SOS-Parts self-repair company for domestic appliances
Please introduce yourself and your startup SOS Accessoire to our readers!
After 10 years at DARTY, the French leader in the sale of household appliances (1st shareholder CECONOMY AG), I decided to start my own business. To succeed, I capitalized on my experience acquired within the Accessory Purchasing and Spare Parts department of this major distributor and decided to launch a website to sell household electrical spare parts to individuals. At the beginning SOS Accessoire was a classic ecommerce company with a product catalogue growing every year. Gradually, we have expanded the content and services to allow a growing number of customers to repair their appliances themselves.
After seven years of profitable growth, I decided to accelerate our development by raising funds which allowed us to invest in our logistic tools and to launch into the international market, starting with Germany, Italy and now also the UK with SOS-Parts.
How did you get the idea to SOS Accessoire?
One day, as it happens to all of us at some point, my dishwasher broke down. After a few days of “family pressure” refusing to wash by hand, I called the after-sales service of my former employer. Two days later, I received the visit of the technician who repaired my machine in 30 minutes only. The invoice was 135 €: 90 € for commute + 45 € for the part. The part was the drain pump, which is one of the most common wear parts of a dishwasher. I realized that it would have been possible for me to buy the spare part online for much less and with a little effort in trying to repair it myself. I could have saved a 100 € bill!
Although I didn’t know how to do it, millions of French people were already doing it, so I wanted to do everything I could to make their task easier with a specialized website.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The first three years were really difficult: no income, the relative loneliness of the company manager, 15 hours days, 7 days a week, and especially the difficulty of constantly juggling the real strategic choices and the daily life where you feel like a firefighter addressing the most urgent problems. One day, if you have made the right choices, perseverance finally pays!
Who is your target audience?
At the beginning, the majority of our clients were men, over 40 years old, rather lower socio-economical status, living mostly in small towns.
In recent years, thanks to the development of our services, tutorials and videos, we have broadened our customer base, which is increasingly young, urban, feminine and wealthy:
The “economic constraint” of renewing a device is no longer the ultra-dominant criterion that drives Internet users into Do-It-Yourself.
What is the USP of your startup?
SOS-Accessoire and SOS-Parts strive to build its offer on 3 major pillars: the richest content, the highest level of service in assistance or after-sales service, and the best prices. In this area, the prices of spare parts are very different from one merchant to another.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
A typical workday for me usually goes like this:
Analysis of the main reporting elements
Successive meetings with the heads of the main departments: Purchasing, Customer Services, IT, Marketing
Update on current logistical or IT developments
Preparation and meeting with major suppliers
Where do you see yourself and your startup SOS Accessoire in five years?
At the head of one of Europe’s leading self-repair companies for domestic appliances. through the development of our spare parts sales activity of course, but also through developed of online services which should make it possible to democratize self-repair even more.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Always look for ways to do things a little or very differently from your competitors
If you are in a relationship, ask for the 100% support from your partner: it won’t be hard, it will be very hard, but what a blessing if you have the freedom to work on your project and if both your project and relationship work!
Dare, go ahead: do not put yourself in the position of one who might regret it all your life.
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