Do the plane and its components only have one life? A question whose answer is negative for Domitille Roche Michoudet. This Toulouse native founded Atelier Méta at the end of 2020. Behind this name, which has no connection with the parent company of the Facebook social network, lies the desire to offer a range of French leather goods from leather scraps from the aeronautical industry, or used airplane seats.
“I’ve always had the desire to upgrade something that was already on the circuit and not to have an activity that generates various and varied materials. For the aeronautical industry, these pieces of leather are waste for them so I get rid of them. On the French coasts, this concept already exists from the sails of boats and here we have planes so the idea came to me like this…”, says the entrepreneur.
After a few prototypes and tests, today Atelier Méta offers a wide range of products related to travel, in order to maintain a connection with the origin of its raw material. First, the seamstress sells leather tags for luggage, passport and pen cases, card holders, toiletry bags and even small backpacks. ” Eventually, I would also like to offer goodies for companies on the occasion of special events, for example. “, projects Domitille Roche Michoudet.
After two years of existence, Atelier Méta offers a handful of references, all designed in Toulouse (Credits: Rémi Benoit).
While it is possible to obtain her first creations on the Internet, she has also been selling her products for a few days in a pop-up shop dedicated to craftsmen and located on the famous Place Saint-Georges in Toulouse, Beautique. The founder of the Atelier Méta on craftsmen’s markets such as Créart’31, the Colombette fair or the Airbus Christmas market reserved for the aircraft manufacturer’s employees.
A decisive meeting in Argentina
A logical path for the leader who, from a young age, has been immersed in the fabric. ” When I was little my own seams, my bags, and my costumes when I needed them “, she says. The years pass and yet, even while taking a degree in philosophy, she maintains her attraction for couture by designing costumes for plays.
“After my bachelor’s degree, I went to Argentina to follow a bachelor’s degree in set design. There, I met a person who worked in his workshop with leather in several forms. Once a week, I went to his workshop and learned all the techniques for working with leather,” recalls Domitille Roche Michoudet.
Domitille Roche Michoudet founded Atelier Méta after a stay in Argentina (Credits: Rémi Benoit).
After five years in this South American country, she returned to France with the intention of giving birth to what is now Atelier Méta. By chance, she meets a seamstress, about to retire, and who wants to give up her work tools. ” These are the exact same machines I learned and worked on in Argentina “, she rejoices. With, she settled in a small workshop in the industrial area of Baluffet in the Pink City. Inside, pieces of leather and examples of his products mingle on the tables of his premises. However, the supply of materials is the sinews of war for Atelier Méta.
Only one subcontractor works with Atelier Méta
According to his personal count, Domitille Roche Michoudet collected only 56 kilos of leather from the aeronautical industry. A meager balance sheet which, for the moment, allows it to develop its products and honor its first orders. But that remains far from his ambitions for his company certified “Zero waste”, by the Chamber of Craftsmen of Haute-Garonne, the regional council of Occitanie and Ademe.
“I think I lack a lot of notoriety… I contacted at least fifteen companies in the aeronautics industry and established in the Toulouse area. So far, this has not yielded a favorable outcome. I’m looking towards Bordeaux now to stock up on leather. I have friends who are in aeronautics from what they tell me I know that there is material available”, explains the entrepreneur who remains optimistic.
Atelier Méta hopes to multiply collaborations with aeronautical industry subcontractors in the near future (Credits: Rémi Benoit).
At present, only the Gers-based aeronautical subcontractor JCB Aéro collaborates with Atelier Méta by supplying it with leather. Therefore, its founder counts on the recent anti-waste law for a circular economy to develop its relations with industrialists in the sector in the right direction.