Individual ball customisation: The SerigrafBall project
The Creative Factory has just launched its call for applications. The opportunity to return to the course of Serigraf Ball winner of the current edition. To discover this award-winning project and the great springboard that the Creative Factory Selection constitutes for Serigrafball, we have brought together Simon Mutschler, founder of Serigrafball and project leader with Tangi Fouyer, economic development officer at the Creative Factory, for a joint interview!
“The idea? That everyone can create their own unique ball.”
Tanguy, can you remind us of the aim of the Creative Factory selection?
T. Fouyer : It’s a support program which has been created in 2013 by the Creative Factory Cluster and Atlanpôle. Its aim is to accelerate businesses in the creative and cultural industry in Pays de la Loire with strong economic potential. We have identified 12 innovation sectors such as design, fashion, accessories, or even digital and we work with young companies – less than 5 years old – either to launch the first offer, either to support fundraising, or develop a diversification project.
Simon, can you please remind us which project Serigrafball presented?
S. Mutschler : Our project is to offer customiable sports balls. The idea? That everyone can create his unique ball, with colors, text, and images that he wants, and all of this even on a football club ball. A “Do it yourself” conception ball designed for private individuals and fully integrating digital with a 3D view of the balloon. Moreover, we are committed to a delivery time of one week, for an optimal customer experience, thanks the creation of a dedicated workshop in Nantes, where part of the production will be carried out.
Which local actors intervene in the vote?
T. Fouyer : The jury is made up of both institutional actors and professionals from the creative and cultural industry. Our main partners are In Extenso, Parthema, Mstream, FlyDesigners, or W agency, who put their expertise and methodology at the service of the winners. Banque Populaire Grand Ouest is our financial partner.
Why did you choose to apply for the 4th edition of the Creative Factory Sélection?
S. Mutschler : We’ve had this wonderful project in our mind for a while but it’s not that easier to launch a project and neither to take the time to do it! We had to write down and start from scratch as if we were starting a new business while ensuring our current growing business. Joining the Creative Factory Selection had two advantages: allowing us to define the project and bring it to fruition by dedicating time and resources to it. What also pleased me was that the Creative Factory is specialised in supporting projects led by start-ups, so the ideal structure for us. Having people who understand the start-up environment, where everything has to go quickly, and who have the necessary networks to respond effectively to our issues was a positive argument in favour of this program.
What are the basic requirements to be in the last 6 projects?
T. Fouyer : The innovative nature of the project presented is a very strong requirement, as is the estimated economic potential, through the expected turnover and job creation. The team in place, its skills, and its investment in leading the project are also a real differentiating factor for the jury. The subject covered must already have been thought out in terms of marketing strategy and economic model. Finally, you need a convinced and passionate project leader, like Simon!
What was your first impression upon discovering the Serigrafball file?
T. Fouyer : We had discovered Serigraf Ball thanks to invitation maker Rosemood, Serigraf Ball has made a ball for him and we were convinced they had their place at the Creative Factory Selection! The entire jury was seduced by the project presentation speech and how this start-up has evolved, leading by its two directors, without any particular support.
What assets made Serigrafball one of the winners of this last edition? Is there one particular requirement that made the difference?
T. Fouyer : In a few years, Serigrafball has already known a huge growth and is generating a very good turnover. This financial strength was for us a real guarantee for the success of this new project. But the prospect of support was also particularly interesting: How to include commercial and financial fundamentals, for example for fundraising, in the strategy of this start-up? For the invested partners in this program, it was motivating to bring Serigrafball into workshops and to develop it with other companies. The human character was also a real factor in the jury’s decision: the entire team had real strengths, complementarity, and a common desire to carry out this project, which was well represented by its leaders. They marked this 2017 season!
What feeling dominates as a business manager and project leader when you are a winner of such a device?
S. Mutschler : A such a big pride! Our file validations are usually done only via the financial criteria, according to the banks. The Creative Factory, contrariwise, studies the project as a whole, taking the market potential and human capital into account. Becoming a winner is, therefore, a great reward, which gives credit to our ambition and a big motivation to the Serigrafball team. A beautiful springboard, in a nutshell!
Would you have proposed this new offer of personalised balls in 2018 without the Creative Factory Sélection?
S. Mutschler : I think it would have been complicated to set up this project or it would have taken much longer to develop … Without the needed time to launch this innovation project, it might have ended up abandoned. In any case, it would not have been so much thought and anticipated. So a big thank you to the Creative Factory for allowing us to take the plunge!
What support is in place for the winners to successfully complete their project? Is there a deadline to complete it?
T. Fouyer : Being a winner means having access to 9 months of support, both personalised coaching and group workshops. Our accelerator format is longer than average, which leaves us more time to work with the winners and do the tests or necessary studies for the optimal launch of their activity or a new offer. Eleven collective workshops and one hundred hours of personalised advice are planned in which our partners intervene with the winners to advance the projects. An honour loan is also available to executives who wish. The 9-month deadline is a strong marker for us: after these months of work, the project must be ready to be launched!
Our goal is also to create a real group dynamic, which was particularly felt during this 2017 edition. We hope that everyone is enriched by the experience of others, with great kindness to live an experience that is also humanly enriching.
Did you have any particular support expectations? (business model, search for partners, etc.)
S. Mutschler : In fact, we didn’t really know what such a support program could do for us. But what we gained went beyond what we could have hoped for. Both for the already existing structure and for this customisation project, there will clearly be a before and an after Creative Factory!
As a business manager, how do you organise yourself to invest in the Creative Factory Sélection scheme while carrying out your usual missions?
S. Mutschler : We are going through an important phase of development with a turnover that evolves by more than 40% on average every year. We had to adapt to support development, which replaced the profitability thinking of our early years. To respond optimally to requests, and with the help of the Creative Factory, we therefore hired (in sales, purchasing, and graphics departments), going from a staff of 2 to 10 people in two years! This allows us to delegate some tasks and to devote time to this personalised ball project every month.
What are the benefits for a company like Serigrafball if it sets up its offices on the “Ile de Nantes”, like other winners?
T. Fouyer : We can only encourage a dynamic start-up like Serigrafball to settle in this rapidly developing neighbourhood. The creation district is a true ecosystem and we are committed to making it a center of excellence for the creative industries. Being part of it is a guaranteed added value in terms of image and the opportunity to boost your projects even more. Being part of this is a guaranteed added value in terms of image and the opportunity to boost your projects even more.
Is there an official launch date planned for this custom balls project?
S. Mutschler : S. Mutschler: Nothing official yet, but between September and the end of the year you will most certainly hear about it 😉
Tangi, did you claim your personalized “Creative Factory Sélection” ball? 🙂
T. Fouyer : Not yet! But we hope to have it one day! In any case, we were delighted to accompany the Serigrafball team in this new project and wish them every success!
While waiting to be able to make your first personalised ball, discover our current page and inspirations for your future creations!