, without marketing or promotion. Naturally, my brother and I entered the family structure at the age of 16 and received the best training possible. We have maintained a strong relationship with parquet suppliers and pay particular attention to the quality of the materials, the way in which the wood is used and its treatments.

The creation of “L’Origine” marks a major development for the company. It is not just a showroom but the launch of a boutique and a brand for professionals and individuals.

Parquetry is an art. Beyond the mastery of the installation, all the difference is made in the selection of the woods, their production, their treatment, their colours, their patterns, all of which offer a unique solution. For many years, I have been sought out by private clients and, today, with L’Origine, we finally offer them access to products previously reserved for professionals. We can now carry out tailor-made projects for them, too.

To create L’Origine, I carried out, for over a year, a tour of Europe in order to select the best producers.

In addition, we have chosen to exhibit furniture made from one of the rarest woods on the planet and designed by designers of different nationalities.

Why London?

London presented itself as obvious. Personally, I moved to London with my family in 2014. I love this city. The feeling of freedom, dynamism and enthusiasm encourages entrepreneurship. London and Paris are among the flagship cities for luxury companies and are trendsetters. We wanted to strengthen our positioning along this axis.

What makes you different from other showrooms?

Everything! The atmosphere, the customer experience, the parquet ranges with exclusive references. I wanted to create a showroom that does not exist on the market and I wanted to break with the monotony of existing stores. Most of the market participants present products and give the impression of visiting a soulless warehouse. With L’Origine, we offer sensations, a deep relationship with the nobility of the wood. You have to visit the L’Origine store to immerse yourself in it.

What do you think are the positive points of having a permanent physical store in London?

Being able to welcome, discuss and get to know our client better.

Working in collaboration with architects is also one of our strong objectives with the opening of this showroom.

What is your development strategy today?

We continue to carry out numerous projects with shops, hotels, restaurants and would like to accelerate our development on the one hand on the English market with architects and designers but also on the private market. We are focusing our energy on England for the next two years to strengthen our credentials. At the same time, we are preparing the opening of new stores in Europe from 2022.

How important are premises to your business? (location, rent, etc.)

To develop our activity, we need to give customers the opportunity to see, touch and smell the material. Our shop is an essential element to allow this experience.

Having a physical address, particularly in a prestigious district, is a guarantee of professionalism for our customers.

Did you find help within the French community?

It is thanks to the links we were able to forge within the French community that we were able to open our showroom. French Touch Properties played an essential role in our establishment in London by putting us in touch with Marc Roussel who joined the team as an investor. Marc allowed us to redefine the company’s strategy and to make the showroom opening a reality. The French Touch team then gave us exemplary support in helping us find our commercial space. We also benefited from good collaboration with Mon Concept Habitation who carried out the work on the showroom from beginning to end and in the best conditions.

How has French Touch Properties supported you? What was their added value for you?

Aude, our privileged partner at French Touch accompanied us throughout the project. She was able to listen to us and take ownership of the project to guide us in the search. We were completely supported.  Beyond her personal retail experience, her knowledge of the real estate market was a crucial asset. It allowed us to focus our search on specific locations, to analyse the market in detail without wasting time and to find the perfect showroom for our concept in 3 months, ideally located between Fulham and Chelsea, in the heart of the Chelsea Design Quarter.

For an activity like ours, we couldn’t have hoped for better.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to locate in London?

The key to success lies in networks. The French community is an excellent asset to establish oneself and to be able to open up and collaborate with local market players.

An essential element too, is to be well supported and advised on the fiscal and financial aspects.

“In record time, Aude found us the perfect and ideally located premises to open my first showroom in London. Many thanks to Ségolène, Aude, Sophie and the entire French Touch Properties team for their professionalism.

“Without this support we would not have been able to carry out our project, the steps to convince the owners, the contractual and regulatory stages are so different from those we know in France! French Touch accompanied us like a true partner, I highly recommend them and thank them warmly.”