“Wealth manager, I became a leather craftsman”

Sent April 13, 2022, 9:13 amUpdated April 13, 2022 at 9:22 am

“In my third year, while researching the Internet for my orientation, I discovered the profession of wealth manager, which seems to me to combine consulting, sales, technicality and knowledge. Curious and dynamic by nature, I am convinced that this profession can match my personality.

After my studies at EBS Paris (European Business School), I joined an asset management company. The missions correspond well to what I imagined when I was younger. On the other hand, I find the atmosphere too competitive and you have seen me. And like many trade-oriented exchanges, it’s numbers first.

At that moment, I felt like I lacked the maturity to practice this profession. I advise young professionals, couples, families, retirees on issues of savings, succession, retirement preparation… And this, while I just graduated! I still live with my parents, I have no children and I don’t necessarily find myself in their problems. I don’t really feel legitimate, nor in my place.

Bank experience

After two years spent in two companies, I decided to join the bank to have a less sustained work pace with fixed hours and days. My ambition: to climb the ladder and evolve as long as possible in the same company.

And there is a cold shower. I find myself selling home, car, laptop insurance … Products that don’t interest me. Above all, I find my work too administrative and the development prospects seem long and limited. I realize that I am not made for this position, where I am not good at an administrative level. A statement shared by my employer, which does not follow my probationary period.

Then I wonder what my future is. What to do ? Back to finance? To travel? Create my property? At that time, my twin sister Virginie, with whom I am very close, owns a leather goods brand that is struggling to take off.

It is quite natural that you join me in your project. I don’t know anything about entrepreneurship or craftsmanship, but I tell myself we can combine our knowledge. Together, we decide to overshadow the marketing of her brand to focus on the restoration and maintenance of the bags.

Several things lead us to think that our project has potential: we all have a nice piece we care about (a family bag, a bag bought with the first salary, etc.), the after-sales service of luxury homes is too much. limited, the second-hand market is developing and the renewal of bags is a niche business. Our ambition: to offer an alternative to the services offered by luxury homes, with the same level of needs but shorter delivery times and lower prices.

Several outlets

We started our business in March 2019 under the name L’Atelier 23/11 and four months later we opened a shop / workshop in the 16thAnd district of Paris. We are very complementary: Virginie is the manager of the workshop, manages the four employees we have hired, trains them, repairs and renews the leather goods, designs, organizes and coordinates the production, while I take care of the customers, communication, accounting, collaborations … I am still new in the restoration and maintenance of bags, but I am learning on the job and I regularly give a hand in the workshop.

Laurent and Virginie Boukobza opened their bag refurbishment and repair workshop in Paris in the summer of 2019.DR

We opened a second store at the end of September 2021 in the CAP3000 shopping center in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, near Nice. Our project is working as we hoped and 2022 promises to be a good year, with the opening of a second Parisian workshop and the hiring of new employees.

What satisfies me the most: building and making our project grow and being able to undertake it as a family. In terms of craftsmanship, it’s extremely rewarding to be able to give a second life to vintage pieces that tell a story. But entrepreneurship isn’t easy. We have a form of pressure: we operate in the world of luxury and our customers are very demanding. We don’t count our hours and sometimes we have disappointments, such as projects that don’t materialize or slip, particularly due to difficulties in recruiting.

And financially? At the moment I would have a higher salary if I had stayed in wealth management, but this is not my priority. And in the end, I’m sure my income will be higher.

I am a dreamer and my ambition is to multiply our stores and why not open a leather school specialized in repairs. “

To notice

If you too have a good (or less good) story to tell, do not hesitate to contact us: redaction-start@lesechos.fr

And to read more inspiring testimonials, it’s HERE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.