Over 200 boutiques from all over France created a buzz last week with the bold hashtag #actionculottée and a campaign that was humorous, yet based on real demands. They each sent a pair of panties with a letter to the Prime Minister to make their distress and incomprehension loud and clear about the new measures taken as part of this third lockdown.
We therefore very much wanted to meet Aline Tran, founder of the gorgeous Parisian boutique Les Rituelles, and the one who launched this “brief, but powerful” movement!
1.Can you tell us how this “bold brief” campaign came together and with whom?
One night, I had this idea, and I suggested it to a small group of friends who are also retailers. Then I submitted the idea to the main Retailer group created by Nathalie Paredes (Sylvette Lingerie) last year.
The concept was to express our anger to the government in a peaceful and humorous way, in a letter explaining our discontent both about the so-called “non-essential” categorization of underwear and about the injustice we feel related to the opening of lingerie departments in certain supermarkets, and, more than anything, the absurdity of the overall situation. We all know that this lockdown exists in name only, and that I, like my colleagues, feel sacrificed for no reason at all. Our small shops are not where transmission rates are the highest!
I therefore wrote up a letter to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to all the distress we’re experiencing. But simply sending a letter, even if 500 people do it, would not have been effective. We had to get their attention by inundating them with a symbol that represents our industry: the little panty or brief.
There must have been about 80 of us participating at the beginning of the campaign ; and now there are around 200 of us, as you can see on this map
It created a buzz right away. The launch of the packages happened on Monday morning, April 19th. By that afternoon, the campaign was already being talked about in the media and on local radio stations.
The whole thing was organized with the help of:
- Nathalie Paredes from Sylvette Lingerie
- Anaïs Rieux from La Petite Folie
- Audrey Marie from Jolie Chose
- Aurélie Vidal from Pomponette
- Céline Menting from La Clef des Charmes
- Stephanie Lherminier from Clair de Lune
- Valérie Le Douguet from Silhouettes
- Audrey from Les dessous d’Audrey
- Jenny from Eden Lingerie
- Laurence Claudel from Laurence Lingerie
- Annabelle from Un Temps pour Elle
- Mélinda from Elodie Lingerie
- Laurence Welkenhuyzen from Les Princesses
- Caroline from Coquelicot
- Mannick from Tendre Passion
- Monique from Symphony
And also with the entire Retailer group, whose members helped us focus our demands and contacted their respective local media outlets.
2.What demands are you setting out through this campaign for our Prime Minister to address?
Here is the letter we sent to the Prime Minister, which you can discover for yourselves as an image, along with your list of demands.
But the main ones are:
- A reclassification of our shops as essential businesses, thus permitting the reopening of our boutiques
- If not, sufficient government support, notably concerning inventory, the Regional Solidarity Funds, and manager/employee or TNS compensation. We’re calling for the prorating of subsidies and not a generalized aid package.
- The implementation of a Fixed-Overhead system
- Improved supervision over sales promotions and special offers once we emerge from the lockdown (and in general), and the launch of the official sale period on July 15th
- Improved enforcement of the closure of underwear departments within supermarkets
3.What kind of future do you see ahead for this community?
We still haven’t firmly decided anything, but why not set up a formal association under the 1901 legal framework, so we can carry out other campaigns, whether they’re advocacy initiatives, like this one, or charity-driven ones.
In any case, this has shown us that it’s crucial to join forces to be heard, even if it’s sometimes challenging, because we each have our unique circumstances, notably in terms of our geographic locations and our type of clientele.