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Olympics 2024: In Brittany, Dudu & Company hard at work to produce Friges mascots

A wallpapering machine hisses through the silence of the factory. The concentration is required for fifteen seamstresses, on the website of Breton Doudou and company. In their hands, the talismansFrigesThe Paris Olympics, instantly recognizable by their bright red color, seem to come to life. And we have to go fast. each plush should take no more than twenty minutes to make in order to meet their commitment to produce several hundred thousand before the Olympics start in July 2024.

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If these “Friges“The famous hat of the revolution inspired by the symbols of France, the majority, however, are in China. Enough to spark a lively debate at a time when many players are passionately advocating the re-industrialization of France. Aware of the challenges of resettlement, Alain Joly, founder of Doudou et compagnie, initially announced 200,000 “Friges» French at its Ille-et-Vilaine factory. This Tuesday, during a visit, he announced that this production will be increased to a minimum of 500,000.Friges– a number that “can be added in 2023– from the 1.2 million that his company should provide in total.

For production seamstresses, this ambitious goal is a real challenge. In the coming weeks, the rate will increase from 300 stuffed animals per day to more than 1,000. “Our production is going to be maxed out, that’s unheard of“Alain Jolie blows. Next to him, the president of the organizing committee of the Olympic Games, Tony Estangue, proudly emphasizes.competitive spiritBy Doudou and Company.

During the visit, the two men watch embroidery machines embroider Mariana’s hair with the Paris 2024 logo in yellow thread. The three-time world champion then stops by the Frigges gathering. Melanie, 39, has only 8 to 10 minutes to complete this task. “You have to find your way to go as fast as possible“, he says. Hired at the start of the year, the former florist and tanner will sign a permanent contract in January 2023. On the Tony Estangue mascot, he sews a tag with the unique number 024, associated with the year of the Games.

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Paralympic and Olympic mascot elements to be assembled by seamstresses. Emma Confre / Le Figaro

Careful work

Like Melanie, by the middle of 2023, 45 seamstresses will join the ranks of the factory. “These will be permanent jobssays Alain Joly. All will be trained in this new production. 64-year-old Annik follows the actions of her colleagues out of the corner of her eye. This former pensioner worked as a technical coach for 45 years. While he retired in 2020, Alain Jolie is calling him back in 2021.I wasn’t ready to retire, so I immediately agreed to come back.He ensures the optimization of every stage of production. For example, “When turning the plush after it is assembled, remove the feet first to save time“. For polyester fiber filling, “you have to touch the plush to see if there is enough“, he adds.

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Once the plush is filled with polyester fibers, Annick covers it with white yarn. Emma Confre / Le Figaro

Despite the frantic pace and meticulous work, the atmosphere among the seamstresses is cheerful. Some are even excited about this pre-production launch;The Olympics is a great experience in our careerAnnik smiles. This event is primarily a demonstration of employees’ French knowledge. For Dudu and company, these games constitute “a real accelerator“. The company invested 3.5 million euros to expand its Breton factory from 1,000 to 3,500 square meters.

Even in this Breton factory, the influence of China remains noticeable. Is “80% of the added value is provided in France“, the raw material comes from the Chinese factory of Doudou and company. The red fur, eyes and legs of the mascots on the tailors’ tables have already been pre-cut and assembled by the group’s 300 Chinese employees. The final sewing, assembly, spinning and finishing work is then carried out in Brittany. Thanks to this distribution, Doudou et compagnie manages to reduce the price of its French mascot to €39.90, compared to €49.90 a few weeks ago. For example, French-made legs will be 40% more expensive, according to the company.

mascots 100% »made in Chinawill be ten euros cheaper than their three-color counterparts. It remains to be seen whether this risky bet of French production will find its place among consumers. “Friges» From January 15, French will be sold at 5,000 points of sale, including King Toys, La Grande Récré, La Chaise Longue, the Official Olympic Store and Amazon. Distributors promise to feature these French-made mascots.”at specific anglesor directly on the e-commerce giant’s website. Brushing off controversy with the back of his hand, Tony Estangue assures with a broad smile that “Phryge will now build history“.

Source: Le Figaro

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