Aquavitex is first of all an encounter between an entrepreneur from Nantes and an oyster farmer…
Chapelle Basse-Mer (Loire Atlantique, FRANCE), church place). Like every Sunday, Jean-Philippe would go to Didier’s stall to get his oysters. The interactions with his oyster farmer were always friendly. And on that Sunday, Jean Philippe dared and went for it. He offered Didier a strapping machine for his keepnets. He launched some time ago his own industrial supplies distribution company: AFI Distribution Soliciting the professional he knows sounded like a good idea. The oyester farmer was up for it and invited the young entrepreneur on his Vendée land, in Bouin.
Once there, Jean-Philippe had a revelation when he met other oyster farmers. They were talking about their workwear.
“I heard them complain about the quality of what they were buying: it didn’t fit, it wasn’t appropriate anymore, it was still so expensive, it was wearing out faster and faster…”
The idea to develop a new gear brand to meet these professionals’ needs was taking shape. The entrepreneur started by looking for information. He contacted other professionals, other oyster farmers, fishermen and fishmongers. All were very receptive to the approach and started thinking about improvements for the products.
The early days
Jean-Philippe was looking for quality. He found a manufacturer who was offering a new fabric that was thicker and very wear resistant. The advantage of this material was its flexibility to make comfortable clothes. This was it! The first prototypes left the factory.
The entrepreneur started to know the oyster farming environment better. He met Vivian, an oyster farmer and nurseur in Bouin (85, Vendée, FRANCE). He is one of the first ambassador of the brand who has tested many prototypes.
Jean-Philippe embarked on a France tour to discover the maritime professionals’ different working conditions. From the English Channel coasts to the Mediterranean Sea via the Atlantic coast, the entrepreneur questioned, enquired and tested the products. These are the beginnings of the future brand from Nantes.
The purpose of this France tour was first to familiarize with the working conditions. The oyster farmers work in the oyster beds, at sea and on land, in their sheds. They needed clothes that could adapt to all these changes. Jean-Philippe also met fishermen. They are confronted with wind and tide, rain and sea water. One of their priorities is, of course, to stay dry. Well it is a good thing that Aquavitex clothing is waterproof and seawater resistant!
After a year of going up and down on the French coast and testing several prototypes, the entrepreneur had his product range. The launch of the brand was imminent!
Aquavitex came out in broad daylight in September 2015 at the Shellfish and Marine Culture Show of Vannes, Morbihan, FRANCE (le Salon de la Conchyliculture et des Cultures Marines de Vannes). The visitors were there to have a look at the new brand from Nantes. It had been a long time since there was a new gear manufacturer on the market and Aquavitex was standing out. The first customers arrived and orders were pouring in. This was the beginning of a great adventure!
After two years, Aquavitex continued to grow. The range of waterproof clothing for professional fishing and aquaculture is a success. The new brand got another interest in other professions where working conditions required better protection. Aquavitex quickly launched a range of products for farmers, including oilskins, coveralls, boots and overalls. Gear for the agri-food industry soon followed. Aquavitex was interested in the professionals’ comfort and offered even lighter and more resistant products. For instance, bakers, caterers and cheese makers discovered safety shoes for the agri-food industry. They are so light we do not feel we are wearing them!
What happens next?
Aquavitex evolves and keeps on growing. The brand sticks to its approach that is to include the professionals’ demands in the design of products. Aquavitex clothing is the users’ before anything else
“The sailors, the oyster farmers, the market gardeners, the bakers and so on… are the ones behind the origin of the products”
Aquavitex now wants to develop its distribution partnerships to be closer to its customers.
The new brand from Nantes continues to innovate and to offer “weatherproof” clothing!