Once upon a time there was a young marketing student who, not wanting to have a story which turned out exactly according to script, was saved by the Specialised Master in Entrepreneurship, and she created the very first agency for historical engineering in France, and had lots of customers….
This is how the adventure could begin for Pauline Le Clere with Perles d’histoire, a start-up dedicated to brand memory and the promotion of company heritage.
Pauline Le Clere had prosaic enough teenage years, was a good pupil, and a good school friend. « I was brought up in a very close-knit family, with strong roots, and the idea that everyone can live their dream. » So she went on a quest to find her path: University Paris-Dauphine, six months in the marketing department at Renault, three months voluntary work in Bangladesh… Refusing an already clearly defined future, she changed the script thanks to a friend. « She told me about the Master in Entrepreneurship. I saw a host of new possibilities open up. It was a decisive experience. I realised that entrepreneurship is accessible to all, that you don’t need to be a charismatic star with an amazing idea. »
The main condition for freedom is knowledge. The demonstration of the power of freedom is creativity. The strength of entrepreneurs actually lies in their capacity to give sense, to invent, and to build something sustainable. I deeply believe that everyone can be an entrepreneur, create jobs and get things moving.
But you still do have to find an idea… « Ever since the Master, I’ve been part of a really stimulating entrepreneurial ecosystem, and I developed my project by going to entrepreneur cafés, whilst working as a consultant in strategy for a small firm. »
Pauline Le Clere began the first chapter of Perles d’histoire in 2008, to transmit history at a family level. « I was making documentary films, to reinforce family connections through various testimonials. » She recruited her first customers in her immediate environment, then through word of mouth. But it was difficult to get the activity to pay. « Your first idea is not necessarily the right one. We had to revise the business model. »
She diversified her clientele, began offering services to digitalise company archives. Then she realised that she could help her new customers even more. And set up a scientific and technical network to preserve and promote company history.
She won an entrepreneurial award in Paris, participated in the creation of a ‘’history market’’ in France. « I was encouraged to develop consultancy services, and that helped me turn a corner. I could validate that my positioning as a specialist in company history answered a real need, and in particular a quest for meaning. »
Perles d’histoire recruited its first employee in 2011, gained customers from big groups, and developed a complete range of services, from archive management (organisation of historical heritage) to museography, editing, and every sort of project concerned with the promotion of history.
Today, Pauline Le Clere is happily running a team of ten people, historians and art historians, museographers, archivists, documentary film makers, consultants, project managers… « We are focussed on consultancy, engineering and long-term partnerships, and we work with qualified outside partners for some of the production part of our activity. »
Within this new market, which is beginning to attract new players, the next episode of Perles d’histoire will be that of growth acceleration. To do this, Pauline Le Clere has set up a strategic team, and is considering partnerships for key types of know-how.
In the hustle and bustle of modern times, the slower rhythm of history seems to give Pauline Le Clere a serene determination. « I live a balanced life from several points of view, both personally and professionally. » And in the evening, she tells her 3 and 5 year old daughters the never-ending story of Perles d’histoire …
EM Lyon: Mastère spécialisé Entreprendre 2006 Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC Date de parution : 01/06/15