Wecandoo introduces you to talented, passionate craftspeople seeking to share their story and their work. Founded by Edouard Eyglunent, Grégoire Hugon and Arnaud Tiret, the startup's aim is to highlight French crafts expertise and awaken our creativity.
Putting crafts in the spotlight
The Wecandoo project began in September 2016, with their website going online in January 2017. The startup's ambition: put talented craftspeople in the spotlight and awaken the creativity in each of us.
For a craftsperson, the platform is a good way to get noticed, reach new clients and educate others about their craft. Participants to the workshops learn about the process of making an object, the raw materials used and the time invested. It also brings in a little extra income: “We set ourselves the target that craftspeople could earn €1,000 in additional income each month,” explains Edouard.
Clients get a look into the workings of the studio, a basic understanding of the craft and a one-of-a-kind object to take home. Jewellery, ceramics, leather work, woodwork... there are no bad choices. “We don't want to have 2,000 studios and fall into a marketplace model where the craftspeople are overwhelmed and the clients can no longer tell a professional from an amateur pottering around in their garage at the weekend,” says Grégoire. “The idea is to grow supply and demand at the same time.”
Drawing on Collective Intelligence
“Wecandoo came to Le Plateau through the partnership we forged with SenseCube, the incubator for the social and community startups of MakeSense,” says Flore Jachimowicz, Head of Le Plateau and Partnerships. “Which is how we discovered their drive to help diversify craftspeople's activities and highlight their expertise and skills, all with a qualitative, authentic approach.”
“The positioning of the two structures is relatively different,” says Edouard. “SenseCube is involved in the social and community economy, so we're watched very closely in terms of our social impact. Le Plateau is more interested in our development strategy. The two approaches are complementary, and that's why we're so lucky to have integrated the two.” Grégoire, meanwhile, focuses on what the two structures have in common: “Working as an entrepreneur, you learn as you go. You have to be coached, be advised on a variety of topics, and be surrounded by other entrepreneurs. At SenseCube and Le Plateau, there's the idea of sharing a common experience with people who are going or have gone through the same things as you. Some days, you share your successes, and other days, your problems. Often, the collective intelligence lets you find solutions much more quickly.”
A community of craftspeople
Among the many projects under way, the crowdfunding campaign launched in mid-September 2017, with the goal of raising €12,000, is an important step for Wecandoo as it should enable them to prove the market interest and get to know their clients better.
Promoting the crafts community is an integral part of the mission these three founders have taken on. It is taking shape with the creation of an association and ambassador programme and the acquisition in October of a space in Paris’s Viaduc des Arts for organising pop-up events. This part of the ambition to create self-help and cooperation among craftspeople by drawing inspiration from ‘Fab Labs’, where machines and knowledge are shared freely.
With locations in Paris and Lyon, Wecandoo will add Bordeaux and Lille by the end of the year, while also looking to move into more remote regions. “The project didn't come into being for the crafts movement in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, which is doing quite well on its own,” says Grégoire. “It came into being for the craftspeople who aren't very visible and to promote the skills that are deeply rooted in the regions.” As such, Wecandoo's users can learn more about how these rural craftspeople live and work.
A strong bond with the crafts
Of the many business ideas that Edouard came up with, organising immersion weekends with craftspeople is the one that really got his team-mates' attention. All three have a special bond with crafts. Edouard, the most hands-on of the three, has always wanted to go and learn from a craftsperson. Grégoire is from the Limousin region, "an agricultural and artisanal region with a dwindling population." He believes that craftspeople are key players in the rural dynamic and wants to help preserve local skills. As for Arnaud, he almost dropped everything to become a miller...