This week on FEW Member's Corner, we would like to introduce you to Johanna El Iman, Co-Founder of Zoobeetle Paris, a French luxury Maison specializing in exquisite leather goods.
Hello Johanna, tell us a bit more about you.
I am almost 40 years old, a mother of three dynamic boys and the co-founder of ZOOBEETLE Paris, a French leather goods maison for independent women. After a few years working in the luxury industry, for brands such as St Dupont, Lancel, and Chloé, my sister and I decided to get together to create a brand of bags and accessories tailored to a woman’s daily life. Elsa is the artistic director/ designer and my role is to develop the business.
What inspired you to start your company?
It is a family story really: our grandmother was this incredible, wonder-woman who made me think that anything is possible, such as building your own company, even as a woman. I created ZOOBEETLE Paris whilst raising my three amazing boys and whilst being a (good) wife, a good friend, a good sister, daughter, etc. I realized that I was struggling to be several-women-at-once. Our bags are made for women like me who need support to make their life easier and need coping mechanisms. A light, functional yet elegant bag can help!
Why did you decide to launch a concept store in Hong Kong?
I wanted to bring the people to discover the ZOOBEETLE Paris’ brand in its genuine environment - in Parisian decor with its French art-de-vivre’s flair. Chateau Zoobeetle becomes a destination, not just a boutique to buy premium leather goods. We worked on a surprising yet unique retail experience that lets the client choose between shopping, having a drink, looking around or having it all at the same time!
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
On growing teams
I would suggest a weekly team meeting where everyone talks about their week, achievements and their objectives for the coming week / month. So that everyone understands the company's direction / challenges.
On top three things someone should consider before starting a business
I would recommend finding a good partner who shares the same vision and whom you can exchange about different subjects. Being two taking the decisions is a real plus. The second thing is to be sure to have the entrepreneur spirit: being persistent is a must. Last but not least, you want to make sure you will be proud of your products/services you offer.
My personal success is the balance I found between my company, my family and my hobbies - most days! One of the biggest wins for ZOOBEETLE Paris is being sold on Net-A-Porter, which is a kind of accreditation.