With the opening of a second Hermès leather goods site in Riom, the Puy-de-Dôme moves upwards

With the opening of a second Hermès leather goods site in Riom, the Puy-de-Dôme moves upwards

With the opening of a second Hermès leather goods site in Riom, the Puy-de-Dôme moves upwards

Not a sound in the workshop. Almost. But the small blows of the double-headed hammers sound differently depending on the material being worked, giving the whole a symphonic feel. “The time spent making our bags allows them to last,” says Emmanuel Pommier, managing director of the Hermès leather and saddlery division. To last over time and in the mind, until it becomes iconic.

In the Sayat leather goods factory, founded in 2004 and expanded in 2007 after the group’s arrival in Puy-de-Dôme in 1997, 240 craftsmen work to perpetuate this know-how.

Hermès will open its new leather goods workshop in the former tobacco factory in Riom (Puy-de-Dôme)

15 to 20 hours of work for a scholarship

In the vast rooms delimited by nature, a dozen models of leather bags are made by mixing wood and glass, in particular the “Bolide” – more than a century old – “Constance” or “Birkin”. “We have collaborated with tanneries for a long time. Some are even part of the house to secure our supplies, “explains Emmanuel Pommier, citing the Annonay and Le Puy sites.

Depending on the model, the craftsmen need between 15 and 20 hours of work, meticulously repeating the same gestures. A search for perfection that is also found in the space dedicated to the cutting of leathers, for the lamb linings and for the exteriors in calfskin. “It is the skin that guides us. We are not in control of our positioning “, smiles Éric, an employee for sixteen years, detailing the parts, these” 3 Cs “: the collar, the heart of the skin and the stump that will each be used for a part of the bag.

“I’ve never sewed before, but I like it ?! “

In one of the two workshops on the Sayat website, attention to detail is the same given to the workspace of Virginie, 36, from Maringues. The latter is putting gum arabic on one of the latest arrivals from Hermés in its “Bolide” range, the “Skate”, rising to the bottom like a silk-screened skateboard, in fact made of leather, perfectly imitating the wood of a board. “Everything is handmade, we have no room for mistakes,” smiles Virginie. And she out of meticulousness she knows a lot, attacking a professional retraining in leather goods, after working… in the operating room.

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“Proud to welcome Hermès to Riom”: the installation of a leather goods shop à la “Manu” seduces local residents and elected officials in Riom

Later, Arthur, 27, from Vichy is also undergoing redevelopment, passing from a tattoo artist to a leather craftsman. “I’ve never sewed before, but I like it ?! “, He notes, appreciating this” precision, meticulous work. We feel a certain pride when we have finished a bag ”.

Training for a period of 18 months

A know-how that even leather goods want to convey. “You can go to all our leather goods, the way of working is the same”, notes Emmanuel Pommier, recalling that “quality is at the heart of our house’s DNA, as is sustainability”. Training is thus regularly organized in the current 19 leather goods shops (there will be 22 in 2024, including the one in Riom) to cope with the development of the company. Every year two promotions of about forty participants are organized, while the collective information is conducted with Pôle Emploi.

When a site like Sayat is complete and the question of growth arises, we suggest creating a second site

For the Riom site, located in the former tobacco factory, 120 employees have already been hired, as well as 50 at the Sayat site. An eighteen-month training course is envisaged for newbies including the discovery of basic gestures (six months), practice on a bag model with a trainer (six months) and the development of autonomy with a tutor (six months). . Training, delivered in Riom, in collaboration with Greta and the Desaix high school in Saint-Éloy-les-Mines. From November 2022 they will be provided within the Hermès School of know-how which, as part of its partnership with National Education, will also ensure the CAP assessments of leather goods for apprentices.

“A dialogue between the head and the hands”

Training “for all ages, profiles, backgrounds, summarizes Emmanuel Pommier. There is no need to know leather goods, it is open to everyone. Most people are in transition.

These world-famous luxury brands based in Auvergne

However, some fundamentals are needed. “To carry out this profession it takes skill, finesse of gestures, care. It is a dialogue between the head and the hands. The job requires skills of memorization, reflection and organization. The rest comes with practicing and learning Hermès specific techniques, especially the saddle stitch, inherited from the equestrian world.

Family home

A strategy that the various current crises – health and economic – and their consequences could have undermined, but Emmanuel Pommier plays the card of serenity. “We are a family business that thinks long term and is also anchored in the present. There is a decision making process for several years. The installation in Riom was decided in 2018, then that of the relay workshop in 2020 and the laying of the foundation stone in 2022. When decisions are made, we implement them. “

With the 250 jobs created by Hermès, Auvergne is “a land of excellence for luxury” according to Laurent Wauquiez

In January 2024, the first employees of the Riom headquarters should therefore invest the renovated and redesigned walls of the former “Manu” on approximately 7,300 m², discovered yesterday by elected representatives, personalities, representatives of the Hermès group and employees of Puydômois. “We want to be here already, in twelve to fifteen months,” confides Guillaume de Seynes, CEO of the Upstream Division and of the Hermès group’s holdings, before citing his uncle, Jean-Louis Dumas, former leader of the group. From 1978 to 2006: “We make beautiful buildings because we make beauty in beauty. With beautiful music, that of knowing how to do.

Development. Since 2010, Hermès has opened nine leather goods stores in France, bringing the number of leather craftsmen within the group to over 4,300. Four other production projects are underway in Louviers (Eure), Tournes-Cliron (Ardenne), L’Isle-d’Espagnac (Charente) and Loupes (Gironde) where recruitment and training continue.

Francois Jaulhac

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