Industry Update
Opinion Article14 January 2021

EHL Success Stories: Startup Edition - Meillart

By Silvia-Cristina Vasquez, Bachelor student and Communications Intern at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL)

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EHL Success Stories: Start-Up Edition is a new series to show support to our EHL Family and, more specifically, our hard-working AEHL entrepreneurs. This project aims to showcase EHL's entrepreneur mindsets, support new and upcoming ideas and businesses. While overcoming a challenging time for all companies, these Start Ups prove that resilience and hard work can overcome any problem.

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For this feature, we present Meillart: a luxury craftmanship platform that gives you the chance to travel through a selection of unique objects from the world's greatest craftsmen. In a fast and instantaneous consumption world, they offer a new online experience to craftsmen to create objects that have a story and are destined to last through time.

We had the chance to speak to them about their brand, motivations and challenging times.

Can you present yourself in a couple of words?

My name is Marie de Franssu, I come from Belgium. I graduated in June 2018 and am currently living in Paris.

Can you tell us about Meillart?

Meillart is a new online destination for the most beautiful luxury craftsmanship around the world.

Can you tell us the story of how it all started?

My brother, Alfred, and I come from a family in love with beautiful things. At home, we have always been concerned about know-how and a job well done, which we now take to heart. After professional experiences in the digital world for Alfred and at Sotheby's for Marie, we decided to offer a new experience to showcase craftsmen and designers. More modern, in line with the way we consume today and our desires for tomorrow's world.

How long has your company been around?

We launched Meillart on September 1st, 2020.

How did EHL play a role in developing your ideas?

I would say EHL gave us a sense of entrepreneurship. I took an entrepreneurial elective course in BOSC6, which enhanced my will to create and participate in the construction of tomorrow's world. A more responsible and respectful dynamic.

How did Meillart experience the pandemic?

Launching a company in the middle of COVID-19 is not the usual way-to-go. Nevertheless, we have been able to take it as an opportunity. First, because we understood how COVID could have a positive impact on the interior design sector. Second and most importantly, because the pandemic has brought our focus back to important matters. Amongst these critical values, I would mention craftsmanship. People are starting to understand and embrace the different processes that creating an item implies. I hope this will further increase and help our craftsmen to embrace their important place in our actual society.

What was your biggest challenge faced during the past few months?

A young startup is like following a rollercoaster journey. We have had so many challenges. We needed to create a brand image, to learn how to sell, recruit, and so many other different skills in such a small amount of time. All in, I would say our biggest challenge was to promote our craftsmen and help our clients fully understand their craft and passion. We seek to give a reason for and a story that stands behind every item purchased.

What is your favourite quote?

"It is time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

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Silvia-Cristina Vasquez

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    Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne
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