2018 was a great year for Longchamp, where we witnessed its stunning New York Fashion Week show—a first in the brand’s history; and where it also marked a huge milestone—its 70th anniversary that saw a grand celebration with Kendall Jenner in the heart of Paris at the Opéra Garnier.
Soon after the two extraordinary events, Longchamp added another to the list—a new production site in Pouzauges—the latest addition to Longchamp’s string of ateliers in France to replace the former Montournais workshop. Along with Segré, Rémalard, Ernée, Combrée and Château-Gontier, the French brand now has six production sites in the Loire region that boast a modern, robust and sustainable organisation.
Aside from being a production site, what makes the Pouzauges atelier so amazing is its training initiative that features a teaching studio to train new talents to replace retiring workers in keeping with Longchamp’s philosophy of supporting local expertise in the long run.
Built with sustainability in mind, this new space in Pouzauges is a modern contemporary site surrounded by a 50,000 m2 park to minimise the impact of the surrounding buildings and roads on the landscape. Within the 7,000 m2 building, Longchamp has created the perfect working environment for its craftsmen with a workspace that benefits from a superb view thanks to large bay windows.
In light of the opening of this new and impressive site, we talked to David Burgel, Industrial Director at Longchamp, to learn more about the Pouzauges facility.
What is the origin of this new site in Pouzauges?
Our workshop in Montournais no longer matched our work environment requirements and our desire to expand. Therefore, we decided to look for a place that met three objectives: to retain all our current employees by selecting a nearby location; to move closer to the main roads to encourage recruitment; and to create a high-quality workspace.
Thanks to a study conducted beforehand, all the current jobs have been maintained without the need for the staff to move from their homes or even to increase their commuting time.
Is this site geared for production to cater to international markets, and is it specialised in any product category?
Like all our production sites in France or abroad, this site produces leather items for our points of sale around the world. The workshop is designed to produce all leather goods marketed by Longchamp, except for small leather items. For several years now, we have been working to improve the versatility of our craftspeople, and to diversify their tasks and postures. This policy has enabled us to improve the comfort of our workspace significantly.
What innovations have been implemented on this site?
We have lighting in the form of Sheds in the upper part of the workshops to generate a more diffused natural light that contributes to a better work environment. The large bay windows offer views of the surrounding landscape from inside the workshop. The car park features vegetated valleys, which filter, through the use of macrophytes, the hydrocarbons from our staff’s vehicles, allowing us to avoid the construction of conventional underground networks.
We have also set up sockets for electric cars, and there is a parking lot for bicycles. Whether indoors or outdoors, the entire site is lit by LEDs to reduce power consumption. The roof is equipped with a rainwater recovery system to supply toilet needs and to water our green spaces.
What is your relationship with your suppliers and subcontractors outside of France?
We work on long-term relationships, based on a real spirit of partnership. Regardless of their location in the world, our subcontractors benefit from Longchamp’s technical assistance and training—either on-site or in our French workshops— which enable them to adapt their production methods to ours, by investing in the same machines and by matching their process flows with those of our workshops.
Do your customers value the concept of “Made in France”?
We are proud of the quality of all our products, wherever their origin of manufacture. We put forward the “Made by Longchamp” label, which guarantees the quality of our products being identical in all our production sites. We are well ahead of the curve on this subject, and making sure to clearly and transparently mark the country of manufacture of each product. Our global industrial organisation allows us to guarantee each Longchamp item!