Self-taught, they launched their brand

Let go of everything to build a business around a passion. Five self-taught creators tell us how they got started.

The start

It all starts with a trip to Maud Bonnet. “Strolling the alleys of the souks of Marrakech , I saw all these beautiful kilims tissues,” says the entrepreneur who lives in the eighteenth arrondissement of Paris. She manufactures a single pouch with leather and a piece of fabric. On her return to France, this press attaché meets many people who ask her to give them back. Sarendip was born. “Nothing was intentional.”
For Leia Sfez, this begins with an observation. “For my daughter, I found nothing really comfortable with enough design patterns emerging codes of the child ,” she says. The young mother then sews leggings in a single piece for her elder. His talents as a professional photographer and the originality of the models do the rest. “They got noticed on Instagram right from the start. I found a name, Diapers and Milk and launched the e-shop, “is she recalls. Student in literature at the Sorbonne, Louise Damascus manufactures jewelry inspired by tutorials on YouTube. “At first it was for fun and then I started selling them. Then it quickly took a lot of scope so I created the brand, “she says.

For Alix D. Reynis , this love for manual labor is first left to the rank of passion for some years. After studying law, she made sculpture. Then plunges back into the books in order to become a notary’s clerk. The click occurs at the birth of her fourth child. “As soon as I could financially I made porcelain and I did not regret,” she says. It is a desire for freedom that led Julie and Melissa to launch their brand stationery Season Paper . Formed both in weaving and already owning a studio together, they also share this love for drawing by hand. “Moving from textile to stationery has allowed us to take out the motifs that make us happy and resemble us,” explains Julie.

The first difficulties

“To launch your brand is a freedom in creation, but you have to do everything yourself and sometimes you doubt,” decrypts Louise Damas. Business plans, distribution networks, orders and websites … You often have to find everything on the job. And very fast for most. “When I did my first business plan it was like I had to learn Chinese. Today, it seems simple to me but at the time it was horrible, “Alix D. Reynis enjoys. If her legal training allowed her to apprehend the creation of the statutes, the designer of porcelain and jewelry had to arm itself with patience for her learning in the world of commerce.

Same fight for Julie and Melissa who plunged in the large distribution of the stationery. “We had to learn to do everything from the creation of the motive to the sale by way of the design of the objects, the research of the manufacturers, the prospecting of distributors, the construction of the website, accounting, communication …” , Lists Julie.

Produce in large quantities

And each to report his fears in building his brand. The orders that thrill, the dizzy figures but also the learning of production in large quantities. “It’s always very anguishing to launch a production of 30,000 notebooks, these are aberrant sums,” Melissa admits. A discovery also for Alix D. Reynis who was doing everything by hand. “I did not know how to produce in series with molds,” she concedes. At first, she fumbles before meeting someone who will teach her. “Sculpting a piece is not complicated, what is difficult is to create the tool that will make it possible to reproduce it.”

Leia Sfez is also quickly overwhelmed by the interest aroused by her leggings for children. “I did not even have time to think it became a brand,” says the founder of Diapers and Milk. Her husband leaves his job to follow her in the adventure. “We had only a seamstress in Paris and we made all the packages at home at night,” she says. When hundreds of orders fall on them, they are forced to take a break for long months in order to find a production in Portugal. “Every morning I woke up and wondered if I was going to continue.” It was in 2014. Since then, everything has started again and Leia Sfez is now considering a women’s collection.

The entourage

The key to their success often rests on those around them. Mentors , acquaintances, friends or spouses entrepreneurs … each has a way to surround to avoid loneliness incumbent on entrepreneurship. Maud Bonnet organizes co-working days at her home. “We were sitting around my kitchen table. We helped each other, it was our way of being colleagues, “she recalls. An entourage who plays both technical and creative matters. “I admire the creators who work alone because sometimes you need to cry and be supported,” confesses Leia Sfez. Julie and Melissa share their workspace with other people in Montreuil. “We have a small panel on the spot so when we launch the collections, we can ask them for their opinion,” says Melissa.

Alix D. Reynis also talks about important encounters. “By chance, I found a woman who was a modeler-moulder, it was she who trained me to make molds and turn the plaster. For jewelry, Myrtille Beck explained everything from A to Z and gave me the contacts of its suppliers, “says the one who opened her shop last May. Louise Damas has chosen to associate. “I worked three years alone in a workshop. It’s difficult, we feel a little isolated, “she says. She meets Claire from the Fauvette brand, at an ephemeral boutique. A few months later, they open their shop. “We had the same desires and especially to have a shop containing us our workshops. We wanted to meet our customers, to have a place that we personalize, “explains the designer.


“I think you have to be a little crazy when you start like this,” Melissa says with humor. “Around me, many people told me they would be too afraid of not being able to pay their rent. I never think of it, the only thing I think is the freedom that it brings me, “confesses the designer. “Create yourself what you do and set your goals, it’s ecstasy,” smiles Leia Sfez. Maud Bonnet who took over a job in addition to his mark notes an evolution in his way of working. “We know we are capable of doing everything so we have more confidence .” Louise Damascus confirmed: “I was very disorganized and I learned discipline.” A grain of madness and especially a lot of energy. “You have to work hard and be patient because it can take time,” says Reynis. “It never stops,”

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