Short description of the business or initiative
La Vrac-Mobile is a traveling grocery shop offering, at the Basque Coast and in the south of the Landes, products without packaging, from organic farming, and from local sources.
It is an independent business for those who wish to consume responsibly and sustainably and engage in a zero-waste approach.
The concept is easy: We buy the products directly from local producers (only organic) and sell them in our truck by moving to 5 or 6 different markets every week. Our weekly planning is available on our website and Facebook and Instagram page. We sell only dry grocery products (every kind except coffee). We also started e-commerce: Clients can buy online and either pick the products up at a market of their choice or receive them by post.
The prices aren’t very much higher than in a normal grocery shop, because we buy directly from the producers without any other reseller in the middle.
How old were you when you started as entrepreneur?
Our business has been founded by my friend Océane and myself three years ago, when I was 25.
What support did you have when you became an entrepreneur?
- Aquitaine Active supported us financially (for young professionals) and acted as guarantor for a bank loan to buy our truck
- Advisory by Andere Nahia (coaching for young women who wish to create their own business) which was very helpful
- Herrikoa supported us with a little financial help for solidarity projects in the Basque country
- Pôle Emploi (employment agency) advised us how to make a business plan, where to start when you want to create a business
- We organised a Crowd-funding
- Organic, for the health of men and the planet
- Local, to support the local production
- Bulk, to reduce waste
KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESS FACTORS
What drives your motivation?
The human aspect, this link between producers and customers, and because it is our commitment to the planet
Does your job make you compromise with something or make sacrifices?
Since 3 years I don’t have a real salary because the benefit is not enough yet, but we managed to have a permanent placement in a very important market, which could change this situation soon. 🙂
The work is very physical, I am often very tired, and to work outside on markets means also to depend on the weather! We are very demanding about the quality of our products, but sometimes we need to make compromises, for example the cashew nuts come from Vietnam, even though they are organic, we normally don’t sell products that are not local, but the clients want to buy cashew nuts.
What does it take to be successful?
Be patient, because it takes up to 4 years before being successful.
Endurance, you should stay fit and look after yourself to not be burned out physically.
You should be very sure about what you want to do before you start!
What are the benefits, both personal and social?
It is an extraordinary human adventure! The friendship with Océane has developed, we are close friends now and know that we will always stay friends, even if the business shouldn’t work one day and we should be obliged to give it up.
It is a wonderful experience to work with all these local producers.
SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
The most relevant skills and competence to perform your initiative/business successfully
You should love the human contact and food markets. People tend to tell you their life stories!
We are autodidacts (I worked in shops, but not with food; Océane worked in event organization). We made the necessary trainings in business plan and accountancy. Luckily, we had very good advisory.
Social and organizational skills
We are moving every day, you should like this kind of nomadic life.