Through Anne-Sophie Hourdeaux
Born in Le Havre in Normandy in 1922, Lepage jewelery celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Established in Lille since 1971, the family business, always led by the 5th generation Lepages, celebrates its anniversary with a new collection. An exceptional advertising campaign will be broadcast throughout the territory.
Born in Le Havre in 1922
When we say Lepage in Lille, we think of jewels and diamonds with a thousand lights. What we know less is that behind this brand there is a real family saga. Born in Le Havre in 1922, from the will of two brothers, Gaston and Gaston Lepage, the first store specialized in hats and optics.
In 1939, Lepage moved to Rouen, and at that time became a jewelry store, and even the largest jewelry store in France in 1949.
The Lille adventure began in 1971. First based on rue Nationale, the store initially had a large section dedicated to tableware. The installation on the Place de la Bourse in the 1990s corresponds to a refocusing on jewelry.
The 5th generation in 2022
A second store opened in Lille in 2020. It is located just opposite the first! Proof of the deployment of the brand, a little cramped within its walls.
Here is the 5th generation for the Lepage company! They are three in Lille to manage the site: Julie, Edouard and Sébastien Lepage. A trio of thirty-somethings who want to combine tradition and modernity.
Modernity comes from the use of 3D software and even 3D printers in the personalization of jewelry.
Its own brand for 2 years
The creation of the website dates back to 2010; digital now accounts for 25% of turnover, which has made it possible to limit the impacts of the closure for 3 months of the first confinement in 2020.
An important milestone for Lepage was the creation in 2019 of its own brand. It represents 5 million euros of annual turnover out of 30 million. “Our own brand now accounts, 2 years after its launch, for 50% of our jewelery offer! says the Lepage trio.
An ethical and eco-responsible approach too, from mine to shop window
Lepage wants to go further in the transparency of the origin of the jewels, and in its carbon footprint. The ethical approach is part of the values it wants to develop. Thus, Lepage became the first independent multi-brand house to obtain RJC certification in September 2021.
RJC is the Responsible Jewelery Council. Edouard Lepage explains: “It took us 3 years to obtain a demanding international label. The whole chain is certified and must correspond to values, from the mine to the showcase… This concerns the conditions for extracting the stones in the supplier countries, the environmental dimension, the social aspect”.
It also specifies that 85% of the gold in Lepage products comes from recycled gold, that is to say, bought back from individuals. This is to avoid overexploitation of deposits, but not only: “Gold prices are currently soaring, it is a safe haven. Recycled gold is 20% cheaper…”
The second hand also concerns companies like Lepage, with watches. “On the 10th of each month, we offer our interested customers a newsletter with second-hand watches from major brands, in perfect condition, guaranteed for one year”, states Sébastien Lepage.
A special 100th anniversary collection
The brand continues to innovate. For its 100th anniversary, a new collection, with 25 jewelry models, was launched, baptized “1922 the Magnificent”. With the strong symbol of the triangle diamond, which requires an advanced technique of jewelry assembly. The triangle is the Lepage emblem par excellence.
For the occasion, a watch of only 100 copies has been produced.
Some figures: 30 million turnover per year, approximately 300 stones purchased each week in Antwerp, 65 employees including 12 craftsmen in the workshops of Lille and Rouen.
Do you know that Lepage has two distinctive signs? First, a punch, representing an apple, recalling its Norman origins. And also the triangle, which has been its logo since its inception, because the founders were 3 brothers and sisters.
Another asset of the company: its repair-creation workshop, which generates 70,000 visits per year!
A competition with students
The company also wants to open up and develop projects with others. It launched in September 2021, for the first time, a competition with schools in the region.
Julie Lepage explains: “Three establishments are participating. Initially, five young people from the Rubika video game and design school in Valenciennes, eight from the Saumur jewelry institute and 70 from Esmod proposed a project. We selected 10 of them at Esmod in addition to the other schools, which makes 23 participating students. The final jury will deliberate on February 24, for a launch of a new collection in 2023”.
The young winner will receive 3,000 euros, plus a CDD in a Lepage workshop.
On the price side, prices can skyrocket when it comes to diamonds. The first price for a solitaire is 750 euros. The first budget is 230 euros for a medallion to engrave from the Colette collection.
What are the “best-off” jewels, the best-selling ones? “We have 80 models of solitaires, of which 750 were sold in 2021. The Colette medal collection is also very attractive, with 900 sales last year,” explains Julie Lepage.
Also, Lepage is recruiting. “We are looking for a watchmaking consultant and a production manager in Lille. We want people who combine knowing how to be and passion, there is a lot of knowledge to acquire,” says Julie Lepage.
Lepage will be talked about this year. You will be able to discover a special 100th anniversary advertising campaign on several media, including in the cinema!
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