…to kick-start growth. Without them, we would definitely be on a different path.
Geoffroy : At Henri Selmer Paris, we make musical instruments. Founded in 1885, we started out in classical music, but our international success is down to jazz: all the great saxophone names have played a Selmer.
Before Argos came on board, our development was restricted by a lack of financial means and a high level of conservatism, not uncommon in fifth-generation family businesses.
Louis : I met Geoffroy over ten years ago, when Argos was the majority shareholder of clarinet makers Buffet Crampon, and he joined as controller; we then entrusted him with the responsibility of being CFO of the business during the financial crash of 2008, which he managed greatly.
Geoffroy : Today, Argos have renewed this trust, with an even wider scope, at Henri Selmer.
Due to their experience with Buffet Crampon, Argos has real expertise in our industry. They also have the financial power to accompany us in our modernization.
But beyond technical criteria, for me, what is most important is our shared vision: Argos believes in our products and values. They are an unfailing support in our goal to sustainably develop our international expansion, and continue to make the most beautiful instruments for our musicians.
Louis : Henri Selmer is a very interesting case : huge brand, unrivalled quality of products, at the same time many underdeveloped business functions, a lot of untapped potential and a rather defensive, even autarkic culture. Strong fundamentals, but with a lot of progress to trigger, and human dynamics to unleash : that’s the sort of situation we love.
Geoffroy : The arrival of Argos marked a new beginning for our company. They had a profound respect for our history and values. With the guidance of Argos, in just one year, we have developed internationally, establishing a subsidiary abroad – in China – which is a first for us. They have enabled us to launch deep transformation projects, such as an industrial performance plan, a digital plan, new participative management methods, new product roadmaps…
Argos is aware of the complexity of leading such a transformation, and assists us: we benefit from their multidisciplinary expertise, and from their mindset that encourages us to launch projects that we would not have initiated otherwise.
Louis : This is key in how we see our role: invite to explore, encourage to try more, and then actively help.
Geoffroy : Argos brought our company their expertise in key areas (e.g. digital marketing, legal, industrial) in order to accelerate growth. They brought a dynamic transformation and cooperation to all the teams. And since the arrival of Argos, Henri Selmer Paris has beaten its sales record.
Selmer employees were anxious to see the family sell, and a fund come; Argos made a lot of efforts, from day one, to come in person, speak and explain their role and purposes to the employees. Our people understood they were coming to start a new story, and support the company’s development.
Louis : Starting all these projects, and accelerating them further, would not have been possible without an in-depth work on the company’s culture. It is key to come in support to management and speak to employees – to all employees- : to reassure them that it is all about expansion, but also tell them it was high time to move, because no market position is eternal.
Geoffroy : One year after Argos arrived, our teams have seen that the changes made are in line with the original plans. The management acts with transparency with the shareholder and the employees in order to reinforce collective commitment. Any apprehension our staff may have had has gone, and now they don’t want Argos to leave!