Bertrand Gstalder (Mister Menuiserie): "We are the Volkswagon of home improvement”
While the Label group has been around for over a decade, the Mister Menuiserie brand only saw the light of day in 2016. Ever since, this French company specializing in exterior design products for the home has seen remarkable growth. It lands at No.20 in our Growth Leaders ranking for 2022. Leaders League spoke to group general manager, Bertrand Gstalder.
Leaders League: How do you account for the success of Mister Menuiserie?
The first reason is our emphasis on price transparency. We only offer made-to-measure products. In this market, customers tend not to have a great grasp of the various charges – they don’t have a well enough developed frame of reference. Our website offers configurators that allow people to examine a product in great detail before making a decision whether on not to buy it, and our prices are always clearly displayed.
In addition, we give customers the freedom to carry out installation themselves (or with the help of their own joiners) or benefit from our Talents Mister Menuiserie network of third-party experts. This level of transparency and freedom, coupled with Mister Menuiserie’s great value for money, goes a long way to explaining our level of growth.
In the beginning, Mister Menuiserie was an online-only business, but you now have a network of 150 physical stores. Why didn’t you stay exclusively e-commerce?
We have our roots in the digital sphere, an so it's fitting that our stores operate as connected showrooms. In our experience it's difficult for clients to buy our products sight unseen, especially something like a €5,000 gate or a €10,000 pergola canopy. The website remains our store window, but 9 out of 10 Mister Menuiserie customers come to the store to conclude their purchases.
Well-crafted products are to be found in abundance in France and Europe
What sets you apart from the competition?
When it comes to home improvement, there are two main types of operator. You have the large retailers which offer a standard range of products, very few of which are made-to-measure, and furthermore they don’t have our level of customer service. Then there are the local independents, which do not have the same range of products or purchasing options as we do.
The website is what attracts people in the first place, and it allows us to sell a larger number of products at a more competitive price. Mister Menuiserie stands for quality and affordability – we like to think of ourselves as the Volkswagon of the home improvement sector.
95% of your products are European-sourced, and 60% of them are made in France. Was this a conscious decision?
When one sells mass produced products made in China, they must be shipped and take a long time to arrive. When your business is based on offering made-to-measure products, this kind of supply chain clearly does not work.
What’s more, well-crafted products are to be found in abundance in France and Europe. For example, the best motors for automatic gates are made in Italy. In addition, shorter supply routes are synonymous with quicker order delivery. And if environmental considerations also play a part, the main reason for preferring European-made products is quality design and quality of service.
Where does Mister Menuiserie go from here?
In 2022, we will continue our expansion in France, where we are a long way from reaching saturation point (probably another hundred stores from hitting that), and because our connected showrooms have not yet realized their potential.
There is scope, too, to expand our range of products. For example, two years ago we weren’t selling pergola canopies, now they sell like hotcakes! In 2023 we want to take our chain international, starting with one or two handpicked European countries, and by 2025 we aim to reach €300 million in turnover in France.
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