Following a slump in the umbrella market, mainly due to competition from Asia, Gérard DELOS was made redundant in February 2000 after 23 years of service as production and design manager with DALBIN SA, one of France’s leading umbrella manufacturers.
Faced with a gloomy prospect, he thought about becoming a contract worker in show business, which would have let him give full rein to his love of the guitar and French song.
In the end, he realized that he could use all his 23 years’ experience to fulfil a long-standing dream of his, design a really innovative umbrella.
The aims behind the concept
1. Reproduce any image in its entirety on the umbrella cover:
This is not as straightforward as it may sound. The workaround is to make a cover consisting of a single piece of fabric on which all the images and patterns can be planographically (the flatbed technique) printed in one go.
2. Change the “utilitarian” image of umbrellas:
Gérard DELOS wants to dispel the utilitarian image of umbrellas, even when they are bought as fashion accessories.
His idea is to take art to the street using the umbrella as the medium. That’s how he came to the idea of printing artists’ paintings on umbrella canopies, thereby “turning the street into an art gallery”.
3. Solve the after-sales problem:
An after-sales service is not a profitable venture, the costs involved in the quality umbrella market being prohibitive. Since the ribs are what break most often, customers need to be able to order spare parts so that they can replace them themselves.
Gérard DELOS has therefore designed an umbrella that is easy to dismantle and repair.
The concept of a square umbrella that is fully adjustable, easy to dismantle and customize, is born.
After several months spent on research, Gérard DELOS filed a 20-year patent for “a fully adjustable weather protection device” on 1st August 2000.
He set up a private company on 2nd August 2001: by filing the patent in his own name, he has secured lasting protection of his umbrella concept.
Since no after-sales service is necessary for his product, Mr DELOS has taken on the task of running his business entirely on his own, controlling the whole process from manufacturing and order processing to sales. At the outset, he contracted out the cutting and sticking processes to local companies in the Cantal, but from 1st July 2003 he has taken this over himself.
The “Carré DELOS” has found a new market niche for the umbrella as a fashion accessory and revitalized the upper end of the market with this innovative product concept.
The “Carré DELOS” is a fully customizable umbrella comprising four parts: the handle, the shaft, the rib system and the canopy, which can be chosen separately.
All the accessories are interchangeable; the after-sales service only handles the supply of spare parts to customers, who can then easily assemble them themselves (screw-in assembly) without the need for any special tools.
A Delos-France exclusivity in 2003: We can now make a bespoke umbrella. The customer simply sends the image or document he wants printed on his umbrella to the DELOS France web site (or he can send it by post).