WelcomeFamily, a company that improves the welcoming of families

Interview with Frederick Martz, co-founder of Welcome Family, who tells us about his career and the growth of WelcomeFamily.

How did you get the idea to start your business?

At that time, I was a sales agent and was in solitude. Fortunately, I had followed a coaching course that restored my self-esteem. At the same time, I had friends who had traveled around the world and we exchanged chats. He told me: “It’s unbelievable, how different it is to welcome families and children abroad and in general to Central America, South America, the United States, Australia” because on this tour of the world, he did it with his own kids. Was. He wrote to me: “Something has to be done. Something has to be done. I don’t understand why France already has that feeling of embarrassment when you come to a restaurant with your kids”, Let us tell you that whether it is a matter of coloring abroad or any toy, attention is always paid to them. It existed at McDonald’s at the time but was not common in France. This echoed a visit with my baby son to see my sister (who lives in the US), where the waitress was particularly cheerful and naturally brought us a baby chair. that time i replied to my friend “Listen, the advertising thing I’m into, in fact, it’s true that coloring might be a great idea, but you shouldn’t do a shot (one shot, editor’s note) and you have to offer a global one, kids. A family package to accommodate, I was afraid that as a manufacturer of promotional materials by simply making colored pencils or colored placemats, we would only make one sale and it would end there. This is how I came up with the idea to create a brand that offers global offerings.

what happened next ?

I wanted my friend to join me, but he didn’t want to join the WelcomeFamily project as he didn’t want to do any commercials. We already had experience together and already established a start-up in 2000. I tried to convince him but he didn’t want to sell, as it blocked him. So I insisted on telling him: “You know, at some point, we’re going to have to take our little pilgrim’s wand and have them knock on restaurant doors to offer us our service and our products”, I didn’t want a partner if he didn’t sell so I tried a little and eventually he got his way. Now they have fitted a sweeping box which works great but it is really another place. Eventually, I convinced two other friends to join me, and this was the trigger to create the company that grew WelcomeFamily. Because the parent company is called Marketing Creation.

So you created a global concept right away?

We actually started with the advertising item which was our first “business unit”. Originally, I started out as an agent for promotional items and POS packaging. In short, I was communicating and it is finally thanks to this activity that we were able to finance the development of Welcome Family. Marketing creation was the vehicle that took me from agent to company and transformed the current turnover of customers who knew me. In the end, when I think about it, we developed a little, as they say, in garage mode. We have self-financed our coloring kit, our baby chair which we have redeveloped, redesigned and we have slowly built up a proposition.

How did the switchover go?

The first year, we achieved €100,000 in turnover, while the second, we were already at 500,000, which means the turnaround was achieved quickly. In fact, the kids’ advertising merchandise business is still doing great and we were 50/50 at the time. I would say that the change was made in the third year because Welcome Family kind of went beyond advertising stuff.

What have been the major milestones of the company so far?

This was the first big step, i.e. structuring and starting the business. The second major step was to formalize the Sangh. Formalism was a topic I defended with my colleagues, even though it was me who created the company. At one point, I wanted to put on paper, in a concrete and real way, each’s share of the investment, each’s contribution. Not necessarily just the financial aspects. This, to me, is the key to success because it effectively allows us not to run out of “we pat each other on the shoulder, we do something together”.
The next step was to sign up for the McDonald’s I promoted. This sale is one of my best memories because it begins with a phone call to the network, without anything, and tells me: “Why not do the biggest promotion right from the start? ,, The funny thing is that we didn’t have a project in the beginning, and we thought: “Here, it looks like they need a baby chair.” What Can We Do For Them As A Basic Baby Chair? ,, And there, we created the junction of two trades, i.e. Advertising Commodities and WelcomeFamily. We started with the company logo to make baby chairs. And since 2014, we are still working for Macado France, but also for the world. It represents a significant portion of our turnover, even if we do not depend on it.
Finally, the main stages are mainly associated with business meetings, which allowed us to grow. Next was in 2017, when we started working with Accor, which was a debut in the hotel industry as we had very little presence in this market and, funnily enough, we also started working jointly for Club Med Did. 2019 seemed like the year of our explosion, all things considered, where we felt WelcomeFamily was known and recognized as a key player, but we came up against COVID.

How did you remove the termination of the activity?

After that we had to refocus on our business of promotional items. Fortunately, we were somewhat of a protein company and we had put this DNA, the ability for anyone to produce, for a brand, because otherwise it would have been more complicated. We then focused on agri-food and worked exclusively for Panjani to make children’s advertising items. To continue the growth, we launched the site PlushCreation.com because we were convinced that the mascot had potential and, in this need, perhaps a little gentle in troubled times. This third branch has become quite important for us since then as we have many requests every day.

Why is this branch important to you?

What interests us at Peluche Creations is that we have received many requests from donations. And this is very important to us because we love to help them. Of course, we don’t help everyone, but we do help systematically by giving discounts to charities or writing checks when ordering. It’s not 100% sponsorship, but in any case, it leads us to a lot of associations, especially smaller football clubs. In the end, I realized that if we didn’t have COVID, we would have stuck to the growth of Welcome Family, which was a pioneer till then.

What are your future areas of growth going to be?

Already we had to halt our development during covid and especially through a VIE in Spain. After two years, we were able to reach chains that do not exist in France, such as Taco Bell, which are well known to those who have been to the United States but little to France. We have created an official and permanent office in Spain and we have done the same in Italy. Now we are really working to grow the export and we are trying to redevelop local sourcing and create small welcoming families in countries to print for example on local printers. This would require us to recreate an ecosystem in each country, which could take us time.

What is the biggest difficulty facing you?

This was at the beginning of our activity. I guess, I like to laugh about it. In the first year, we made 100,000 euros in turnover, and I have a client who called me because customs blocked the goods for counterfeiting on the watch we produced. I had pulled the watch all over but the watch often looks like a clock. The result was 35,000 Euros worth of goods that were destroyed and I had to reimburse the customer. I laugh about it today because he’s still a customer with us, but this episode was definitely one of the biggest difficulties. I had also called a coach to mentally overcome this worry.

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