Damin Py, co-creator of bob the dishwasher in the Cugand factory in Vendée.
SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS / SIPA
Two young engineers launched an innovative product, an XXS dishwasher, in 2018.
The development of their business was interrupted when the Vendée company S20, where the two creators had taken up residence, closed its doors in April 2019.
At the end of the year, at a new site in Vendée, the company was able to start manufacturing and delivering Bob the Dishwasher.
“A lot of people thought we were going to sink, but we're still alive.
»Damian Py (26 years old) is co-creator of Bob the Dishwasher, a miniature household appliance product 100%
made in France,
finally on the market since the end of 2020. An innovation that he imagined with Antoine Fichet (30 years old), his partner, and who almost did not see the light of day as the road to marketing the product was tortuous.
Today, while Antoine, his partner, is in Paris with four other employees, Damien and his fifty employees have been working since the end of February in a 3,000 m2 building in Cugand in the Vendée.
In the small town in the north-west of the department, a semi-trailer leaves every day filled with Bob to fulfill the various orders.
Between 150 and 200 products are produced daily.
Figures that are still unthinkable when you know the story of these two
A delivery with a good year of delay
Small step back.
Two and a half years ago, more exactly.
After having tested their dishwasher, “the most compact and the fastest in the world”, in a cellar for a year, Damien and Antoine set up shop on the S20 site in La Roche-sur-Yon in Vendée, France. summer 2018 to start manufacturing and then marketing their product.
But nothing goes as planned.
April 2019, the S20 site closes.
"We found out during the day, not even before ..." The two creators find themselves without premises and can no longer honor Bob's 6,000 pre-orders on time.
“We quickly reassured people, they were keen on this French-style production,” explains Damien.
Suddenly, they supported us.
Only 500 people will ultimately ask for the refund.
The others (who had paid 100% of the money) are arming themselves with patience.
"There were moments of doubt ...", admits Damien today.
A doubt that fades (a lot) when their company Daan Tech arrives in March 2020 in Cugand in a former sportswear production site.
Here again, luck almost turned its back on the two creators.
"We received all the parts in extremis, the last day before confinement," smiles Damien.
Last September, "with a year late", the first orders dating from 2018 can finally leave.
“A relief”, according to Damien, but also the beginning of other problems for these very young entrepreneurs.
“There were a lot of things to manage afterwards, after sales service, marketing, etc.
Sell more to sustain the 50 jobs
1,500 Bobs are sold every month (on the website), but the goal is to reach 3,000 to sustain the 50 jobs.
"We will go back to 35 people if we stagnate at 1,500 monthly sales, a figure that allows us to be profitable", describes Damien.
In the meantime, in Cugand, the boxes are piling up.
"It's a bit of a dream ...", slips, all smiles, Damien, in front of the mountain of orders.
On the production line, young employees are busy.
“It takes forty minutes of assembly for a Bob.
At the end of the line, the miniature dishwasher, sold at the entry level for 350 euros (440 euros with all options) and available in twelve colors, is tested and then packed before finishing in the semi-trailer.
Bob's production line.
- SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS / SIPA
The two creators do not want to stop there.
Their aim is to expand internationally: in the Benelux, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Japan.
In the land of the Rising Sun, the mini dishwasher is very popular.
“We're going to send someone over there to do prospecting and promotion in June.
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