It was in 1984 that I started, I drove back from a parlor in Paris and I said to myself: « "If I had a showcase in town it would be good, rather than people come only by word of mouth ». I then allowed myself to reflect, hesitating between Roanne and Montbrison.
It was in 1984 that I started, I drove back from a parlor in Paris and I said to myself: "If I had a showcase in town it would be good, rather than people come only by mouth to hear ". Roanne was too big in my eyes. In Montbrison, I already had a few clients, I had two children and I thought it was a human-sized city. And there, I found a house in Rue Tupinerie, it's a pal who told me that his cousin sold it.
I found it too beautiful for me at first, I was sure it would be too expensive for me and I could not buy it. I waited two months before contacting the owner. On a Thursday afternoon, I call the lady: "Good morning Madame Marcoux, I call from Jean-Luc, he told me that you sell ...". She cut me off at once, surprised she said: "But how do you know?" "It was Jean-Luc who explained to me that your house was for sale." "No, but how do you know that the sale has broken?" - I did not know - Because yesterday we had to sign the sale and the person has withdrawn. I signed the compromise of sale of the house in July 1984, happy with my luck in this case. If I had called her a few days earlier, she would have hung up without even taking my number and she would never have been able to call me back.
This house was really perfect for me, living space and workshop gathered, I set up after many works that I realize for the most part. I opened on October 10, 1984 in the shopping street of Montbrison. On the first day all my attention was concentrated on the windows. There were very few things because I had very few objects to show. As I already had a local clientele, people were passing by and little by little they entered, they enjoyed and made me work. I opened it all alone but after a few months, Renee my cousin came to help me, I also quickly hired a person for the administrative. Very soon there were many customers and I started to train my collaborators, some like Fredo in the workshop or Pierre-Yves almost accompany me from the beginning…
At the beginning of 1989, a journalist from Le Figaro called me: "I saw your jewels and I would like to interview you". I did not realize the importance that this request had and I waited two months before calling it back. She then said to me: "On the other hand, considering your jewels, I imagine you surely do not have a tie or a bow tie. It comes in two weeks, at least try to borrow a bow tie for the photo of the article". I then decided that I could make this concession. And I had an article of a whole page with photo and everything in the Figaro Rhône-Alpes. Overnight, I went from the marginal guy who does odd things to a more official, more approachable guy. Following the publication of the article, the mayor of Montbrison, Guy Poirieux, came to see me and said, "But how did you do it? I've been trying to get them to the city for years and I can not do it." I simply replied, "I did not do it on purpose".
An important step was the transition to society in 1996. Until then, I was always nose in the handlebars doing my stuff without asking me questions of profitability. I had a way of functioning as if I were exclusively producing unique pieces. Now the tasks are well defined and each one has its specialty, whereas before it was more a pattern where a person realized the jewel from A to Z. At one time it was necessary to rationalize the functioning of the production because we do not, Were not profitable while we had work. I had hired, we were a dozen people, the operating costs had increased and if we had not rethought the organization we would have sunk. I was helped by an accountant who referred me and allowed me to rationalize production. Everything started from a simple question he asked me: "How are you doing it? ". I explained to him my way of working and it is there that he introduced more method in our manufacture but without touching the creativity.
This level allowed me to have a more coherent functioning and to consider the possibility of opening a second shop. We had a lot of customers who came from Lyon, in 1999 we launched and we opened Rue Édouard Herriot next to Cartier, which I found quite pretentious besides. A month later it was the birth of Joséphine ...
The opening of this second shop was not a long-standing project, the idea germinated naturally. It was also necessary to have confidence in his work to invest another city. What contributed to this insurance and which also taught me a lot, are the shows. I began to pace them to expose in 1989, this desire to show my work was born of a discussion that I had with Renée. We came back from the biggest jewelry fair in the world in Basel and we said, "There is nothing like what we do, we should expose". It is the fact of being different that made us want to show our work. So we started to make shows in Germany and then in Paris, we had the chance to represent France at the Munich Fair in 1990. What is interesting in the salons is that there are A deadline, you have to be ready on D-Day and it is this challenge side that is very motivating. Besides, I did not want to arrive with conventional objects, that we see at each stand. It is in this climate, between pressure and excitement, that one gives the best of oneself. And then these exhibitions were the occasion for me to realize projects that I would never have finalized otherwise. I had a lot of ideas and I always said, "When I have the time I will do that", except that the time is running after. But the shows forced me to meet the challenges of the projects I had.
On the commercial level and notoriety it was important for us to go to the shows, it allowed us to present our work to international visitors. We were quickly noticed by the public, the majority of people came to see the brands of prestige, to the very "classic" achievements and we had jewels that were so different from these standards. Having creations a little at the margins means that either people do not like it, or they adhere completely and they do not come back to traditional brands. There is no middle ground.
It was interesting to compete too, when there are brands like Cartier, Chaumet or Bulgari, you have to be good and the people I've traveled with were always 100% motivated. It was an advantage to have colleagues who got involved so much, we are in a region where the feeling of belonging to a group, a common cause is very important and that is what has made our strength. Faced with the competition that sent only representatives, it was really an asset.
At the end of the 90s, we went regularly to Paris to participate in exhibitions of jewelry designers. To put it simply, there was the whole Place Vendome ... and Tournaire, the only provincials. This exhibition was called "Joaillerie", it was held once a year, it had to be selected to participate and it was closed enough to make a place. We got there, we did the 1998, 1999 and 2000 editions; and that created a notoriety in Paris.
The salons were the occasion to point out among the other Jewelry Houses, but not that thanks to the jewels that we presented.
There was a real half-Jaguar in the shop in the rue Tupinerie in Montbrison, cut in the length, that I had fitted into a window. She came with us to every salon or exhibition, which was no small matter to carry. But the passion made us indestructible and once on the spot the showcase had its effect on the public. Besides, at the first exhibition we made, we sold it. The people who bought it exported it to the United States and the chance made me find it a few years later in New York on Broadway. But it must be known that this first car window was not a Jaguar, it was a Danshun that I had made unrecognizable, it had a style a little "Destroy" ... The concept of this car cut has always created the buzz , He even happened to illustrate the editorial of Option Auto and several articles were devoted to him.