May 27, 2022

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BienElevées, saffron cultivated on the roofs by 4 sisters

It is the story of four sisters raised between Paris and the center of France. Their father is both an executive and a farmer and they are very early on made aware of agricultural issues. The eldest of the sororia, Amela du Bessey, spent years cultivating saffron, in her parents’ land but also on the balcony of her apartment in Paris, where she pursued a career in mass distribution. She is amazed to see flowers blooming better in her home and begins to ripen a project. His sister Bérangère is an urban planner. This is the first to whom Amela explains her idea of ​​creating urban terraces dedicated to culture of this fragile flower … the beginnings of the company, Well educated which they will create with their two other sisters in March 2018.

During the Christmas holidays 2017, the 4 sisters respond to a call for tenders from the Paris city hall, which is looking for projects to green the roofs of the capital. ” Spontaneously we started to work together », Recalls Amela, who emphasizes, fair play, that her sisters say that she did not really give them a choice. Louise, the first youngest, works in the luxury industry with a background in marketing. As for Filipina, the second youngest, she is a banker. ” We have very complementary profiles, which was very useful to launch the project », Assures Amela du Bessey.

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A flexible organization

Working with sisters made it possible to opt for a very fluid organization, which adapts to the careers and personal lives of each. Since January 2019, Amela has been working full time on the BienElevées project, when Bérangère has been there since January 2020 part-time. Louise started another business but continues to deal with the cosmetic aspects of the brand and Philippine has kept his paid job.

A flexibility that they also reproduced on the financial level, in particular when they won the call for tenders of the mayor of Paris helped them a lot: ” We won the right to operate a roof in June 2018, we had to plant in August. We all bribed according to our financial capacity, then took out a loan. For Amela, there is nothing more effective than creating as a family. Of course, there are times of tension. Talking about money is difficult, for example. But for the business manager, there is no more reason to quarrel between sisters than between partners who would have met under other circumstances. ” For the moment, we don’t pay each other. The goal is to start paying two of us next January », She assures.

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The recruitment challenge

The main challenge for Amela and her sisters is human: to develop, they needhire people who can manage terrace projects in the provinces. Because in addition to their five terraces in Paris, the four sisters are in discussion for projects in Tours and Rouen. An urban farm must also see the light of day in Lyon, its creation having been delayed by confinement. ” We realized that this was a subject to be careful of: there are some natural things between us that will not necessarily be natural for others. », Underlines Amela, who regularly calls for reinforcements during periods of rush.

2021 should therefore be the year of the first hires, but also of fundraising, which BienElevées wishes to carry out in order to continue to develop and structure your business model. Today, this is based on two components: projects with town halls to develop links and respond to a social vocation, and with private companies or donors, to generate turnover. And continue this family adventure.