Local and responsible: Camif’s recipe for success

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Blessed are the chronically undecided, Camif seems to have heard you. Recently, some “departments” of the site specializing in furniture and household appliances have indeed sounded terribly hollow. Need a microwave, want (baroque) a parasol? The e-merchant will greatly facilitate your life, since it now offers only one reference of each. Shortage ? No, a strategic and, so to speak, ethical choice.

“Since July 1, we have decided to stop supplying ourselves outside Europe, which has forced us to cut 1,700 references, or nearly 7% of our supply,” explains Emery Jacquillat, CEO of Camif. A choice that has particularly shaken up the household appliance universe and even more that of the garden, where one in four articles has so far been from large-scale imports. Of course, home buyers have tried their best to find alternatives, but some products are hardly ever made on the Old Continent.

A decision that will cause Camif to lose several million

A costly decision: Camif expects its turnover (50 million euros in 2020) to decline by 5%, but in line with its status as a company with a mission “for the benefit of people and society. planet “, picked up in September of last year. “54% of France’s CO2 emissions are due to imports, given our status it seemed natural to us to seek to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible”, underlines Emery Jacquillat. A logical continuation, too, of the strategy launched in 2009 by the entrepreneur who, to save the historic mail order company, then weighed down by 100 million euros of debt, made the choice of everything online and made in France (78 % of current supply). “And at the time Montebourg had not yet posed in a striped sweater on the front page of Parisian!“he jokes. The CEO hopes that this new strategic shift will also create jobs in Europe, especially in the 95 French SMEs from which he sources:” Once the large trees have been felled, the young shoots have more of light to develop. ”

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Limited offer. 2 months for 1 € without commitment

A commitment that does not, of course, prevent some marketing ulterior motives. To survive in an ultra-competitive world, where mastodons like Amazon, Ikea, or Cdiscount reign supreme, Camif had no other choice but to play the particularism card. “The brand was one of the first to sense that consumer demand for ‘local’ products was going to be bottoming out and, to my knowledge, no company of this size has yet gone so far in doing so. in particular a cross on the made in China “, hello Rémy Gérin, executive director of the high consumption chair of the Essec Business School. A choice that could prove to be a double winner for the furniture specialist, “because we are convinced that the competitive gap with made in China will narrow as local wages rise and the price of freight explodes” , specifies Emery Jacquillat.

A winning positioning

What is certain is that the formula proved to be a winning one: it allowed Camif to quickly put back into the green and to display, thanks to the pandemic, an alluring growth curve. After a year 2020 when its turnover climbed by 44%, the first half of 2021 ended with a new jump of 33%. Even Amazon did not do better over the same period!

The French brand has in particular recruited a new clientele made up of many young people who, if they have less means than the rest of the population, are making increasingly refined choices to be in accordance with their ideals. “It remains to be seen whether, with the possible crisis to come and the tensions on purchasing power, consumers will always be ready to pay more for made in Europe”, warns Rémy Gérin.

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Develop the circular economy

Not enough to slow down the Niort company, which now wants to dig its furrow in the circular economy, whose objective is to limit the waste of resources, in particular by promoting recyclable products. “This is already the case for 60% of our offer, but we are now aiming for 100%: which was, in essence, impossible with products from Asia,” says Emery Jacquillat.

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And on the relocation side, the brand is increasingly pushing its suppliers to source themselves in France or in neighboring countries. “We challenge them while supporting them because we know that it is never easy to review your sourcing, especially for small structures “, continues the CEO. Given for dead only ten years ago, Camif is today the envied and scrutinized beacon of responsible consumption.


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