“On this one, we clearly played our lives”: a deal in times of covid
“I’ve always had a problem with the hierarchy! “Laughs Aurélien Bruna, a 2014 NEOMA Business School graduate, co-founder of Forevents. To be part of a whole without understanding all its inner workings, no way for him! Aurélien likes numbers and precision. For him, mastering everything that goes on in his business at the fingertips is essential. “From the start, it was clear that I wanted to take on! But I don’t have a very creative profile. For that, I know that I can count on my partner and best friend, Florian Roy! He was the one who took me on his adventure. ”
It was in 2015. Aurélien declines a promise of employment in a multinational to invest alongside his friend in the company Forevents, specializing in the personalization of textiles, and to take back the student market. “Very quickly, we had an idea. For a sporting event, we participated by taking our printer. Frankly, it looked more like a coffee machine back then! We printed a lot of logos on t-shirts on the spot and little by little, we wanted to do better! This event gave birth to the Printeerz terminal, exclusively dedicated to the personalization of textiles during events. The promise ? On-site printing, at the right size, with a personalized visual, all with fabrics mainly recycled or from organic farming, with a strong concern for respect for the environment.
Printeerz becomes one of the services of Forevents, which also continues to specialize in supporting and creating trendy and responsible personalized textile collections for SMEs and Key Accounts.
“In the beginning, I was fully responsible for the Printeerz brand, and Florian managed the rest of the company. But we realized that it wasn’t working: I lacked his creative mind and he lacked my analytical skills. “Because they quickly understand that their duo only works at full capacity if they really work together, Aurélien and Florian change their inner workings. “Today, I am in charge of all the financial management of the whole company and Florian is responsible for the development part. ”
If these two friends know each other so well, it is also because their collaboration is not a smooth river! These two entrepreneurs with strong character find their balance in the respectful sharing of their opinions and especially in the compromises. “Being complementary is both very positive and very tiring! »Explains Aurélien. “Despite our differing points of view and operations, we always find a central point on which to agree. This is the point that makes sense and allows us to properly develop our business with the best of both of us. ”
Always very united, it is together that they take up the biggest challenge of their career as business leaders: doing business with the largest French “sports and leisure” retailer. “It was around the time of the first lockdown. Sports shops were having a hard time getting restocked. This retailer contacted us and we signed a contract with him to deliver hundreds of thousands of organic cotton t-shirts to all stores in Europe, and all within 8 weeks. Unheard of for us! ”
“We clearly played our lives! At first, no one wanted to follow us, neither the bank, nor the suppliers! If there was a grain of sand in the cogs, we lost everything we had! “Far from being discouraged, Aurélien and Florian call on one of their clients, who has become an investor and mentor over the years, the company V and B.” I sent 150,000 euros to a supplier from my own funds, and V and B did the same. Seeing that we were “wet the jersey”, the bank finally followed us, week by week and everything went well. We paid off both the bank and V and B in less than three weeks. “Today Forevents has a turnover of 1.8 million euros and employs 12 people. “This deal has given us real legitimacy. It clearly boosted our sales. ”
However, it was not a given and many would have given up at the personal risks involved. “Being an entrepreneur also means knowing how to take risks! “Exclaims Aurélien. This crossfit, boxing and marathon runner draws his perseverance from his steel mind. “In sport and in business, the main thing is not to let go. Even when it’s difficult, even when the tunnel exit is far away, as long as you keep the faith, it will take you to the end of the world! Of course, it’s not about rushing without thinking!
Aurélien first surrounded himself with professionals by joining the NEOMA Incubators in 2018 to develop the Printeerz kiosk before taking off. “Starting a business is 95% mental burden. At first, we worked with only a month of financial visibility ahead of us, it was both motivating and very hard to live with. At such times, as during our deal, which I really appreciated being able to exchange with the other project leaders of the Parisian Incubator, and benefit from the wise advice of our coach Francois. Ultimately, it was this moral support from our community that kept us going! ”
After this challenge, which they knew how to seize, the team is currently working on the development of the Forevents franchise, the first of which has just opened in Angers and continues to innovate with Printeerz in order to reduce the footprint of the textile industry.
We wish them very good development!