Lézignan-Corbières: with Franck Pagès, hunting dogs have their protective vests

Specializing in the manufacture of equipment to protect dogs from wild boar fangs, FP Concept has grown significantly since its inception in 2016. The small company currently employs 10 workers and plans to move to expand.

This is called a niche business. A small market that meets the expectations of a very specific clientele not yet or sufficiently exploited. However, despite the wide-open eyes of his family and his various interlocutors, Franck Pagès immediately believed in his idea: to make protective vests for hunting dogs to prevent them from being injured, or even mortally affected, by a wild boar load.

Debate with Claude Mazet

To understand your thinking, you need to immerse yourself in your journey, nurtured by family experience: “I started with my father who was in charge of Technica y Seguridad, a protective glove company. I succeeded him when he retired before merging with Espuna.”, trust. We are at the dawn of the 2000s: a sad period for the French textile industry as a whole, which sees its workshops slowly unfold in favor of emerging countries, a mirror to the lark of a profit that now in question … Then head of research and development as an employee, Franck Pagès will be interested in at least an atypical local demand, broadcast by Claude Mazet, a key figure in the city of hunting and fishing: “He told me that there was a real need for protective vests for dogs. It was 2008: I still see myself at that time proposing its design to the factory manager. He said to me, ‘I see that the your eyes shine. ; if you want to do it, do it but there are other priorities ”.

The growth of the company is 20 to 30% per year

In the evening after work, with a textile engineer, Franck Pagès will delve into the subject, measuring dogs of different breeds, studying their morphology. But the idea is put on hold, for lack of a real business project around the record. “In 2016, as a result of the change of direction in Espuna, I decided to start: it was the year of my 50th birthday, now or never!” Thus, FP concept had just been born in a workshop that only had its name, imagined in the barn of a wine estate located between Luc-sur-Orbieu and Ferrals-les-Corbières. With him, an employee hired through Pôle emploi: “I cut and she rode”, recalls Franck Pagès. From fair to fair, word of mouth soon rewarded the sum of the efforts made to start a company that has since been flooded with orders! No less than 1,400 dog vests, made of polyethylene, the same fiber used by fencers, but also 300 pants or cuffs to protect them from vegetation every year leave the workshop where ten people work: “It’s very simple, the annual progression is between 20 and 30%. We can’t grow too much because, although Pôle emploi has helped me a lot, we have to hire, train … And this is not done with the click of ‘a finger “. The rescue of a success based on quality, made to measure (35 different sizes, adapted to each breed, so that each dog is effectively protected while remaining comfortable), listening, advice … In such a signal that Many hunters from all over France prefer FP concept products, which are certainly more expensive (a vest costs around € 300) than foreign competition. With his son Rémi, a salesman, Franck intends to go a little further, keeping his company with its human dimension: “I want to hire five to six more people, but I can no longer stay in these places, which have become too small.”

That’s why we are planning to move to Lézignan, in the Caumont area, near Pôle emploi: “In the next few days, the building permit for a 350 m2 building will be presented. The current situation is not very good in terms of construction costs, but I would like to move in at the beginning of next year.” ., just wait. Especially because their trousers, protection against loads of wild boar on this occasion, made of mesh coat, have every chance of being certified by the IFCH of Lyon after a year and a half of research and development. More than enough to widen the walls of the niche …

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