Today we’d like to introduce you to Remy Favier.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Remy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Life can be summed up by choices, opportunities and meetings and well, it’s a mix of these three that lead us to open La Boulisterie here in Los Angeles.
A quick lesson about Petanque (to be pronounced “Pay-Tank”). This sport was created in 1910 in a small village nested at the heart of Provence. It is a simple game where two teams compete on a sand and gravel covered field to be the closer to a target ball by throwing heavy metal balls (that are called Boules).
La Boulisterie’s story starts in 2015 in the heart of the French Riviera, where Guillaume our friend and business partner (also a professional event planner) created the concept of PopUp Petanque from the simple observation that you can’t easily set up a Petanque court for short events since it requires few thousand pounds of sand and gravel, wood beams, a lot of hefting, plus it gets messy and dusty. Long story short he wanted a solution to set up a Petanque courts in just a few minutes anytime anywhere: from a Parisian rooftop overlooking the Eiffel Tower to the VIP lounge of a stadium or a backyard patio.
Our story with La Boulisterie started during the summer 2017 when I was living in Paris with my wife and we wanted a new challenge in our life, possibly abroad. I was texting Guillaume to congratulate him about an Instagram picture in front of a high-end leather good manufacturer’s HQ. After a few messages telling him that we wanted to leave Paris he asked me: ” why don’t you move to Los Angeles to develop La Boulisterie there?” my answer was an immediate “YES”. We’d only been once to in LA and hated it but I was sure of the potential of this project. That night when Laura came home from work, we discussed and agreed that it was an opportunity we should take! We started to work on the business plan, getting the initial capital and scheduled a trip to check LA again and possibly change our mind about the city and its vibe. We spent two weeks in Hollywood in November 2017 and loved it!
Then it was a lot of work to incorporate the company, open the bank account and both task are super easy when you have a SSN but believe me it was am obstacle course for a foreigner and remotely. I even had to fly from Paris just to sign the papers to open our business bank account, I have to say it was crazy to cross half of the world for a few hours and getting back to my “regular” job the next day. It was one of the times I realized that we were in an incredible adventure. And like all entrepreneurs we faced challenges and great setbacks like when our first visa application was refused during the summer 2018. We had to process that and get back to rework our application file and got accepted few months later in December 2018. We moved to LA end of January 2019 and have called it home since!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has certainly NOT been a smooth road for us!
We were employees in our “previous life” back home, first on the French Riviera where we were born and raised and then in Paris where we moved in 2015. And now we are entrepreneurs halfway across the world in a new country with new (to us) laws and regulations, another language, different social and business codes…
First, we had to get a visa to be authorized to move to the US and be able to do business here which was a long and tough adventure on itself. We had to work with our lawyers in the US, our business partner in the South of France while managing our previous careers.
We have to face challenges and struggles almost everyday. From an admin struggle like getting a SSN or registering at the DMV the caravan we brought from France to opening personal bank account and building up our credit score from scratch. We also have to think outside the box and find ways to promote our business and acquire new customers.
Everybody knows and play Petanque in France, so La Boulisterie back there has been a success very early and somehow easily but here our path to success is much more difficult and tough as we have to educate our potential customers and win them over other options they know like corn hole, bocce, etc…
The struggles also came on the personal side since we were in this adventure as a couple and leaving our family and friend behind. We had a lot of interrogation about our ability to work together and compartmentalize and find a balance between professional life and personal life, socializing and finding new friends in this new environment. So far, we’ve been very happy and met great new people that became our friends and our couple is stronger than ever thanks to everything we’ve been through!
Please tell us about La Boulisterie Los Angeles.
La Boulisterie offers an entertainment based on Petanque, a multiplayer French ball game (imagine Bocce meets shuffleboard and curling!). We come to the client’s desired location with our set up that includes one (or multiples) Petanque court, a lounge area, some accessories and signage and up to two host that will install everything, stay during the event to teach people how to play and make it a fun time and of course break everything down at the end of the event.
Petanque has a lot of advantages: the rules are simple to understand and the game is easy to play (we made a video about that on our Instagram page, but basically the teams take turns throwing balls and try to be the closer to the target ball to score points), it is a great tool for socialization and team building and we can easily set up competitions or skills challenge…
We’ve already worked in a wide variety of events here in LA from corporate gatherings, media day to more private parties like barbecues or evening birthday parties. In our eyes, any type of events can be a good excuse to have fun and meet new people while playing Petanque (and sharing a glass of wine!). In order to accommodate our customer’s need and fit in any scenario possible, the set up can be widely customized: the frame of the court can be fitted with a desired color, the back panels can accommodate a logo or a picture! We’ve also developed two different sizes for our Petanque courts: the regular are 26ft long by 8ft wide and our “Demi” (which is the French for half) are 13ft long by 4ft wide. Both can be set up indoor and outdoor!
We are able to set up a Petanque court pretty much anywhere as long the ground is flat(ish), we even hiked and set up a “Demi” (a small Petanque court) on top of Mount Lee above the famous Hollywood Sign! This small court is very convenient and can also be set up in your apartment! You can see videos of all that and more on our Instagram page!
Last December we’ve worked with Netflix for one their department’s holiday party and we’re very proud and happy to have work with them. It was a great reward for the hard work done prior and an excellent fuel to keep it up for the future!
We also work closely with various LA-based French vendors covering other aspect of party planing such as Food and Beverage (for now), but this is one of our axis of development. We aim to become more than just a vendor and lean toward event planning. We love to keep the French culture and savoir faire in our work but also include the various and rich other European cultures and inspirations to create authentic and upscale events for those who have traveled and those who want to travel!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
To me, there are no mistakes, there are only lessons taken from experience. The way you handle the bumps on the road makes you the person you are today and makes your business what it is today.
When I take decisions, I try to weight in all the factors and anticipate the possible outcomes. And if they are not what I expected, I do my best to analyze and understand what went wrong so I can be better prepared for the future and not make the same mistake again.
But to answer your question, if I were to do all this over again I would maybe hire a professional to help me on the commercial side in order to improve the quantity and quality of customer base I can reach.
- 2 Regular courts + Lounge Area + 2 Hosts for a 4h event = $1,490
- Website: www.laboulisterie.com
- Phone: (818)691-8657
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laboulisterie.losangeles
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laboulisterie.losangeles
- Other: https://bit.ly/2to9k9z
@aderal for the first image with my wife and I