“Veepee remains a creative, innovative and strong company”

Growing a business is a long cycle. 20 years old as a child and an adult. During these two decades, we have gone through many phases. Between 2000-2004, we experimented with the model and our reputation had to be built. We invented a new way to sell products through digital, by becoming an online discounter, but not yet ADSL. Between 2004-2010, we achieved remarkable progress. We will go from 0 to 1 billion euros in turnover. We made a profit from 2004, we hired 2,500 people with no raised money, “Google Free”. It’s amazing. From 2010 to 2018, we faced the American adventure (Veepee was launched in the American market in 2011 but in 2014, the company withdrew due to lack of profit, editor’s note), the arrival of competition, the maturity on the Internet, with a discount. growing in all retail including brands … The sector has become tighter. In 2019, we are refocusing our model on Europe after two years of external growth (purchases at Privalia, Vente-exclusive.com, etc.). We have become leaders in Europe. 2020-22 are the years of integration, of matrix reorganization, of the maturity of our knowledge. Today, we remain an independent, profitable, unlisted company, with no fortune. We remain a creative, innovative and strong company.

Today, we remain an independent, profitable, unlisted company, with no fortune.

How is 2021?

The answer to this question is complicated. Admittedly, the destock context is more in favor of stores that are closed. But our travel business was affected. Now, brands want to bring their factories closer to the distribution points, through small production in China. Since July 2021, brands have suffered less performance, which has naturally led to a decline in their stocks.

What are the next steps in your progress?

Our areas of development are fourfold. Destocking remains our core business. Thanks to our extremely fast traffic, we improved travel, without going through Google. We achieved almost 400 million euros in turnover in 2019. We went to zero during the incarceration period in 2020. Two years later, we are back to 2019 numbers. Travel is Veepee’s biggest success in terms of diversity. Third axis, our market, is “Brandsplace”. We connect brand catalogs and animate their promotions of newer collections. Thus we connected 21 brands in the L’Oréal group. Veepee is the only site in the world where our members can put products from four L’Oréal activities in their basket: luxury, parapharmacy, FMCG (consumer goods) and hairdressing. And finally, last strong axis of the second hand.

Precisely, where are you in your second-hand “Re-cycle” program?

We’ve done a lot of projects around second hand. At the end of 2020, we launched “Re-cycle”, an initiative in favor of more sustainable trends. Members can return items that are in their closets in exchange for a voucher provided by the brand or distributor. These products are collected, washed, sorted, reshooted and then resold on our platform. We offer daily site sales. Last year, it represented more than 200,000 pieces. Another initiative is the “Re-turn” service, which allows members to resell a product to the Veepee community rather than sending it back. The purpose is to avoid the costs of transportation, ordering, brand return and therefore to reduce our carbon footprint. This is the beginning of our C2C approach. We are moving towards services where we do not rely on brand inventory, as there are millions of parts in our members ’cabinets.

Do you think about your model or the products sold on the platform?

We are at the end of the industry chain. Our work as a digital discounter means we don’t. We sell unsold items, and thus participate in this circular economy. Then we are influencers. We have not sold animal fur for about ten years. Brands are free to choose and balance between profitability, ethics, morality, long-term vision and their need to support consumers in protecting the planet. We take concrete actions that we believe are important for us and our members.

My long-term vision of the company and Veepee’s services has allowed me to not manage the company with only a financial perspective.

This freedom has value, and it is our choice. If we are second-hand, it is not opportunism. We have been thinking for a long time.

In what countries are you now? What are the most inspiring states?

We buy the leaders of Europe. We are now in ten countries. We have been reorganizing since the health crisis. We are in two countries in South America, Mexico and Brazil. We sold the first and are in the process of the second. We are focusing again on Europe. We closed small B to C countries: Denmark, Poland, and so on. but also in England before Brexit. Today, we are in five zones: Benelux, Germany and Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France. And it’s still a trade of brands, very Latin. France represents 55% of our sales and therefore 45% for other countries as a whole. We are successful as a company in Europe.

In early January, the company migrated to a European platform. What are the challenges?

This project requires three to four years of work. We were able to move eight e-commerce platforms, with significant turnover in each of them (in total, 3.2 billion euros in 2021) as our expansion continued, to one platform on 11 January 2022 . A tedious and expensive project, very technical, with harmonious tools for European teams. We have been installing the Veepee brand since 2019 (formerly vente-privee.com), and we still have two brands in Spain and Italy (Privalia and Veepee). We are successful in this European integration. The platform has 66 million members, 4.5 million unique daily visitors. We have the highest daily web return rate of 35%. And this traffic remains our Holy Grail. Veepee is a powerful media vendor that works with 7,000 brands and sells more than 100 million products annually.

You went back to Veepee operational controls in 2019, is it temporary?

I have had two unfortunate experiences with DGs, it’s my fault because I chose them. I decided to do otherwise, by taking Veepee reins, so it wasn’t temporary. I currently work at two DGAs and I am even more involved in surgery. It suits me, and I hope the teams do too.

You are part of the first generation of digital entrepreneurs, how do you view the evolution of the e-commerce landscape?

Today, e-commerce is no longer the prerogative of start-ups or purely players. It belongs to the “phygital”. I have always considered e-commerce just one way to sell. We are entrepreneurs. With digital, the consumer becomes king, he is free and informed. He has access to all competitions with one click. Thus he has the opportunity to go to a store if he wants or deliver it by buying on the Internet …

What is your view on emerging qualified technologies such as Web3, metaverse, NFT, etc.?

It is an even more addictive and attractive virtual world. However, it remains a parallel world. I can understand him but he doesn’t appeal to me personally. Web3 is based on virtual property, on digital objects, on speculation, it’s ultra-capitalism. If I find that young people would rather buy virtual land, using money earned using bitcoins, than buy an apartment, it’s even more attractive. However, behind the metaverse, a more energy -intensive world has emerged. To be able to operate in a virtual world of pixels in a qualitative way, the needs of servers are very consequential.

What lessons can you draw from the current crisis about reorganization and flexibility?

In addition to the logistics and shooting teams, we have put 5,000 people on telework from March 16, 2020. We are ready because we have experienced the demonstrations of the Yellow Vests and the strikes of the RATP. And we were able to send teleworking to all our countries. We just launched the employee return office on October 10, 2021. We operated the company for 18 months completely “remote”. The health crisis made it possible to rethink the organization of work by setting up the flex office in a free manner. Our employees work 2 to 3 days a week away, depending on each manager’s decision. It was a revolution. With the crisis we are experiencing and the ongoing war in Ukraine and the underlying threats, the outlook for work is different. If you don’t implement a more modern way of working, you will have a hard time recruiting new employees.

When you look at your journey in the rear view mirror, what are you proud of?

I’m more of a disgruntled person, I tend to look at what I miss rather than succeed. However, having a company with almost 6,000 people, being able to deploy a long-term vision, and being able to set up a progressive work organization gives me tremendous energy. A company, even if you are the primary shareholder, is no longer all yours. It belongs to the people who work there and dedicate part of their lives to it. It allows you to consider multiple projects because you have the power to do it.

His journey

Born in 1962, Jacques-Antoine Granjon graduated from the European Business School in Paris. In 1985, he founded, with a former partner, his first company called Cofotex. It specializes in wholesale by the end of the series.

In 2001, with seven partners, he launched a destocking site dedicated to the private sale of “Vente-privee.com” brand products. The company offers sponsored products to customers from major brands at discounted prices. It relies on a dual concept: the event and the exclusive.

In 2019, vente-privee.com became Veepee.

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