They tell Ankorstart

Meet Caroline and Philippe, the committed shop owners of Duo d'Intérieur in Arcachon

Want to know a bit more about the retailers supported by the Ankorstart programme? Discover the journey of two shop owners, Caroline and Philippe, and their business Duo d’Intérieur in Arcachon ,France.

Discover the Duo d'Intérieur project

Duo d’intérieur is a concept of shops imagined by Caroline Puaux Pullman and Philippe Jan Beroca, with the aim to bring French craftsmanship and designers closer to consumers, and to offer them a more positive and sustainable retail experience. 

The idea for this project was born in the minds of these two committed shop owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had a strong desire to create a project that was both supportive and profitable, and to revitalise local commerce in seaside areas that have difficulty surviving outside of the school holidays. 

The Duo d’intérieur shops are real living spaces, designed to limit their impact on the environment as much as possible. They offer products from France, items from a selection of local designers and an in-house collection created in the on-site workshops, as well as offering space for cultural events and meeting areas. 

Caroline and Phillipe set three objectives for their shops:

  1. To democratise arts and crafts
  2. To support the French, regional and local craft industry
  3. To act for a more ethical and sustainable business for tomorrow

The Ankorstart team were proud to support this ambitious project. Caroline and Philippe opened their first physical shop in July 2022 in Arcachon, and in 2023 they will open in Biarritz, Le Touquet and La Baule.

What problems did Caroline and Philippe encounter?

For Caroline and Philippe, who already have several years of experience in business creation and project management, the challenge of sourcing brands and products was the main problem. They wondered how to find their way through a huge selection of items, how to choose brands or products to ensure the success of the project and how to avoid making mistakes. 

Similarly, the next issue they experienced was financing. They questioned how to finance the purchase of the initial stock when they were on a tight timeline and whether to finance their business via bank loan, personal contribution or crowdfunding. 

Finally, in April 2022, administrative constraints pushed the Duo d’Intérieur team to bring forward the opening of their first shop from April 2023 to July 2022. The problem was then how to face the challenge of opening a shop in less than three months? 

That’s when Arnaud, Ankorstart’s expert, stepped in to answer these questions and advise Caroline and Philippe on the opening of their shop.

What support did Ankorstart offer Caroline and Philippe?

Ankorstart has supported Caroline and Philippe from the beginning of their project. From the refinement of the CSR positioning of Duo d’Intérieur to through the selection of products made in France and placing their first order on Ankorstore, Arnaud, Ankorstart’s expert, was the first to support them at each step to make their concept a reality. Their relationship is based on trust, communication and openness, and Arnaud was able to bring an external and critical eye to the business to help it grow.

For these two committed entrepreneurs, the most important thing in choosing their  sourcing platform was to share common values with it: human, local and a strong desire to develop local trade. They found the perfect partner in Ankorstore.

The creation of Caroline and Philippe’s product assortment was a meticulous project that we worked on over several weeks. They had a clear vision of the products they wanted; only handcrafted items made in France. Arnaud, Caroline and Philippe worked hand-in-hand to select the best brands from the 30,000 offered by Ankorstore to create a tailor-made assortment that perfectly suited their positioning. The team worked together via phone, email and in person depending on the availability of Caroline and Philippe. 

Arnaud also took the necessary steps and was able to secure 60-day payment terms for Caroline and Philippe from Ankorstore’s financial partner. This was a real help for the duo as they were able to save cash for other key parts of their project. 

Thanks to the help of the Ankorstart team, Caroline and Philippe were able to meet their deadlines and open on the date they had set themselves. It took less than three months to complete their first project including: doing the necessary work in the shop, placing and receiving their first orders, managing administration and securing their financing.

Caroline and Philippe advice for entrepreneurs

“Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know”, is Caroline’s advice. According to her, the key to success is to talk about the project with as many people as possible and to use word of mouth to find solutions: the town hall, the town centre manager, local shopkeepers, Ankorstart and Arnaud… so many people who all contribute to the success of a business. Caroline and Philippe saw Ankorstart’s support as an opportunity to advance their project while saving time.

Finding the perfect location and negotiating the commercial lease is also essential. According to Caroline, “A future retailer must look for and take the time to create an ‘event’ with their opening. You shouldn’t be afraid to embark on renovation work and put your own stamp on a place. You have to create YOUR story, that’s what will bring people in.” Caroline and Philippe have chosen a location in a little frequented area of Arcachon – an old warehouse opposite the station – but have carried out major work to make it a unique destination. They were able to negotiate its commercial lease at a great deal and therefore free up cash for other projects.

To discover the Duo d’Intérieur project in more detail :

Duo d'interieur