ROBIC APPLAUDS THE GENEROSITY AND INGENUITY OF ITS CLIENTS. HERE IS THE INSPIRING STORY OF POLARMADE!
Its e-commerce strategy has allowed Québec-based PolarMade’s new reality to gain momentum locally and internationally. Due to its flagship product, the company from Québec has been experiencing a remarkable growth since 2017!
The inspiration to create a high-performance and safe-to-use telescopic snow rake came in a winter setting, which is well known to Quebecers. Indeed, an accumulation of snow on the roof of a chalet inspired the cofounders Benoît Mercier, actuary by training, and Benoît Lavallée, engineer, to develop a promising concept to address the challenges of snow removal from roofs.
In 2017, the creation process began with the search for tools that were already available on the market and that could meet the entrepreneurs’ requirements. Their efforts found only a single result, that of a product available in the United States, but whose components were not adapted to Canadian winters. Thus, came the idea of creating their own snow rake and the start of the PolarMade adventure. After assembling a business plan to obtain financing, the start-up began the production of a one-of-a-kind snow rake, made from Québec materials, with the help of local subcontractors and suppliers. “Our product is 95% from Québec and we are proud of it.” says Benoît Mercier, who is now the sole shareholder of PolarMade.
Soon to be patented in Canada and in the United States, the SnowPeeler snow rake for the roof entered an undeveloped market. In 2017, nearly 150 retailers were distributing the product in Québec, whereas in 2018, it could be found in almost 500 hardware stores throughout Canada and in a few stores in the United States.
The quality of the product is definitely one of the factors that explains the success of the SnowPeeler, but it is largely due to e-commerce via Amazon that the demand has exploded at PolarMade, which now has a warehouse in Vermont.
The company currently has twelve full-time employees and is successfully meeting production and handling needs. Of note, 50% of sales are in-store and 50% online, for which Benoît Mercier is very pleased. “We have innovated with the SnowPeeler, but we have innovated with our marketing strategy and this is the key to our success. We are now present in more than 1000 hardware stores throughout North America due to our exposure generated by our all-digital marketing and advertising. We are present within giants such as Costco, Menards, etc.” rejoices Mr. Mercier.
Due to e-commerce, the product will soon be available in Europe, a market that represents 500 million people, compared to 375 million people in North America. Moreover, the company’s website will soon be translated into German.
While e-commerce has its distinct advantages and facilitates access to a product in hardware stores, Mr. Mercier specifies that the government’s help has been very helpful. Without the investments and the trade missions organized by Investissement Québec, Polar Made would not have been able to develop such a large network.
After 3 years in business, PolarMade has become a partner in the distribution sector. The president explains that selling on Amazon requires an expertise that few manufacturers have. He says that the company has acquired the necessary expertise to operationalize a large volume of sales on Amazon and it offers its distribution services to some of these manufacturers.
When asked where he sees the company in 5 years, the young entrepreneur is convinced that the SnowPeeler will be sold wherever there are roofs to be plowed and that PolarMade will distribute products from more than 30 Québec manufacturers into the United States. “Our product will be seen by 500 million Europeans without me having to travel or to go on site. The introduction of new products by new hardware manufacturers without e-commerce is almost impossible. All entrepreneurs have a duty to sell their products online.” advises Mr. Mercier. He adds that, thanks to Facebook campaigns, thousands of product demonstrations can occur in one day without any presence in-store.
Winner of the Prix les Fidéides in 2020 in the “Company of the Year – Fewer than 50 Employees” category, this family business, which places high value on cooperation and team spirit, sees itself accompanying Québec manufacturers in distributing their products into the United States in the near future.
ROBIC wishes the best success to PolarMade in the next steps of its projects, which with one click, are likely to be seen all over the world!
THEN BENCHMARK FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY