In the eyes of Hélène Beigeaud, manager of the PADD shops in Quimper, Vannes, Saint Brieuc and Brest.
Based on a first experience as a bank advisor, how does one come to manage a horse riding shop?
Yes, it was a rather atypical career. But I don't deny this experience in banking, which gave me the basics of managing a company and a sense of customer service. Afterwards, I wanted so much to fly on my own wings and preferably in what I was passionate about... My family is closely linked to horses, especially my father who was a rider at the Cadre Noir in Saumur. From a very young age, I rode in a pony club in La Baule. I was therefore predestined to evolve in this world. The trigger was when I read that Padd was looking for profiles like mine to open shops. I met Pascal, Arielle and Jean-François, people of conviction for whom I fell in love professionally. That was at the end of 2007 and, less than a year later, Padd Quimper opened its doors.
It's a great development because, fifteen years later, you have just opened your fourth shop in Brittany.
And I would never have believed it! I started in a small place with very modest objectives. I was not known and there was a lot of competition in Quimper. The professional world welcomed me rather coldly, I was a woman, and a young one at that. I therefore focused on private individuals, from Monday to Saturday in the shop and on Sundays at exhibitions in clubs and competitions. The first four years were very intense. The work eventually paid off and I was finally able to recruit. In 2012, I duplicated my recipe by opening a Padd in Vannes, then Saint-Brieuc in 2020 and Brest in 2022. For the record, I opened in Saint-Brieuc on Wednesday 18 March... three days before the lockdown. I went through denial, anger and depression. Then, you end up rolling up your sleeves :)
And the client didn't let you go.
Probably because we always put a lot of emphasis on the sense of service, the quality of the welcome, the availability. We maintained the link with click & collect and, at the end of the lockdown, the influx was completely crazy. We were on the edge for months, we had to review our procedures and tools, and show flexibility and adaptability. It was an exceptional year in every respect.
Is the customer of 2008 different from the customer of 2022 ?
Yes and no. Yes, because today's customers are extremely demanding in terms of delivery times and their standards are those of e-commerce. They also want to be able to count on a top-quality after-sales service and to have a wide range of products available. Yes, because he also turns to re-use and second-hand goods, which is why I have had a permanent PaddTroc in Quimper for five years. No, because he always needs to touch, to be advised by the team which is 100% composed of riders. And of course to try, which is what we do, for example, when we offer our customers a saddle fitting service, i.e. to come to their home to find the right saddle for their horse.
What is your daily driving force?
Teamwork, involvement, dynamism. That's what I look for straight away when I recruit. I now have 16 employees, with a total sales area of 1,500 m², and it is essential that everyone has a sense of effort and teamwork. And it works rather well because my shop managers all started out by my side. I'm planning to open a new shop and I already know who I'm going to ask to be the manager. There is a real group spirit here.
Padd in a word?
I would say trust on the professional side and quality on the client side.