Create your business by importing a concept that works

Struggling to invent THE good idea? “Looking at what is being done abroad saves time and reassures investors,” said Brice Auckenthaler of the Tilt Ideas firm. And with the internet, there is no need to jump on a plane. Check out the PACE newsletter,,, or

In spite of everything, beware of legal pitfalls. “To reduce the risk of plagiarism, take the best of several concepts and mix,” advises Julien Lacker, an intellectual property attorney. There are now countless examples of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in importing.

Precious:, the European database for checking registered trademarks

Discover our file “100 New Business Ideas to Get Rich”

> movie. To find the right ideas, here are 4 questions to ask yourself:

♦ Ride the craze for “escape games”

Sixty minutes to solve puzzles and escape from a room. Originating in Australia and Hungary, the ‘escape games’ only landed in France two years ago, but there are already a hundred of them (read testimonial below). Good news: there is still room in the provinces. “Marseille has only two, Lille three, Lyon less than ten. And several can live together in a city,” assures Vincent Baÿ, co-founder of Challenge The Room (Grenoble), which has already opened two.

And to fill the rooms during the day during the week, recruiting firms that are fans of team building can pay off. “They represent 50% of our turnover, estimated at 450,000 euros for 2016”, beams this former market manager. Be careful though: large spaces needed, decorations to refine, puzzles to invent… The initial investment is significant. “125,000 euros to open our first place”, calculates Elisa Elbaz, co-founder in 2014 of Team Break, which already has four escape games (in Paris, Lille and Lyon) and is developing under license.

=> Testimony: they open a playroom like in Budapest

Maxime Brewers and Maxime David launch The Game ©Rémy Deleuze for Capital

In 2014, having just signed a permanent contract, Maxime Biewers and Maxime David dropped everything when they discovered “escape games” through a friend. Towards Budapest, cradle of the concept, where they visited a dozen places. On their return, they find a space to rent in Paris. But to save money, the puzzles are homemade, thanks to ideas collected in Hungary: “We had written a sheet for every room visited.” And the works (here a recreated saferoom) are performed with friends. Since its opening, The Game has welcomed 28,000 players.

Starting bet: 5,000 euros. Total personal contribution of the two founders

Turnover (January 2016): 96,077 euros. Turnover (January 2015): 24,176 euros

1,000 euros: the round trip for three to Budapest to visit the escape games.

Also read: Corporate games, the new management trend

>>> Entrepreneurs, register for Bpifrance Inno Génération, the largest business meeting in France on 25 and 26 May at the AccorHotels Arena Paris.

♦ Making beer or wine in the city center

“Few Parisian wine lovers are willing to buy them directly from producers,” says Matthieu Bosser. Never mind, under the Les Vignerons parisiens brand, this 30-year-old has just opened a wine cellar 100% made in Paris, as there are already in the United States and Canada. Or 400,000 euros in investments (local, works, purchase of equipment) partly financed by crowdfunding, transporting the grapes from the Côtes du Rhône after each harvest. Expected turnover in 2017: 1 million euros. Launched in 2015, another cellar, the Parisian Winerie, begins its vinification.

12,000 euros: the price for a small wine press.

A concept that is easy to duplicate in regional cities. Urban microbreweries, imported from across the Atlantic, are also on the rise, especially in Paris (BapBap, La Baleine, La Parisienne, Deck & Donohue, La Goutte d’or…). But in the provinces, all places are up for grabs!

> movie. Rhône-Alpes is the region of France with the most craft breweries:

♦ Find the accessory that will be a hit in France

“A tsunami.” For example, the Laurençon couple, former real estate manager and stay-at-home mom, saw the fashion for Rainbow Loom (bracelets made from crochet elastic bands) blossom in the United States, where they lived in 2012. For months all the children had one on their wrist. We saw it as a blessing.” They then negotiated the distribution rights in France and invested 12,000 euros to get the first pallets from China. Bet won: 7.5 million sales in 2014. Since then fashion has run out, but the duo had anticipated and travels to toy fairs around the world to identify future hits…

> movie. Rainbow Low bracelets were all the rage among French kids in 2014:

Same good deal for Emilie Creuzieux, a former physiotherapist, with her bento’s (lunch boxes) imported from Japan: €40,000 investment (stocks and website) in 2009, €4 million turnover for Monbento in 2015. Former international buyer, Ibrahima Niakaté hopes that the fashion for electric skateboards will take him this far: he sold up to thirty of these skateboards made in China and sold under the Insolites Board brand in the summer of 2015 and predicts a turnover of 300,000 euros in 2016.

♦Refuse the truck in all sauces

We know the dizzying success of food trucks. Today, the concept is rejected. Imported from California, arriving in France from fashion trucks: The Rolling Shop, Itsy Bitsy Nomadic Boutique, Cotton & Wild… “For starters, a truck is more accessible than a shop”, says Guillaume Robin, ex-executive in fashion and founder of The Rolling Shop.

> movie. The fashion truck, a thriving concept in the United States:

His debut in 2013? “We tested the brands in a pop-up store in Paris and then drove a truck all summer.” That is an investment of 12,000 euros, 1,500 of which for the Relay Renault that can be found on “The truck creates buzz, but you have to supplement the income.” So today The Rolling Shop is also a boutique in Paris and an e-shop. In return, sales increased by 20% per year. Other variants are emerging, but the vein is far from exhausted: Le Boudoir des Cocottes, Nail Truck (manicure), Arty Truck, Hair We Go (haircut)…

Leonor Lumineau

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