Entrepreneur Retraining: she put down the pen to become a bookseller

Retraining: she put down the pen to become a bookseller

Writing was his professional daily life. Eva Mignot had become a journalist* for the love of words. After graduating from the Parisian school IPJ-Dauphine, she collaborated on titles such as Alternatives Economiques (already on the book prize), L’Etudiant and Les Echos Entrepreneurs (already on retraining for entrepreneurship). She also had a career plan all mapped out: “I always said to myself that I would open a bookstore when I turned 50,” she jokes.

The books will have caught up with her sooner than she thought. Eva Mignot inaugurated the Célestine bookstore in February 2022, located in Meximieux in Ain, at the age of 27. “My life before didn’t suit me anymore. I felt like I didn’t really know how to evolve anymore. From 2019, I started to learn about the profession of bookseller. »

Its reconversion remained in the planning stage for about two years. She accumulates testimonials from professionals, like when she meets Carole Marie who has become a bookseller in the Rhône… But very quickly, she realizes that she lacks one essential thing to work in an independent bookstore: years of experience. “For that, you have to work first in chains or supermarkets, which does not correspond to my vision of the profession”, admits Eva Mignot. Which convinces her, at the beginning of 2021, that she had better open her own bookstore.

Contacts in publishing

Eva Mignot is then faced with a double challenge: learning the trade of bookseller and that of business manager. By skimming through existing training (including those to become an entrepreneur), she came across a four-week course focused on the creation or takeover of bookstores, offered by the Ecole de la Librairie in Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne ). “It was relatively expensive, but I was able to finance everything thanks to my personal training account,” explains the former journalist.

The school gives him the opportunity to do an internship. The future entrepreneur (by the way, do we say entrepreneur or entrepreneur?) goes around her address book. “I worked a lot in the world of publishing as a journalist. This allowed me to make contacts and familiarize myself with the specificities of the sector,” explains Eva Mignot. She is welcomed by a bookseller in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, whose manager she had interviewed in her former life as a journalist. After two weeks on the shelves, she is confirmed in her choice.

Heading for Meximieux

All that remains is to find where to create your bookshop and to refine your economic model… “It may seem obvious, but we were taught during the training that it was not at all compulsory to sacrifice your personal life by settling in a region that we don’t know”, says Eva Mignot. The entrepreneur therefore chooses, when giving life to her project, to focus her research around the Saône-et-Loire where she is from. “I built a map of independent bookstores in the region, and I quickly identified an axis empty of competitors in Ain, between Miribel, Montluel, and Meximieux. »

The bookseller ended up removing Miribel from its perimeter, because of the proximity to Lyon. Once these places have been identified, she verifies the presence of a potential clientele by analyzing the local population. “During our training, we were taught to favor places where there is a high concentration of executives. They visit bookstores more often, and have a larger average basket than the other socio-professional categories. This allows him to estimate his projected turnover, and confirms the viability of his project.

The Célestine bookstore opened in Meximieux in February 2022.
– Google maps

A room of 48 m2 to retype

All prepared that was Eva Mignot, the launch of Célestine was still paved with many unforeseen events. She sets her sights on premises located in the center of Meximieux, a town of 8,000 inhabitants in Ain. “This premises has the advantage of being located a few meters from a wine merchant and a cheese maker, shops which attract the same public as bookstores”, specifies Eva Mignot who signs a rental from October 2021.

In these former offices of 48 m², everything needs to be redone. She calls on craftsmen as well as the help of her relatives, while taking care of everything else, alone. The cost of the work and more generally of its launch amounts to around 80,000 euros. The entrepreneur financed herself with her own funds (and which is rare today without crowdfunding!) as well as with a joint grant from the DRAC and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of 16,000 euros. “Since it was necessary to open as quickly as possible, I missed out on a certain number of supports such as those offered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which could have helped me a lot,” he laments. she.

time to read

The opening of the Célestine bookstore finally takes place on February 22, 2022! “The week of the launch, it was effervescence. Customers followed one another to thank me,” she recalls enthusiastically. For the opening, she had taken care of the welcome!

The entrepreneur does not yet pay herself a salary, and has no plans to do so in the coming months. Eva Mignot nevertheless receives a return-to-work assistance allowance. Enough to allow him to pay his personal fixed expenses. But for nothing in the world, she would not go back. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, the former journalist considers her new job to be less time-consuming than her old one. At the time, for lack of time, she had adopted speed reading techniques! “Bookseller is still a physical profession. We spend our days standing up carrying boxes. I work long days, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but now I take much longer than before to read! »

*All links in this article refer to articles written by Eva Mignot for Les Echos Entrepreneurs.

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