“I decided not to study after my baccalaureate and opened a clothing store”

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Louise Dindault, 22 ans, a repris un dépôt-vente à Riom début 2020.

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Posted on Nov 22, 2021, 12:03 PMUpdated Nov 22, 2021, 12:34 PM

“My high school years in Riom were complicated. I struggled with the fact that one person who was supposed to have the knowledge would impart their knowledge to a whole class who spent their day sitting listening to lessons.

And I wondered about the interest of what we were taught. In maths, for example, no matter how hard I tried to learn how functions worked, I didn't remember anything. I wondered how that would be useful to me in life, and thought that maybe it would be more relevant to teach us concepts like benevolence, respect and sharing.

“With or without approval”

I had no idea what I wanted to do later, but I was sure of one thing: I didn't want to go to college. In final year, all my classmates indicated their wishes on the APB orientation platform (post-baccalaureate admission). Not me.

My teachers told me: “Come on Louise, make at least one wish just in case …” I refused. I didn't want to momentarily take the place of someone who would be stressed out about being on the waiting list when I was sure I didn't want to study. My parents supported me. Maybe because they knew that with or without their approval, I would do what I wanted (laughs).

Six months in civic service

I got my bac L with a fairly good mention, without having any real perspective. I didn't want to vegetate at home, so I went to the local mission in Riom to tell them that I was looking for a job. I was told that the local Carrefour needed help. I tried, but quit after two and a half months, convinced that it wasn't for me in the long run.

New passage to the local mission, where I explain this time that I am looking for a social mission. I am recommended to do a six-month civic service in a reception center for asylum seekers run by the State and by Emmaus, not far from my home. Bingo.

“I liked to see them leave with a smile”

There, I'm in charge of the locker room. People donated to us, and the clothes were sold for a few Pounds. I mobilized asylum seekers to give me a hand, just to keep them occupied during the day. I liked to see them leave with a smile and clothes that fit them well.

I then realized that I liked the business, that I appreciated building customer loyalty, advising them, managing a team, organizing the store.

Once this civic service was finished, I followed a training course in social and solidarity economy of about two months at Crefad de Saint-Etienne, a popular education association. I imagined opening a cultural thrift store, but it required a good amount of money that I didn't have.

Take over a store

Following this training, it was necessary to do an internship abroad. I flew to Greece, to a refugee training center in Athens. There, I was in charge of the sewing department. I supervised the workshop and went to markets and shops to see what was strategic to produce. An exciting six-month experience… and during which I met my Syrian companion!

There, I spoke by phone with Cécile, the manager of a consignment shop in Riom where I had done my third year internship. She was looking for a buyer. I told myself that it was the opportunity or never to give it a try! My past experiences had confirmed my appetite for commerce and clothing.

A loan from Adie

Back in London, I met two banks to request a loan of 3,000 Pounds, in order to buy back the business and refresh the 50 square meter store, accompanied by a 10 square meter back store. No news… The Espace Info Jeunes de Clermont-Ferrand recommended that I turn to Adie, an association whose goal is to enable people who do not have access to conventional bank loans to set up their business thanks to a microcredit and to be supported.

Adie granted me this sum, thanks to which I launched my business in March 2021. The principle: individuals drop me off their clothes. If these sell, they get half the sale price, me the other half. If the item of clothing does not sell, they can pick it up, or leave it to me so that I can donate it to a partner association of the store.

A viable business

My first year of activity was turned upside down by the various confinements. At the beginning, I worked in parallel a day and a half a week in a leisure center, to be sure to have at least a small income. I quit this job in April 2021 and have been able to earn a salary from the shop ever since.

I really like the fact that I can organize myself as I see fit and take initiatives without having to get the green light from someone above me. In December for example, I offered artisans to exhibit for free in my shop.

The most difficult for me in entrepreneurship? The administrative burden. For example, I received a letter from bailiffs telling me that I had not declared my Business Property Assessment, with a huge penalty to be paid. I did not even know that it existed ! I called them in panic and we sorted it out without paying a penalty, but it can be emotionally complicated to have to deal with all this paperwork at times.

At the moment, I only sell clothes for women. I would like to open a shop for men. In the age of online sales platforms like Vinted, I am convinced of the value of physical stores, with human contact, advice, and very few intermediaries.

My dream: to launch a cultural thrift store, a hybrid space where there would be clothes, but also exhibitions, concerts… I don't know exactly where. But rather in a city like Riom, a place between the big city and the countryside where anything is possible. “


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