L'Exception goes to meet its clients. Today we meet Matthieu Pinon, one of the founders of the Anaki, Canal Saint Martin, and Couleur Pourpre brands; a client of L'Exception since 2016.

Can you introduce yourself?
Matthieu: My name is Matthieu and I am one of the founders of the brands Anaki, Canal Saint Martin and Couleur Pourpre. It's been a little over a decade since we created and developed these shoe brands and have been growing them.

The main brand is Anaki, how would you define it in terms of style?
Matthieu: It's a Woman brand, an urban brand. In winter it's leather booties, in summer it's sandals. All this is made in Europe: in Spain or Portugal. It's a refined style, sometimes androgynous. It's a mid/top of the range positioning, with close sourcing and a very sharp selection of materials to get into the expected quality standards.

Would you tell us about your new projects?

Matthieu: We have two new projects: Couleur Pourpre, which is an entry-level brand of sandals made in India. The sandal market is a very high volume market with very few players. We wanted to bring a folk, bohemian touch, a sandal that can be worn when going to the beach as well as for an evening stroll during the summer vacations.
The other project is the repositioning of Canal Saint Martin, we will make table-rase of everything we did in the past: we will focus on an upcycled sneaker. We reuse old windbreakers, and we cut them in solidarity workshops. Then, we send these windbreakers to our factories in Portugal that will mount these yokes on sneakers, unisex.

What made you want to get into fashion, especially footwear?

Matthieu: This project was born from the meeting with Yohann and Eva. We were working at the base as subcontractors for ready-to-wear brands that needed shoe collections.And from there, we said to ourselves: there are products that we would like to make for us, we could test in wholesale, test that at retailers. It took off little by little. From Anaki, which was the first brand we created, we had this idea of making an espadrille sneaker with Canal Saint Martin which was a success very quickly.
Couleur Pourpre, it's more of an opportunity, we had this brand in mind, in financial difficulty that we had the possibility of taking over and repositioning.
It also allows us to have brands in our portfolio that are not competing with each other: to have a brand of low-cost sandals, a brand of urban sneakers and a brand of women's city boots.

Is it hard to juggle these different worlds?
Matthieu: It's true that it's a bit sportslike internally, but style-wise, it's always different people working on each project.

Are there any challenges you face?
Matthieu: The first one is to renew and perform well every season. You also have to succeed in installing the products over time. Identifying the brand via a product is something quite strong, so it's one of our medium-term goals. The difficulties we encounter are also on supply, delays in materials, tanneries, etc. You have to know how to juggle schedules and priorities.

What are you most proud of in your journey?
Matthieu: The fact that we got to where we are today. At the beginning of the story, there were two of us going to sell our collections ourselves in the boutiques, and today we find ourselves with a team of ten people, in our own offices.

You've been a client at L'Exception since 2016, so you were a client before Anaki started at L'Exception (in 2017). Was it because you knew L'Exception that you felt like offering Anaki on the site?
Matthieu: For me L'Exception has always been a reference, as a customer and as a brand. There are many other merchant sites but they don't have this ethical and creative aspect that L'Exception exudes. At L'Exception, the customer can find pieces that they can't find anywhere else and there is a different state of mind.

What do you come to look for with us in terms of brand, product?
Matthieu: I mainly come for products that I can't find anywhere else like Nudie jeans. My wife also gave me a jacket from the brand L'Exception Paris. I also bought an Armor-Lux sweater that I have been wearing for 2 years. It's a product that lasts, the quality is always there.

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