#3 How the French SME MCM Emballages sells Weck jars all over Europe
Founded in 2007 by Maryvonne Le Corre at the age of 58, the French SME MCM Emballages, based in Geispolsheim, Alsace, near Strasbourg, has established itself as one of the two largest distributors in Europe of Weck clip-on jars for food canning. Let's take a look back at a family success story through the testimony of the founder's two daughters who joined their mother in the company's management.
A challenge to be met. The history of the company is first and foremost one of challenge. As Morgane Balaa, one of Maryvonne Le Corre's two daughters, explains, "My mother was for 17 years an executive secretary in a company working in the same field: equipment for artisanal, professional and domestic canning. She was in fact managing the company in place of the manager who was ill and had joined forces to take it over. But at the last moment, the manager chose another buyer. As a result, my mother wanted to take up the challenge by creating her own company with her two daughters, MCM Emballages (the initials of MCM correspond to the first names of the three women) by doing things in her own way with different managerial methods based above all on trust."
People are in the company's DNA. Maryvonne Le Corre's policy is simple: put people at the forefront of the company. It was thanks to the links forged in her previous position with the German clip jar producer Weck, a key player in the sector, that she obtained the opportunity to become their supplier for Europe. But above all, she ensures the participation of her two daughters, who are not very familiar with the business, in the business project. The youngest, Morgane Balaa, an art history student, became marketing manager in 2009, while the eldest, Cyrille de Manzini, an anthropologist by training, was promoted in 2013 to export manager. As she explains, "the salesperson is first and foremost a mother, and my sister and I learn a lot from her."
For her part, the mother highlights the contributions of her two daughters to the company: "It was Morgane who took care of the creation of the site, the opening up to social networks and communication in general with a real artistic eye, while Cyrille developed a network of partners all over the world thanks to his exacerbated relational side. Without my two daughters, I wouldn't have taken some steps."
Customers in 45 countries. And it works! MCM Emballages had a turnover of €3.4 million in 2014 and employs 14 people. 70% of the business is related to sales of Weck jars, the rest being due to sales of autoclaves and sterilizers of the German brand Korimat. Training courses are also offered as European standards are constantly evolving in the canning industry. The customers are mainly craftsmen (butchers, caterers, chocolatiers, manufacturers of fruit and vegetable preserves, etc.). Individuals represent about 20 to 30% of the clientele. Among the most important countries are Italy (almost a third of export turnover), but also Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden and Belgium. Or even more distant countries such as Kazakhstan, Singapore, Slovenia, or Montenegro... "In Italy, it was the pastry world that first developed jar baking, then the restaurant industry and then the hotel world came along," says Cyrille Balaa de Manzini, who is based in Trieste, Italy.
The internet boosts sales. "The website set up in 2010 has led to a real explosion in sales," says Morgane Balaa. Hence the idea of further expanding the offer with translations of the site planned into German and Spanish by the end of 2015 and into Dutch in the first half of 2016. "There are also long-standing customers who have grown up with us, such as Cederstrom, a Swedish manufacturer of chocolate and caramel sandwiches," she adds. Another loyal customer: a chef of a gourmet restaurant in Hong Kong. For the past two years, MCM Emballages has also been supplying the Boco association of Michelin-starred chefs, which supplies the French TGV with meal trays. And this year, it signed an identical contract with the Swiss TGV service provider.
In addition to the internet, the company is growing thanks to its participation in specialized trade fairs such as Host in Milan, Sigep in Rimini, Sirha in Lyon or Sepag in Valencia... As for the question of the transfer of power between mother and daughter, "it will be as late as possible!" says Morgane Balaa. At 67 years old, Maryvonne Le Corre is still on deck, showing that energy is not a question of age!