71C – Let's visit Clayrton's

Clayrton's is a family company created in 1968,in Roubaix, specialized in packaging and accessories for florist, festive decorations and gift wraps. It won the award of Responsible economy given by Reseau Alliances.
Since 2007 Clayrton’s developed a program of sustainable development and eco-conception of their products. This new approach toward business happened thanks to a new change in management. The new generation of the Lepoutre family was worried about differentiating themselves from the competition and, at the same time, creating a company focused on reproducing a good practice of business.
Since 1968
Back in 1968 Clayrton’s was focused on producing and selling a spray that made plants shine, making them more attractive to the public. Twenty years after, it turns itself toward eco-friendly products for their new production of bouquets and gift wraps. After small steps to a more responsible economy, Clayrton’s has put in place the RSE (responsabilité sociétale des enterprises). Now, 100% of its products are produced with water based paint, without using chemicals.
Little by little, Clayrton’s started changing its physical structure, its production system and its brand, to become an example of a company that cares for the environment and for the people that work in it. This preoccupation and savoir faire were transmitted to the clients and suppliers. The brand “Clayrton’s” became a synonym of sustainable development. This differential was translated into profit: couple of years ago, it was able to buy their biggest competitor. This fact made the company number one in France, and the second biggest seller in Europe.
Proud to be a company that keeps the vast majority of its production in France, Clayrton’s is a proud French family company that tries to give back to the planet and the community as much as it can.
Who’s behind these major changes?
Tristan-Guirec Lepoutre is the man behind the big change in Clayrton’s brand. After 13 years at the head of sales and marketing, Tristan found a new way to make business and to stand out from the competition. With the help of his brother, now both CEOs of the company,the Lepoutre brothers decided to become an example of a responsible and sustainable company.
However, the big changes can come at big prices: the commitment with a positive blueprint, and responsible development took time and first slowed down the production. After changing all its paints forproduction for water based paint, the company had an immediate reduction of 20%of the production. This fact, according to Tristan Lepoutre, made his brother question the project. Becoming a Responsible firm takes time, this is not something that happens in one night. The key word in this situation was patience: the results were not immediate. It is only in 2012 that the company saw the benefits of its new strategy.
An innovative approach
After buying Créstyl, its biggest competitor in the France, Clayrton’s became the leading company in the country. This enlargement of its structure had a concrete impact on its functioning. The gift wrap market was still unknown by the company at the moment it bought Créstyl,and now it generates 50% of its total profit.
According to Tristan Lepoutre, a strong feature of the company is being a mosaic of competences. Every individual that works for Clayrton’s is unique and has something to contribute. But having a positive blueprint in the world of business, being part of a responsible development, or even protecting the planet, is not even enough for the firm.
Another important aspect of this innovative process is the values in which the company is based on. For example, being creative. Clayrton’s tries to come up with one innovation every year to improve its brand image and stand out in the market. Also, it tries to be close to suppliers and clients, respecting their engagement with the message they want to pass.
Its production was also modified: reduction of 50% in its consumption of water, 40% in gas, control of their CO2 production and change its source of paper. Doing that, it saved 40000 trees. The change in logistics and transport was also a big challenge for the Clayrton’s team, it knew that reducing the emission of CO2 was important for its new strategy. Hence, it decided to send its trucks on top of trains to limit the CO2 released into the environment.
What’s next?
Clayrton’s is not only worried about the future of the planet, it is also focuses on the community where it decided to base its company. Becoming a responsible firm is more than just being willing to save the planet, it’s about the multiplication of good actions and about creating a global conscience.
Clayrton’s is responsible for creating programs to reintegrate people into the working world. INSER’CROIX hired three persons that have been unemployed for a long period of time. Moreover, a Clayrton’s Academy has been created to train new florists. It reached about 1000 students in 51 differents chools.
The next step for this traditional family company is to pass on what it knows to future generation, and to inspire other companies.
Gabriela Zeni – ESPOL Lille