In that period under the collective solidarity to the war effort cause, we are proud to highlight our clients. Today, we have the honour to talk with the CEO of the Group Eminence about their initiative to make textile masks.
EMINENCE SITE D’AIMARGUES
You have been one of the firsts companies to support the hospital staff by making protective masks. Who was at the initiative of that decision? How have you internally communicated about it? What were the reactions?
The Eminence group is labeled “Civil security”. On March 13th, the Doctor Colonel Tur, who leads the sanitary services SDIS34 had asked us to make “barrier” masks of textile in his specifications. We never imagined producing masks and didn’t have any sanitary skills. Yet, thanks to an extraordinary mobilization of our Aimargues employees, the production of the first masks for CHU and firefighters has started on March 20th, with materials usually used for our underwear and pyjamas. It seemed to me impossible to conceive and produce such an innovation in one week only. However, the stake was so vital and urgent that an internal and external solidarity with our suppliers (Balas Textile for example) and subcontractors allowed us to make a grand public mask category 1 that has one of the best results to the DGA test (99% of filtration to 1 micron). We had received demands to deliver more than 12 millions of those textile masks. We had succeeded to deliver around 4 millions of them before end of July. They are sold cost prices (3€ maximum) to SDIS, CHU, security forces, local collectivities and other big ordering financial institutions (distributors, banks…). As far as I’m concerned, I regularly communicated about the progress of the masks production by internal messaging service to the employees at work or in partial unemployment, and also on Linkedin. We have received a lot of encouragement messages from everybody (firefighters, elected representatives, media, ONG, and else). Our employees are extremely proud to protect the ones that fight against the virus. I am also extremely touched by their bravery, their dedication and their ingenuity that they have shown.
Eminence – Factory of Sauve
Today, you offer to sell those masks to private individuals, is it a circumstance offer or do you consider making that a permanent offer?
Our confection lines are saturated until July. We can’t offer to private individuals more than masks kits that they can sew themselves. We sell them on Eminence. The Leclerc group had ordered almost one million masks to be sold to private individuals. Many doctors and distributors are sure that masks dedicated do private individuals have to remain a permanent offer until a vaccine or an efficient treatment will be found and largely available.
Eminence – Mask Kit
Do you think that the masks (once the current traumatism will be softened) could become an accessory as well welcomed as in Asia, both protector and protecting in France?
I think that it will take many years and a huge pedagogy from the media and public authorities for making the masks well accepted like in Asia.
Do you think that the masks could be one day “fantasy” or “message supporting”?
We are currently working on the launch of fantasy masks for children and adults under our brand Athena. Some suppliers are already offering advertising and personalized marking. At the beginning we didn’t want to respond to this need to favor the big volumes priority orders.
Which assets do you have to answer to the consuming changes causing by the crisis?
I think that the historical notoriety of our brands (Liabel 1851, Eminence 1944, Athéna 1962) and the machine operators, technicians, engineer’s savoir-faire, in our European factories, are assets that allow us to be distinguishing. Alexandre Mars has written in his book “Giving” “Purpose is the new currency”. The challenge that we are now raising is the one of sense, of the coherence between our discourses and our acts to respond both to the ecological transition and digital that are at stake right now but also to the economical and social crisis, which is threatening the purchasing power of millions of citizens.
Thank you very much Dominique Seau for these inspiring answers.