BETC managing director Anne-Laure Brunner on the genesis, details and future aims of ba&sh’s ‘Blazers for Trailblazers’ initiative
With the aim of addressing the lack of accessible investment for female entrepreneurs, the blazers will be sold in the stores and online and all profits from the sales will go directly to the women entrepreneurs. Each piece is available as a limited series and the ba&sh items will be on sale in the US, France and China. As a company founded by two women (Barbara and Sharon, hence the name), ba&sh is also committed to writing a cheque to each of the women associated with the initiative.
At LBB we see a lot of campaigns for fashion brands, but this one goes beyond the traditional approaches retailers usually take, allowing ba&sh to pave the way.
LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to Anne-Laure Brunner, managing director at BETC, about the thinking behind the programme.
LBB> Where did this idea begin for ba&sh? For those who might be unfamiliar with the brand around the world, what was the foundation for Blazers for Trailblazers?
Anne-Laure> We pitched the brand earlier this year. They were looking for an agency that would help them articulate how different a fashion brand they were.
We came in with the line “Born Collective” as they have been founded by two best friends and despite having grown tremendously, they always refer to themselves as a family.
LBB> And how did you get to this idea? What insights or strategic considerations were key?
Anne-Laure> In the wake of the launch of the Born Collective platform and founded by two female entrepreneurs, the brand wanted to ‘pay it forward’ to the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
Upon reading documentation on female entrepreneurship, we came across this terrible figure that only 3% of investment goes to female-founded ventures. And we thought: well, only 97% to go!
Interestingly enough, the blazer is both a staple of the ba&sh vestiaire and a very iconic piece of clothing to any woman meaning business. That’s how the idea of Blazers for Trailblazers came to be: renaming blazers from the collection after female entrepreneurs and giving them all the profits from the sale of their namesake blazers.
LBB> How did you select the entrepreneurs to collaborate and partner with?
Anne-Laure> With the brand operating globally, we wanted to find trailblazers in China, in the US and in Europe.
We called different organizations supporting female entrepreneurship locally and we selected the first ones whose endeavours were also aiming at supporting women - like Chloe with the first coding school for girls in Europe or Candace in the US with the female collective – or the ones proving that female entrepreneurs are definitely a source of progress, like Yemeng in China who leverages art to foster more sustainable ways of living and Emna who fights for accessible organic products.
We wanted to get started as soon as possible. Women can’t wait. So we launched the initiative as soon as we found those four. And we are already working on next year’s chapter.
LBB> This is quite an unusual project within the fashion marketing space. What do you think other brands could learn from it?
Anne-Laire> Brands have an amazing power. They are coming to realize it. They talk about it a lot in PowerPoints. But they don’t act enough on it. I am not sure I understand why. Helping out, righting wrongs is always a good idea.
Even if they start small. They should do it more. They should try things more.
LBB> What are you most excited to see develop as the campaign plays out?
Anne-Laure> This initiative will run each year. This is not so often that we find an idea that will change for real the fortune of young female entrepreneurs year after year.
This initiative matters because the brand is committed to running it long term. Which means that each year, we will change the fortune of more and more young female entrepreneurs.