My name is Kévin LENDORMY, I am 35 years-old and I live in Villefontaine in Isère. I am the founder and owner of the company « Le Temps des Retrouvailles », a shop specialized in giving a new life and value to pre-owned toys.
After 13 years working in a “traditional business environment” as employee of large-scale national and international companies, more and more I grew the need to free myself from taking “strategic” decisions that I found either inefficient or far from my personal beliefs.
The triggering factor took place when I was hired to manage the Lego Store of Lyon Part-Dieu. I love this brand and its products, and the company takes good care of its employees. But I found myself in a totally surreal work environment. Lyon Part-Dieu is a huge shopping centre (185 shops !), the feeling it creates is far from a “human scale” experience, and it brings up a totally irresponsible and absurd consumption system!
I left the company after 3 months, and as I was looking for a new path I supported the activities of Emmaus (N.B. Emmaus is a French charity which collects and re-sell pre-owned items). There, I realized that something new could be done to give a second life to a very specific type of articles: toys! I created Le Temps des Retrouvailles (N.B. The Time of Reunions) in my head in 2016 and the shop officially opened in April 2017 (after a pretty chaotic development process).
The project’s starting point was to really “destabilize” the customers and create a unique shopping experience and universe that they would not be used to. The visual identity of the shop is for instance extremely important, I wanted to hear people say “Alright, this is not any usual shop!” when they come in!
The entire project is built around the concepts of ecology and sustainability. The shop is based in the small town of Diémoz, on a little commercial area, where a flower shop used to be (which allowed me to build a very unique visual experience). Only recycled materials have been used to design the place: pallets and hardwood from construction sites have been used as raw materials, and furniture have been built in partnership with an association (Decomanie) which works within the Ressourcerie of Trévoux (North of Lyon).
The hardest time was to try and convince financial partners to invest in the project, because data on this type of activities did not exist; they did not see this market as possibly successful. The project almost did not materialize as one of the credit establishments that was supposed to guarantee the loan rejected it after all, for the same reason. Fortunately, the bank NEF chipped in: this bank only supports eco-friendly and eco-responsible projects, which at the end is a very good mark for the shop.
From the very beginning, the first customers enjoyed the project and word of mouth had a very positive impact. One of my proudest moments is when I managed to convince a very reluctant customer of the benefits of second-hand shopping for toys: she finally tried and she is now a frequent customer. Feedback we receive are also amazing, a lot of comments are left on our Facebook page, it is a great reward.
Toys are bought directly from people, it allows me to select the ones I know I can “save”. I generally target quality toys (with known brands) which are more solid and easier to fix or upgrade (e.g. Playmobil, Lego, Fisher Price, Playskool, Chicco, Djeco, Janod, Jeu Jura etc..).
Then toys are sorted, controlled and cleaned with ecological or biological products only. They are all nice and ready to find a new home!
We do have “key items” in the shop, and one of our spotlights is an “in-bulk furniture” right in the middle of the room. It gives the option to shop differently, as people can buy Playmobils or Mister Potato accessories by the piece, Legos or Clippos are sold by weight…Clients love this concept because they can “create” a present, for instance by thinking: “today I will buy 125 grams of Lego, 200 grams of Meccano and 3 Playmobils”.
I also really like to highlight toys from the 80’s. It is a lot of fun to see the emotions they trigger, it helps build a genuine relationship with the customers and we often talk about the time we grew up in. Some clients bought the same toys they had when they were small, and they can share them now with their own kids. The circle is now complete 😉
I sincerely think (and I hope I am not mistaken) that awareness grows collectively, that a new way to consume is possible. I have not invented anything, really; but I am pleased by the media cover the shop received and I sincerely hope this is not just a trend. I believe that the second-hand market in France is lagging while it has already been proven its worth in Nordic countries, in Sweden for instance.
To me, sustainability means that our actions do not have a negative impact on the planet’s resources, and that we can give the next generations the possibility to live with the same resources we have now.
Of course, living according to these convictions is always on my mind, but it is not as easy as it sounds on the daily basis. For example, within a kilometre from my place, I can find different super- and hypermarkets; however, if I want to buy different, healthier and locally-produced products, I need to drive for a good 30 minutes.
My 2018 sustainable resolution is to participate as best as I can to a challenge that was launched on Facebook around the theme « Do not buy any new product”.
Photo Credits : Kévin Lendormy
Follow Le Temps des Retrouvailles :
- Website : https://www.le-temps-des-retrouvailles.fr/
- Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Le-Temps-des-ReTrouvailles-205028179953849/
- Address : ZA rue des Granges Neuves, Diémoz, Rhône-Alpes, France