develop or die. For François Roberge, President of La Vie en Rose, that is the definition of retail. This explains his urge for food for progress.
He’s not well-known, however the chain of lingerie shops he acquired in 1996 has gone from 26 shops to 400 shops. Its gross sales quantity jumped from $12 million to $550 million. Higher but: The corporate emerges from the pandemic with none debt, and continues to fund its progress. To present you an thought of the tempo, 45 shops have opened within the final 3 years!
I realized a lesson from the disaster of 2008. I had money owed and we put the financial institution into particular accounts. I promised myself to make it as much as everybody and get my freedom again,” says the entrepreneur, who has since purchased again the shares owned by Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and nonetheless has the money to maneuver ahead.
Accounting hates. However he managed to get good.
From ground to underwear
François Roberge is the son of a farmer and was destined for the farm. However not glad together with his wage, he left the nest and went to the large metropolis, the place his uncle employed him as a truck driver. The uncle in query was Paul Delage Robertage, president of the San Francisco group and founding father of Les Ailes de la Mode.
“He instructed me: you go to CEGEP and college, in any other case I received’t hold you,” recollects my nephew, who juggled work and examine, after which climbed the ladder for fifteen years.
“I’m an entrepreneur, deeply. And after the journey with my uncle, I appeared for a possibility to manage my very own future. I used to be searching for something: possibly it was attire, menswear, childrenswear, however I needed a small chain of shops,” he says.
With a down cost of $70,000, he purchased La Vie en Rose, primarily based in Toronto and current in 5 counties. It was dropping cash, however the younger entrepreneur would rapidly make operations worthwhile and open different shops. As an alternative of promoting the identical manufacturers as La Baie, Sears, and Eaton, its rivals on the time, he was within the course of of making his personal model, which might turn out to be the one one bought in his shops.
In 2004, the primary steps outdoors. Errors alongside the way in which, however lastly the wind is within the sails. Right this moment, La Vie en Rose has shops in 19 nations, largely within the Center East and Asia. It operates with 5 factories to fabricate and promote 25 million items yearly.
“If you are able to do enterprise in Quebec, you are able to do it wherever on the planet,” says François Roberge with confidence.
“In 2024, we plan to arrange our first retailer in the USA. This might be my final huge mission earlier than I hand it over to my daughter and son.”
La Vie en Rose is an actual household affair. François Roberge additionally works there together with his spouse, whom he met 40 years in the past when she was operating a San Francisco group retailer. He’s provide you with his newest strategic plan, which is able to develop the corporate “aggressively” by 2028. A horizon that appears like his expiration date as president.
“I don’t need to be like others who keep lengthy and make selections primarily based on their previous. Particulars are techno in the present day. Younger individuals have sharper reflexes than I do. As I become older, I’ll turn out to be a hazard to the corporate,” he predicts.
It routinely identifies itself as A Workaholic. So I ponder how he’ll flip the web page on his life as a businessman. There are many presidents who’ve a tough time doing that…however François Roberge instructed me to not fear about it. He has a farm, he can return to the land, to his roots. And whoever has been to factories and outlets all his life believes that visiting nations may also be good.
- Founding 12 months: 1986
- Founder: Harry Kanner
- In a spot Head workplace : Montreal
- Area of exercise: Lingerie and retail
- Variety of staff : 4500
Profile of Françoise Roberge
- job : president
- age : 60 years previous
- schooling: HEC, Advertising and marketing and Finance