Written on 10 February 2015.
EDHEC alumna Béatrice de Montille (GE 1999), a successful e-commerce entrepreneur, recently welcomed a group of MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management students to her London workshop for a close-up look at her start-up business in the heart of London.
Students travelled by private coach from Lille and arrived at Merci Maman headquarters just in time for a mid-morning cup of tea. Béatrice and her husband, Arnaud, who is co-founder of the business, welcomed students and introduced them to the staff of 13, including two recent EDHEC alumni.
Béatrice, a former sales and marketing professional, founded the company in 2007. At the time, she was looking for more flexibility (she is the mother of 4 children) and also wanted to create something of her own. Flash forward to 2014, the year Merci Maman celebrated £2 million in sales and the title of Best SME/Entrepreneur from the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain. In 2015, Béatrice plans to increase marketing efforts and expand her business to Europe and North America.
During their tour of Merci Maman, students looked at photos of some of the famous people who have been spotted wearing Béatrice’s beautiful personalised necklaces and bracelets, including Kate Middleton, who received a necklace after the birth of her son. Students also had the chance to witness the engraving process and ask questions about e-commerce strategy. They commented on the non-hierarchical organisation of Merci Maman, where everyone does a bit of everything, including gift wrapping and order confirmation.
EDHEC Professor Olivier Beddeleem, who accompanied the students on their London trip, said that he wanted them to experience the “start-up” boom that is taking place in the British capital, and to spend time with Béatrice and her team to see how entrepreneurship works on a day-to-day basis.
After the visit to Merci Maman, students went around London to meet with other entrepreneurs. They had to interview these entrepreneurs about their experience and take notes for discussion later with the rest of their class. The day wrapped up with a hot plate of fish and chips at a neighbourhood pub. Cheers!