ROBIC APPLAUDS THE GENEROSITY AND INGENUITY OF ITS CLIENTS. HERE IS THE INSPIRING STORY OF POCHES & FILS
Poches & Fils is known for its unique clothing creations and designs, including its original pockets distributed throughout Quebec, and also available at Simons and Sport Expert boutiques. With the arrival of COVID-19, this home-grown company has developed a new product to meet the community’s needs
Although the “paravents à postillons ” are new to the company’s inventory, the production process remains well known to this team of 25 employees. “Basically, the idea was communicated by our customers. We received a lot of requests. People told us that we made nice pockets and that we could make nice masks,” answers Anthony Vendrame spontaneously, President of Poches & Fils.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the company was forced to reduce its team to only nine employees. Anthony Vendrame explains that they needed to boost online sales: “We were looking for any means to survive,” he says, “After a few brainstorming sessions, we decided to launch a special pocket with the image of a nurse with a rainbow tattoo on her arm.” Moreover, the company decided to donate 25% of the profits to different foundations such as the Ste-Justine Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. As of today, the company is proud to see that $6,000 has already been raised. Moving forward, Mr. Vendrame plans to donate future profits to the CHSLDs, where donations are most needed.
After the special COVID-19 pocket, the Poches & Fils team decided to start the production of the “paravents à postillons” of which $1 per unit is donated to Tel Jeune. “In just one week, we sold 11,000 units and donated $10,000 to Tel Jeune.” says Mr. Vendrame proudly.
The young Poches & Fils President says that the biggest challenge came when the government announced that all nonessential businesses had to be temporarily shut down. The company had already incurred significant expenses and about a million ongoing orders could not be fulfilled. “In the current situation, everything had become a challenge. We had to make arrangements with suppliers, employees, the bank, and so on. At the same time, we had to be creative, go into solutionoriented mindset, produce with less manpower and combine this new reality to the newly found challenge of working remotely,” he explains.
To come up with a satisfactory product, they had to choose fabrics from a range of samples, go back and forth between conception and design, find a supplier for the elastics, find a professional printer that could work with their new layouts and finally, find an open and available production shop to produce their masks. The time spent in the development of an alternative solution that would be beneficial to the population while profitable for the company was therefore a very stressful period. “It’s going to take us a good year-end to get through it,” according to Anthony Vendrame.
With gradual reintegration, further challenges lie ahead. “We have to respect social distancing in the workshop. We can’t have 10 seamstresses as we did before,” he says.
The orders are coming in slowly, but Mr Vendrame is confident that social media platforms and “le masque à oreilles ”, will soon generate more business.
The company has adjusted to an exclusively online store and is glad to see corporate sales rapidly growing. In addition, companies can print their logos on the “paravent à postillons”produced by Poches & Fils.
The COVID-19 experience
Optimistically, the young entrepreneur affirms, “the great lesson this experience has taught me is that we always have to be a few steps ahead and never take anything for granted. COVID-19 has brought to light how closely knit, competent and mobilized my team is. In the future, I hope for our team to always have a lot of fun, create stronger bonds with one another and to continue to come play at work! That is my number 1 goal.”
EVERYONE AT ROBIC WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE YOU FOR YOUR INNOVATION THAT SUPPORTS OUR COMMUNITY AS WELL AS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES! CHAPEAU!
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