Where did your paths first cross?
Christian: Philippe graduated from EDHEC in 2003, and I was class of 1993. We met while working at the same company in 2010. The EDHEC connection was a great icebreaker. We bonded right away.
How did ManoMano get started?
Philippe: We both knew we weren’t cut out for the investment fund business. In fact, Christian already had some entrepreneurial experience, and I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur. We both aspired to launch a business, so we thought, why not do it together? In 2011 we decided to create a startup.
Christian: It took more than a year to find the right project. We wanted to do something brand new, innovative, useful, and of course, profitable. Strategic mapping of our personal interests revealed overlap in two areas: fine wine and DIY. To our surprise, no DIY offering existed in the digital space in France or anywhere else. So we found our niche. Then we asked ourselves, “Where do we start? By building up the client base or the catalog, or focusing on the product offering?” We focused on the offering and on getting clients to bite, which they did.
ManoMano has grown a lot faster than expected. What are your keys to success?
Christian: Choosing the right market niche and recruiting a great team have been key to our success. In terms of recruiting, we look for two things: “savoir-faire” and “savoir‑être.” We’ve been known to refuse brilliant technicians if their egos are too big. We seek people who share our values of kindness, boldness, speed and ingenuity.
Philippe: There are plenty of young people on board including 10 EDHEC alumni. We also managed to poach top talents from large firms to take on management, sales, marketing, finance, business intelligence and operational roles. Even with more than 100 people on staff, we remain agile.
This article was published in Otherwise #4. Did you enjoy reading it? Subscribe to Otherwise, the EDHEC Business Magazine>>