Francfranc: beauty for interior decor since 1992
Francfranc is feminine, bold and creative brand born in 1992 in Japan, Tokyo.
Part of the company Francfranc Corporation’s portfolio, Francfranc is renowned for its constant creativity along with amazing in store sceneries (called visual merchandising display for the expert out there).
With more than 140 stores and headquarters in Tokyo and Hong Kong, Francfranc is the brand to monitor and hope to see expanding globally. It’s new, it’s fresh and this is all what we need right now from Asia to the West.
backAfter insights: from Bals to Francfranc corporation.
Francfranc is almost a 30 years old brand!
The story started in 1990 with the creation of the company Bals Corporation in Japan by the founder and current president Mr. Fumio Takashima. Along with Francfranc stores, the company was operating BALS stores (luxury imported furniture and accessories). With the core business being focused on Francfranc, the company changed its name in 2017 to Francfranc Corporation.
Japan being sometimes a pretty hermetic country, it is possible that you may have never heard of the brand. It happens a lot with major brand in Japan solely focused on local market. But there is two reasons why chances are you already know about Francfranc.
First, there’s 6 major stores in Hong Kong, infamous for being an international hub. Hong Kong provides the right exposure for Japanese brands to reach out an international audience and it works! About 20% of Hong Kong island stores (Causeway bay, Tai koo, Central) serves clients with an international background. When asked about what is so particular about the brand, international consumers will usually reply: unique, cute, sophisticated with clearly a typical Japanese focus to the details.
Secondly, Francfranc was among the first in Japan to create immersive experiences in store 20 years ago. With prime spots such as the flagship store in Aoyama Tokyo, Francfranc’s stores are a visual experience and a place where it feels good to discover, interact and buy.
After all, isn’t logical for a lifestyle brand, focused on interior decor to make you feel home when you come in its stores?
THE FOUNDER DNA
Nothing is more important than the founder DNA when it comes to brand longitivity.
Fumio Takashima founded Francfranc Corporation (previously Bals Corp. as we saw above) in 1990 and remains today and active president/CEO as well as an important advisor when it comes to product design.
With more than 2000 employees, the core concept of the founder “A Life Of Color” is present at every level of the company, through products to sales division.
More than 6500 references in store.
OK, i won’t lie. There is wide choice of products at Francfranc. From the living to the bathroom, you’ll find a brand with cuteness at every stage and innovative idea to make you everyday life simpler. One major hit product is the FRAIS, HANDY FAN 2-WAY. It is a perfect portable rechargeable fan to keep fresh on the go in summer time. This is what I love about Francfranc. Yes, it’s an interior home decor brand. But they are willing to challenge the market and consumers with new products and accessories that are not related to traditional home decor brands. In that sense, Francfranc is more of a lifestyle than properly an interior brand.
A different vision of the Japanese lifestyle.
When it comes to Japan, we all have a specific image in mind. And for 90% of us, it is fair to say that our image represents the slow lifestyle for the Kyoto’s streets. Houses made of wood, small shops selling Wagashi (和菓子 or Japanese Traditional Sweets) with at every corner a chance to bump into an elegant lady from another time wearing a kimono (きもの/着物). Actually, it exists and it is as i describe in the Gion Kyoto area. But Japan is also and mostly Tokyo: neon colors, extravagant, noisy and silent on the same time, with touches of beauty everywhere. Francfranc clearly represents the modern society of Japan. Products are fashionable, made to last and with a lot of vibrant colors. You’ll find a lot of trendy items Made in Japan in Francfranc’s stores with a sense of modernity.
CUTE AND VIBRANT IN JAPAN ALSO MEANS QUALITY
Chances are you already encounter the word “Kawai”. Written in Japanese hiragana with the caracters かわいい, Kawai is a general term in Japan referring to cute, pleasant, good looking things and people (ladies, for boys we’ll say Kakkoi).
In Japan, cute is everywhere and you’ll literally hear the term every 5 minutes in the streets. Japan is the birth place of cuteness.
When it comes to products, I believe that there is a misconception that good looking things, color and fashionable, cannot be durable and sustainable. It is another point where Francfranc performs well. You’ll find plates that are pleasant to look, to touch and also made in Japan with a particular attention to the quality grade. Products are not only original but sophisticated and made to stay.
Francfranc mixes two important cultural parts of the Japanese society: kindness (represented by the Kawaii concept) and hospitality (omotenashi concept, leave a comment if you want to learn more about it). The result are amazing and fun products to decorate your homes.
IF YOU WANT TO SHOP FRANCFRANC PRODUCTS
If you live in Asia, you’ll find more than 135 stores in Japan (flagship store in Aoyama) and 6 stores in Hong Kong (flagship store in Causeway Bay). A google search will quickly indicate the nearest store for you. Search with the teams “Francfranc” or “フランフラン”.
If you are in Paris this summer 2020, you’ll also have the opportunity to discover a Francfranc Studio store (mini selection of products) in the 17th area. More info here. Limited store up to 31st August 2020.
We also invite you to check out the below website:
francfranc.com -> japanese main website, deliveries in Japan only.
hk.francfranc.net -> Hong kong website, deliverys in Hong Kong only.
Francfranc is primarily focused in its domestic markets but we’d love to see them expanding to the West. We need interior brands with a different vision to shake off our decor. We need Japanese brands to show their potential.There is more about Japan that the idealistic image we all have of Kyoto. Japan is modern, electric, noisy but on the same time, kind and calm. This is a contrast we love at backAfter and Francfranc knows how to bring it up through amazing in store display and products design.