Yanis BOISSARD, IÉSEG student and promoter of Tunisian culture with his start-up “BYOtrade”
Yanis BOISSARD, a 3rd-year student in the Grande École program at IÉSEG, launched his company in 2022 with his mother, in order to introduce the “green treasures” of Tunisian culture to French people. We met with Yanis to find out more about this project.
You created the BYOtrade company with your mother, can you tell us about the genesis of this project?
The mission of BYOtrade is to source products considered as the “green treasures” of Tunisia: olive oil, prickly pear seed oil, pomegranate molasses or carob syrup. We work directly with small local producers controlled and certified organic and allow them to have access to the European market by sharing logistics and sales offices.
This project was born from my mother’s desire to promote the Tunisian culture through organic and healthy products. After having matured the project for more than 10 years, the right moment finally came and we were able to start working on the launch of the company in 2021. We first focused on designing the brand, then on identifying the products that seemed to us emblematic of Tunisia and adapted to the French market. Our major product today is the organic olive oil, whose range is called “Phoenicia Heritage“. Many studies have shown the benefits of olive oil for health. So, we did a lot of brainstorming sessions in order to create 3 exceptional products, and we got in touch with people who have already started their own business to guide us.
What is your role within the company?
My role is transversal. For three months last year, I did my commercial internship in the company. My main mission was to sell products both physically and remotely. I was also in charge of deliveries and invoicing. At the same time, I worked on the BYOTrade website during weekends and evenings, especially with an external provider for its development. Once the back-office was created, I was in charge of all the content creation. Nowadays, we focus mainly on the development of the company in the Paris region. For that, we promote our products in retail outlets, on markets and exhibit at trade shows in order to make ourselves known.
You are also a member of the Junior-Enterprise of IÉSEG Lille (IÉSEG CONSEIL), can you tell us about your experience?
Indeed, when I started my first year, I had the chance to join IÉSEG CONSEIL Lille as a commercial project manager. Among the students, we often hear about the JE as representing a heavy workload in addition to the courses, but I did not experience it like that, you just have to know how to organize yourself well. Being in charge of the commercial part, I succeeded in getting more and more important contracts with new customers and in keeping the loyalty of old customers. All this has given me a lot of professional experience and self-confidence. I acquired know-how and interpersonal skills that will be very useful for the future. It was a great experience and a real springboard for the rest of my adventure, because the experience I gained at IÉSEG CONSEIL gave me valuable knowledge to launch BYOTrade in terms of business development, market research, and global knowledge of the business world.
How do you manage to balance your student life and your entrepreneurial life?
I try to prioritize as much as possible. I take things as they come but anticipate as much as possible. For example, for my internship report, I wrote down the key points that could be interesting as they came up and thus saved time in writing it. On the other hand, I organize myself as well as possible so as not to miss any deadline for my company.
How do your studies help you manage your business?
Clearly, many courses have given me the knowledge I needed to succeed in launching our business, such as the Marketing, Logistics and Cost Control courses.
I also think of the course on Artificial Intelligence which, at first sight, I was not particularly interested in, but I quickly understood that the transformation of the world of work and business in general will require me to grasp the new concepts and issues related to Deep Learning, Machine Learning, AI, web 3.0, etc.
Generally speaking, I find that the courses at IÉSEG are very rich in terms of content, we are provided with a multiplicity of knowledge that allows us to gain credibility with a client or to collaborate effectively with external providers.
What are your plans for the future?
First of all, I’m going to continue my studies at IÉSEG by going abroad on an academic exchange in the near future. Then, I would like to join the Master in apprenticeship in retail management to enrich my CV even more. Eventually, I may take over BYOTrade completely, but in the first place, I want to join a large retail company to develop my expertise. On the other hand, thanks to BYOtrade, I realized that I really enjoy exchanging with people from very different backgrounds and professions and I find this very enriching. Learning from others and teaching others is very important to me.