The birth of MCC : from R&D to suppliers

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You know My Choupi Chouz today, with its beautiful shoes with interchangeable heels, but do you have any idea how this project became a reality one day

I decided to tell you everything, the beautiful moments, but also the difficulties, because it is not easy to create a brand and even less innovative products in a sector full of traditions. 

So, settle down properly with a good hot tea, the story is about to begin...

I decided to tell you everything, the beautiful moments, but also the difficulties, because it is not easy to create a brand and even less innovative products in a sector full of traditions.

It's now been 4 years since I’ve decided to embark full-time on the entrepreneurial adventure and created the MCC mechanism!

The idea? I got it in June 2015... After 6 months of unsuccessful job searches, the idea came to me and I thought "why not create my own job! ».

At that time, I was very motivated to develop this new project, but I had to start with the most difficult part: developing a new mechanism that was simple, aesthetic, practical, resistant and affordable at the same time!

With all these constraints in mind, it's time to start ...

THE FIRST TESTS

The first tests are now underway to create a new heel locking and unlocking mechanism on a shoe. From the beginning, my father believed in the project and so we tinkered together in the courtyard of his building, buying sandals, breaking shoe heels and trying to add heels with a lot of DIY tools. I spend most of my time in DIY stores to buy wood, screws or tools. Super glam, eh, the launch of a shoe brand!?

For this to work, an imposing and impractical tool was necessary. The heels could only have a very restrictive shape and height. And to top it all off, it was really not pretty! In short, we were very far from the result!

There you go, a little photo : there's an idea, right? ! Haha !

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THE CONTRACT BREK

But, in the meantime, I was offered the job of my dreams.

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And, with reason overriding my heart, I chose the job I had been struggling to get for months (Product Development Manager in Perfumes) because I hadn't forgotten my first passion!

I thought I could develop my project alongside my job, but I was quickly disappointed.

With the hours in Marketing, I won't hide the fact that the project quickly took a back seat, which delayed a little the start of MCC... But, I don't regret it, it was very formative and enriching as well as a significant financial gain in order to get started later (I was able to benefit from unemployment for 1 year during the development of the MCC project).  

At the end of my contract, it's time to jump into the deep end... 

THE BIRTH OF THE MCC CLICK

One year later, I throw myself into the project and I decide to go back to the French Riviera to my father's place so that he can help me to tinker (and then it allows me to feel a little less lost, alone in front of a big project hehe!). We tried a lot of things to clip and unclip (a mechanism completely visible on the outside: really not aesthetic! A super complicated mechanism: difficult to produce and then it didn't work haha...).

4th test, here we are finally with a working prototype! But which breaks after an hour of wearing the shoe. And then, we needed a screwdriver to change heels...  

Would you like to take your screwdriver with you every day? (I let you imagine the scene hahaha)

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So we had not yet found what would become later, the MCC Click... But, we must remain motivated, it is only the beginning of the adventures!

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Back in Paris, a friend who founded a company specialized in 3D printing lends me a 3D printer (thanks again to him, hello Alex!). This allowed me to go from DIY to 3D design more professional and easier for me!

I quickly learned how to make 3D plans thanks to my notions of 2D plans acquired in construction engineering school; well, each experience is important and can be useful, even knowledge in buildings to make shoes ;) !

And the first prototypes closer to reality are finally born !

Enclosed A 3D print heel test: it looks like our 9 cm heels ;)

But at that time, a screwdriver was still needed to make it work. In short, it was necessary to find a new idea quickly...

Quickly, I decide to invest in a 3D printer since I understand that it is the key to R&D success !

You can discover below my workstation where I spent my days alone, for almost 2 years (on my mother's dining room table, thank you mom for your patience hihi) and my first impression with my new toy, the wire unwinder!

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A little later in the year, after printing some mechanisms, I go back to my father's house to assemble them on a shoe. Here we go again: we break the heel and I can tell you that you have to want it haha!

This is the 6th try and it seems to work! Hooray, we're on the right track!

Although similar to the current one, the mechanism was still very big at that time. But, it worked and that gave me a new breath to believe in the project

Hop, I shoot my first MCC-style video: I arrive in small heels, I unclip them and change for higher heels! I still feel all this joy and emotion while writing these words! My baby had just been born!

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Then, we find another idea to improve the mechanism even more and thus reduce its size and price.

It's time to protect my innovation and so I file a patent! Due to a lack of financial means at that time, I had to plunge myself into technical, administrative and legal hassles on my own. It was not the most fun part of the brand development...

LOOKING FOR PARTNERS

After several months of testing and visits to DIY stores, the MCC Clic is finally here! But I still have one very important part left: the search for suppliers and factories.

