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Behind the door #2 - Hopono, Brussels

A few weeks ago, Sébastien kindly welcomed us in his concept store. A store where you can find everything you are looking for! 

Hello Sébastien, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? 

I'm Sébastien, manager of Hopono, a family concept store that we founded with my brother Jean-Philippe and my wife Julie 11 years ago. 

Have you always been in retail?

Not at all, all three of us were in other businesses.

I was in international trade, I traveled a lot, then I had children and I wanted something else. With the 2008 crisis, the activities in which we were involved had problems and the question arose: what do we want to do? Where do we want to live? And that's when we decided to move to Brussels and open our store.

Why did you decide to open a concept store? 

We wanted to offer design and quality products, and we thought a lot about our parents' generation. That's also what kind of links us to Nooz.

Our parents had great careers, they did not have any financial issues but they could not easily find design, quality and affordable products.

That's how the idea came to us. To offer design, beautiful and quality products.  As time went by and being in a trendy area like “the Châtelain” in Brussels, our product offer evolved and we now have more and more fashionable items.

What do you think is the best thing about Hopono? 

I think it's the family aspect. Often concept stores can be a bit impressive, intimidating, impersonal, and we wanted to offer something else, something family-oriented. 

For example, sometimes when I'm in front of the store, I see children pulling their parents to enter the store. That's what we like.

At our store you can find products for 1€ as well as more expensive ones. But in the end, the most important thing is that we are able to please everyone.

We are currently in your store in Brussels, but you also have a presence online, right? 

Yes, since the beginning but since the COVID pandemic happened everything has accelerated. 

At the beginning, 90% of our turnover was made on the French market, because of the atypical referencing.  But today, we focus on the Belgian market, we even deliver to Brussels using bikes.

Speaking of COVID, has it affected Hopono's daily life? 

We are lucky because we have a wide range of products to sell. It can be anything from sneakers to jewelry, from plants to glasses for example. So yes, it is true that the "gift" sector has been more affected, but as we also sell products such as decoration, we have done well. 

The biggest change was that we could no longer be in the store to assist our customers, so we were behind our computers. We were able to take the time to work on our e-shop so we were very prepared for the second lockdown!

We were also able to recruit someone to take care of the website and social media.

As you said just now, you sell glasses in your store. How long have you been working with Nooz? 

Since the beginning of Nooz, when your office was in Brussels. One day, Alex and Olivier came and we immediately found the Original concept very nice, different.

You have been offering Nooz for almost 7 years. Do you find that there is a particular type of customer ? 

It's quite interesting, the Original model appealed a little more to men, for the compact, easy-to-use aspect. But the Essential opened the prism and rallied a more fashion-oriented clientele. Today it's a brand for everyone, men, women, children…

What do you think your customers like the most about Nooz?

The comfort and lightness without any doubt. It is a brand that triggers surprise, the glasses are not like the others, it is not common. 

Is there a pair that stands out, your best seller?  

Yes of course, the Cruz sunglasses in Honey!

The Good Nooz you've been waiting for!

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