This was not the path she had imagined. However, at 23, Agathe Le Bouedec can consider herself a businesswoman. “Just hearing it makes me really funny,” she smiles shyly. The Saintannoise has been working for a year on Elfenn (“Element”, in Breton), a brand of natural cosmetics, which she imagined and designed. The pitch is simple and in tune with the times: local products, soon to be certified organic and eco-friendly.
Camelina, an endemic plant
Its range, still at the prototype stage, includes four products: a make-up remover oil, a massage oil, one for the body and hair and one for the face. All are made from camelina, “an endemic plant, with multiple virtues”, she explains, grown and harvested in Pontivy.
Agathe adds seaweed, collected in Finistère, and essential oils, produced in Pénestin. Only the CBD extract, which she uses in the massage oil, comes from elsewhere in Europe. “I hope to find a Breton producer soon”, slips the one who intends to source her products “from A to Z”. She designs her cosmetics in the laboratory, installed in the family garden.
“I could live with it”
To help her in the creation of her business, Agathe can count on her father, a salesman. “Initially, working with camelina was her idea,” she recalls. He had bought the press in 2017, to produce the oils, and then, the project had remained in abeyance”.
Until the first confinement, where the agronomic engineering student begins to set foot in it. She does extensive research on the internet, before looking for local producers. Her notions of chemistry allow her to refine the formulas, which she then has validated with laboratories. As her project is being refined, Agathe has been supported since last year by the Pépite France entrepreneurship network. “It was from there that I told myself that it was possible and that I could make a living from it,” recalls the student.
€3,000 before the beginning of May
But first, you still need to be able to start production. To do this, she launched an online participatory kitty. She gives herself one month to raise €3,000. “If I don’t reach my goal, every donor will be reimbursed. And if I succeed, then I can start my activity before the summer”. The amount collected will also allow her to apply for organic certification, which costs “between 1,200 and 2,000 euros”, she specifies.
If her plan goes off without a hitch, the Saintannoise hopes to produce between 4,000 and 5,000 bottles of oils next year. Cosmetics that she intends to sell between 16 and 30 €. For distribution, Agathe has thought of everything: a website, local producers’ stores and local professionals. Before aiming for the national scale.