Initially, I was very attracted by China. I spoke Chinese and had spent a long time there studying and working with Chinese factories. But on the other hand, I had some doubts about the confidentiality and quality part, which is not easy to manage from a distance.

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After thinking about it and talking with other entrepreneurs, I opened my eyes to what was best for the brand and decided to look for my factories in Portugal, well known for its quality, traditional know-how and remaining quite affordable prices.

I am so glad I made this decision with hindsight: from an entrepreneurial point of view, the proximity is so much simpler (I used to go there every month at the beginning), it also reduces development costs and the culture remains close to ours.

From a brand point of view, it also implies all the benefits of local production (check the article on this subject) and the European image is highly appreciated!

At the beginning, I was still surprised to see the price difference between China and Portugal, as I wanted to offer affordable products... But now, I assume to pay the price for know-how, trust, quality and exemplary working conditions.

Let’s return to our sheep...

I then went to the shoe fair (the MICAM) in Milan to find European suppliers and to discuss the project with them. I very quickly had about ten contacts. At the time, I didn't want to reveal the whole technique to them, because it was still very confidential.

At the same time, I had found a French supplier for an important part of the mechanism. They are used to working for the army or the telephone industry, so this project was intriguing and challenging for them, as it was for me.

I was moving forward, FINALLY!

A few months later, I went to Portugal for the first meetings with several suppliers. My choice was not yet made and I wanted to see who was really motivated by the project and if the feeling was going well (and then the style of the products and prices were also criteria ;)).

It was the first time I was going to Portugal and this stay was the final destination of a long trip that allowed me to clear my mind and to accompany my single father :P to the end of the world ! This trip still makes me smile today because there were many first times. So, I'm going to tell you a part of it :)

After a transatlantic where I could work and travel at the same time, I leave the ship before the end of the trip, with my big suitcase, alone, and I land in the south of Spain, in Cadiz.

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I then join my lover in Seville for our first weekend abroad together. But I don't forget the work since I had to finish my business plan to present it to the factories (picture of sangria and business plan: don't forget to enjoy anyway :P).

Then, after these days full of tapas and good wines, I leave B to take a bus to Faro in Portugal and then finish the trip by a train to Porto (always with my huge suitcase to drag...).

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Here we are! I'm in Portugal, I don't speak Portuguese, I'm going to present a complicated project to realize but I believe in it!

First meetings with the factories, it was not easy to juggle between the confidential part and the part that could interest and motivate them...

I speak "Spanglish, Portuguish or Frenchguese" (a mix of Spanish with some Portuguese words and some French or English passages).

I take the opportunity to make some visits between 2 factory meetings, eat a lot of bacalhau, discover the country and the culture of those with whom I will be associated for years. Look how beautiful the city of Aveiro is, for example.

2 months later, I only have 2 suppliers left after having made a big selection on those I preferred and the most motivated by the project. I finally had a good feeling with Artur who was the first partner (besides the French supplier) to really believe in the project.

He agreed to join the MCC adventure and to involve his team in the product development, which was far from simple and with a return on investment that was not very visible at the beginning...

Now that I had found my main factory (for shoes), I needed a factory for heels and Artur had introduced me to someone on my first visit. But the feeling didn't go well. He didn't speak English and made no effort to speak to me softly in Portuguese. In short, I wasn't very motivated to work with him, but I didn't have much choice.  

2nd stay in Portugal, the day of our factory appointment, this supplier abandoned us at the last minute.

We had to find someone else quickly when I was there. Artur had the brilliant idea of putting me in touch with Dulce, without whom MCC would not be here today to offer you heels that are both original and solid.

And there was this nice quote in the waiting room: a sign, right?

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I've just told you about the R&D phase and the search for suppliers. It's the summer of 2017, and from now on, we'll have to accelerate development to be able to offer products in the new school year thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. And that's another story, full of twists and turns and still full of difficulties. I'll tell you about it in a future article!

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST...

As you can see, starting a brand is not an easy task... But it is an incredible adventure in which I fully blossomed.

I'd like to thank again all the people who believed in the project and in me (it's like receiving an Oscar, haha), starting with my father who was a handyman and full of good ideas, my mother who fed/housed/leached me during this difficult financial period, my boyfriend who was always there for me, then my entrepreneur friends who advised me and finally the factories who trusted me and took the time to work on MCC.

THANK YOU <3

Comments

Created On mercredi, novembre 18, 2020 Posted By Valentine Comment Link
Félicitations pour ce travail acharné qui nous permet d’avoir de superbes chouz et de supers talons !!!
Les parcours n’a pas du être évident mais heureusement que vous n’avez rien lâché, ce projet est génial.
Je n’ai pour l’instant qu’une paire de babies et 2 paires de talons mais ma liste de Noël est bien remplie de bottines et de talons

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