En cadence with Arielle
Arielle, it's fair to say that you fell into the Padd pot when you started working?
My first encounter with Padd must have been in 1974-1975. At the time, I was living with my parents in Madagascar, where my father was working on the development of radio and television. During the holidays, when we came back to France, I always had to go shopping for horses in Paris. And it was already at Padd, in the shop on the rue de la Cavalerie. Afterwards, I came back to Paris to study, and I had to pay for my horse's half-board. So I started a job as a saleswoman in the same shop, in parallel with my studies as a psychomotrician. That was in 1985. A few years later, I took charge of one of the two Parisian shops, then Pascal entrusted me with the network of affiliates and then the management of the franchise when it was created in 2008. In short, 38 exciting years!
Some of the Padd franchisees call you their "second mother". Do you mother them that much?
What is certain is that Pascal and I didn't want an impersonal franchise with little involvement. I accompany our affiliates from the first contact to the opening of the shop and its development. The advantage of our business is that we speak the same language with future franchisees: 99% of them are riders. We match the applications with the cities targeted by Padd, without precluding any other location. Once the city has been chosen, the search for premises begins. I take particular care in studying the location: situation in relation to the equestrian ecosystem, number of licence holders, immediate environment, car parks, traffic flow, etc. As with any business, this is the key. Every year, about ten franchisees take the plunge. We plan to reach 120 shops by 2025, half of which will be affiliates. And to think that when we launched the diversification, the lawyer that Pascal and I went to see told me: "Oh, you're going to take care of it? Good luck. We didn't do too badly in the end :)
You can become a franchisee but how do you become a Paddien?
Our strength is the advice and the relationship we have with most of our customers. They don't just come to Padd but also and above all to Ludivine, Florence, Aurélien or Béatrice. They have a coffee together in the shop, show the video of the last competition, talk about the health of their horse. It's not for nothing that we call ourselves "the meeting place for riders"! This is what makes digital not incompatible with the point of sale. In order for our future franchisees to understand the Pa philosophy, they are invited to share the daily life of a shop for two months. This also allows them to learn about the information system, merchandising and stock management. Today, I rely on two employees, Sarah and Rachel, to run and monitor our 47 affiliates.
What do you think are the main strengths of Ekkia?
First of all, the depth and width of the range of course. If an independent wants to set up a saddlery, he can simplify his purchases as much as possible by going through Ekkia. From footpick to airbag waistcoat, to horse or rider equipment: all orders can be placed with a single provider, which is comfortable. Afterwards, as many of our shops have said, what is appreciated is having to do with a large company that has managed to remain family-oriented.
What is your favourite human or relational quality and your worst flaw?
The human and empathetic side for the qualities. This is linked to the psychology courses in my initial training as a psychomotrician. For the faults, dishonesty and injustice. I'm known for my outspokenness, you have to say things. There's nothing left unsaid.
Always move forward.
Ekkia and Padd in a nutshell?