Fit Retail celebrates its 5th anniversary!
That was already 5 years ago! 2018 marked the official launch of Fit Retail (although if you’ve been following us since the beginning, you’ll know that it all started a little earlier…). In this article, we’d like to look back at some of the milestones that have marked these past 5 years.
From 2015 to 2017
It was at AFG, a generalist ESN with around a hundred employees and headed by Philippe BLANCHART, that our teams had the opportunity to work on our first PLM projects for the fashion sector. A dedicated team was quickly set up to address the specific issues of PLM and the fashion world. As you can imagine, this team will be the foundation of the future Fit Retail team.
2017 marked a turning point in the creation of Fit Retail, as we signed our first partnership with Centric Software, a recognized software publisher on the PLM market, in the fashion sector.
That same year, in October, the Néosoft group acquired AFG. Convinced that the expertise we were building around PLM – and more generally product information systems for the Fashion, Luxury and Retail sectors – represented real added value for the market, Philippe BLANCHART then proposed the creation of an independent subsidiary: “Fit Retail“.
The end of 2017 was therefore dedicated to the official creation of the company (logo, website, service offering…). It was at this point that we defined our baseline: “Enjoy technology, boost creativity“. It reflects our ambition: to put technology at the service of our customers, enabling them to focus and excel on their core business: product creation.
2018 the year of legal creation of the entity and structuring. Our teams had no time to get bored, as they had to:
– Manage the administrative side of setting up the company: transferring Neosoft contracts to Fit Retail, creating the articles of association…
– Set up our organizational structure: HR recruitment, setting up a team of managers, structuring our HR practices…
We also achieved our first business successes with the migration of FlexPLM (a PTC product) for a well-known ready-to-wear customer and the deployment of Centric software for a luxury group.
2019 punctuated by 3 major events:
– We moved our Lille offices to a size suited to our team, which had already grown considerably (30 employees!!!),
– We also took off for Germany, with the opening of Fit Retail GmbH and the recruitment of our first local employees,
– Finally, our service offering was enriched with new expertise in design and 3D, reinforcing our specialization in the ready-to-wear sector.
It was also the year in which we defined our values with the whole team: Expertise, Cohesion, Conviviality & Openness. If you don’t know them yet, we promise to write a dedicated article on the subject!
The year began with growth and bright prospects, only to come to a screeching halt with COVID. All of us – customers, partners, and suppliers – were on the same footing: we could never have imagined that this pandemic would take on such proportions and have such an impact.
Our objectives were very clear:
1. Do everything to preserve jobs (and we’re proud to say we succeeded). Thanks to the aid provided by the French government, we were incredibly lucky to benefit from the short-time working system to preserve these jobs (even if it did cost us a bit administratively speaking, as the system was so complex and changing from one week to the next – well, that’s perhaps very personal 😉).
2. Accompanying our employees as best we could during this specific period. Despite the confinement and under-activity, we managed (at least I think we did) to preserve our values and reinvent ourselves to keep the team together.
3. Preparing for the recovery period: because yes, we weren’t going to sit back and wait for the situation to pass. This COVID period also enabled us to create the marketing function and take the time to write our strategy: who are we? what do we sell? who are our customers? how do we want to position ourselves in the market? etc….
Despite the COVID crisis, we’ve had some great successes. We won our first 3D project deployed for Petit Bateau, as well as an invitation to tender for a Centric PLM support contract for a major luxury brand.
Despite an uncertain environment, we continued to grow:
– Stefan, Fit Retail GmBH’s current CEO and sole shareholder, officially joined the company. His arrival has enabled the company to accelerate its growth and penetrate the European market,
– The 3D offering has grown and been strengthened by new technological partnerships: Browzwear & Vizoo,
– Our marketing strategy met with initial success with our webinar program (find all our replays here),
– Our team continued to grow with the recruitment of an Office Manager, responsible for structuring and managing all administrative processes within the company.
The exceptional results achieved in 2021 have enabled us to consolidate our development:
– We have strengthened our HR & Communications team,
– We refurbished our offices in Lille and Paris and moved to new premises in Munich,
– On the supply side, new partnerships have been set up on the 3D side, with DMX Cloud for materials digitization, and Lectra on the PLM side,
– Finally, we obtained Qualiopi certification, giving us official status as a training organization.
And finally, here we are in 2023! And even though the year isn’t over, we can already tell you that it’s been a great one.
First, we’ve taken flight and officially left the Néosoft group after several years of successful collaboration. What a challenge for our teams, here we are, “on our own”, steering our own course and challenging ourselves to achieve ever greater professionalism.
We have continued to offer successful events for our customers: our webinars and Innovations Days, and more recently, our first Parisian Breakfasts, which mark the official launch of our PLM & 3D communities!
We also passed the 60-employee mark (51 in France, 9 in Germany). We’re growing at our own pace, with our own resources and in a sustainable way, while preserving our values (what more could you ask for?).
And last but not least, we organized our first company seminar, where (almost) the whole team came together. It was an opportunity for our CEOs to retrace Fit Retail’s history, talk about our prospects and, above all, congratulate those who make our company so valuable: our employees! Of course, these “Fit Days” were also an opportunity to forge links through challenging activities and to sketch out the beginnings of our CSR strategy.
In short, 5 years already (and a little more for those who were there before)! How can we conclude? Simply by saying that we’ve come a long way, and we hope to keep up the good work in the years to come! While you’re waiting for our next articles, don’t hesitate to follow our news.