Their plants are infusing Algiers
Regional President Christelle Morançais visited the Chemillé company on Friday. (Photo 00 – Fabien LEDUC)
The promise had been made in Algiers last November. Promise fulfilled this past Friday. Christelle Morançais, President of the Pays de la Loire Region, had come to Cholet that morning to meet with 90 employers from the MEDEF Employers Union. In the afternoon, she took a detour to Chemillé to visit Cailleau Herboristerie, taken in 2013 over by Mr and Mrs Brard and their son Jordan.
“In Algiers, we signed an agreement to create an Algerian/French joint venture”, explains manager Jeannine Brard, who chiefly sells bulk organic and conventional plants, as well as dietary supplements, essential oils and personalizable tea bags.
The idea with her new Algerian partner BIOPAM was to sell products from Chemillé on site and, conversely, for BIOPAM to distribute its essential oils in France.
“BIOPAM has a complete value chain, with its own on-site distribution network, and plans to open herbalist’s shops”, enthuses the Chemillé business owner. She also sees Algeria as a gateway to Morocco, another promising market in a sector inundated with Chinese products of more questionable quality, according to Jeannine Brard.
“Only 4.5% of companies choose to export”
CHRISTELLE MORANCAIS, President of the Pays de la Loire Region
Signature of this contract was only made possible thanks to the “exploratory work” conducted by the Pays de la Loire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Region and Business France, the national agency dedicated to internationalization. That trio only recently formed a sort of “Team France Export” for Pays de la Loire, encouraged by the government to bolster exports. “Only 4.5% of companies in Pays de la Loire choose to export”, laments Christelle Morançais, who is also a native of the region. She has identified three areas to explore initially: “North Africa, Asia and North America”. Based on needs identified by “special envoys”, some 20 regional companies have been invited to either Morocco or Algeria to activate new growth levers. This included a designer of software for hospitals and a manufacturer of stainless steel hooks for abattoirs… “The idea is to have a dedicated point of contact, whether you are a large group or an SME”, emphasizes the Regional President, who also wants to “tear down borders” and, with this institutional approach, customs barriers.
Exports soar by 40%
After their first trip in November 2017, the Brards confirmed an initial, encouraging order of a million bags of tea and hope in the future to be able to sell their dietary supplements overseas. “We couldn’t have done it on our own. This kind of delegation is reassuring. It makes you feel like you could actually do it”, acknowledges Nicolas Baudry, Export Manager, whose area of responsibility had only grown through “opportunism” up until now. Since establishing this partnership, an additional person has been hired to support him, and the company’s export turnover has risen by 40%. It now accounts for 15% of total turnover (€4.2 million, up 16%), compared with 11% two years ago.
It was within this context that we received Regional President Christelle Morançais this past Friday, 11 January 2019. It was a moment for sharing and discussing the work we love over a tea tasting on this occasion.
Chemillé, Zone Actiparc Pôle Ouest, Friday. Regional President Christelle Morançais, surrounded here by Jeannine (red scarf) and Jordan Brard, took the time to visit the company and enjoy a cup of tea.