Article : La Volonté des PME May 2007
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Recipient of the Logistics Innovation Award, this Berry-based SME has been hiring for nearly ten years on the fringes of a disaster-stricken sector—the textile industry.
Given the tonnes of Asian products shipped by the container-load to French ports, one might think that the textile industry has deserted France, taking with it the expertise of its seamstresses. This situation is probably true, with a few exceptions, one of which being Berry Services. In this SME with forty-five staff members, they can proudly say that many needlework craftspeople have retained their skills in France. Fast and meticulous alterations to garments, mainly from Asia, has become the cornerstone of this company, although this was by no means predestined. Founded in 1998 by Jean-Claude Benéteau, a mechanical engineer who dreamed of running his own company from a very young age, Berry Services was originally only involved in packaging. Its first big market was the customisation and packing of franc-euro converters in cardboard boxes. Then one day, the company was tasked with packaging garments of clothing. The batch contained some poorly-finished garments which were unsellable. “The customer, who was concerned, asked if I could do something about it,” recalls the company’s director. “I said yes and hurried to fetch my wife’s sewing machine. We rectified everything in record time...” From there also came the idea of offering a real supplementary service in addition to packaging. To the sewing machine, Jean-Claude Benéteau added the ironing board. Then, as the customer base grew, he took on skilled seamstresses: “We are in a region where the textile industry has been successful in the past. I had no problem in finding people who were qualified and keen.”
Putting to one side the other types of goods that had enabled it to get off the ground, the company doggedly advertised its services to customers importing clothing and even soft toys. The concept caught on straight away. “To garment packaging, we added quality control. At the request of customers, our seamstresses are able to adjust the garments we receive from A to Z," he explains.
Well-placed in this niche of textile packaging and alterations, Berry Services, owing to the quality of its work, has been noticed by major luxury brands that send their products to be processed at its premises in Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre (Indre département).
An important customer in distress recently called the company’s director. A supermarket was refusing a stock of garments whose labels were not staying on. The SME urgently collected the whole stock and the seamstresses set to work. In record time, everything was returned to normal. “I especially like these impossible situations, where you get someone out of a tricky situation. You have to listen to the customer, be responsive and forge ahead," says Jean-Claude Benéteau, who is already working on the opening of a new branch in the Marseilles region. Recruitment is on the cards: "I already have job applications and a pile of CVs on my desk," he says happily.
Par Henri de Lestapis