They were a lock pilot, a salesman, a policeman ... Here they are immersed in the world of the French luxury giant, to be made with threads and needles, the Kelly bag, an iconic model of Hermès created in 1935 for the actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly.
For three years, continuing to grow at the rate of its turnover, which fluctuates between 5 and 7 billion euros per year, the brand in the name of the winged Greek god has settled in the Confluent business area, on the industrial wasteland left by Butagaz, next to the Gordon-Choisy tannery belonging to the group which has supplied them for 25 years with Australian crocodile skins intended for the most expensive pieces.
To ensure the loyalty of its saddlers and leatherworkers, Hermès is establishing itself as much as possible in the region by employing staff living nearby. And trains them to his style and requirements by giving a chance to those who have sometimes never held a needle. Of the 120 artisans on permanent contracts, only five had ever done sewing. “I wanted to work with quality materials. It is a rewarding job. What prestige to work at Hermès ”, savors Julien, a thirty-something with the look of a metalhead, previously a lock pilot, in the process of making his first bag after several months of training to learn a model.
“I'm a manual person, but I had never done sewing. And here I am, assembling luxury bags, is still amazed, stars in my eyes, Jennifer, 36 years old and former salesperson. The training is of high quality. At the beginning, we are so proud that we count the number of bags we have made ... ”. Next door, in the cutting workshop, his colleagues “play Tetris” in order to optimize the cutting of the various parts of a bag in a calfskin, supple and silky. A precise task which requires a fine knowledge of Hermès pieces. A little more than 20,000 bags will come out each year from these eight white workshops, bathed in light, where each craftsman can personalize his table with photos or little charms.
In the cutting workshop, it is a question of making the best placement to cut the most beautiful places of the skin and by losing as little leather as possible.
They are currently 120 on permanent contracts and fifty in training.
More than thirty employees divided into administrative positions.
Within three years, 250 saddlers and leatherworkers will participate in France's influence throughout the world.
All the bags, the first prices of which range from 3000 to 7000 euros are made in France in 18 leather goods by 4000 artisans who contribute to half of the turnover of the brand.
Hermès, which made a profit of 2 billion euros last year, offers a remuneration higher than the minimum wage for a first permanent contract.
The Leather Goods CAP of the Flora-Tristan high school, a "breeding ground" of choice
“We offer objects that last and are passed on. We know who makes them and how, ”says Emmanuel Pommier, general manager of the leather goods and saddlery craft division, to explain the exponential success of Hermès, even though the health crisis has not really affected orders. Three other workshops are due to open in Eure, Auvergne and Ardennes within three years. For customers who do not all frequent yachts and luxury hotels, Hermès assures us. “Some people save their whole life to buy one of our bags, which has such an exceptional leather feel,” continues the director.
During the fifteen hours on average spent pampering the making of a Kelly or a Constance, Emeline, 21, often wonders who will live with what she has put so much care into making.
“I hope that one day I will be able to meet clients,” she dreams.
This may be possible since Hermès organizes meetings with those who place personalized orders.
In Montereau, every six months, Hermès launches a new recruitment process with Pôle emploi and Greta.
The selection (the next one will be in September) is severe since out of 250 candidates, 30 are selected to join the training.
The Flora-Tristan high school in Montereau, which has opened a CAP in leather goods, in addition to the ready-to-wear one, is also a “breeding ground” of choice.
The workshop was inaugurated this Friday.
“Our trainers went to train the teacher in charge of this course. To complete apprenticeships such as hand sewing, all of our promotions follow the CAP Leather Goods course more focused on the use of the sewing machine, ”contextualizes Graziella Silva, the Human Resources manager for leather goods, who previously worked in the leather goods industry. security field, delighted to find a job near her home.
This is the real stake of the establishment of Hermès: to give air to this isolated territory. The city of Montereau, from which 15% of employees come, has an unemployment rate of 25%
(Editor's note: against 7.1% on average in the department at the end of 2020)
. “Your company represents image work for our territory. These 280 jobs are more than welcome in this land hit by economic difficulties, summarizes Mayor James Chéron (UDI). Thank you for promoting Montereau and our country throughout the world. "