Who is Régis Gautreau and who is Berthe Aux Grands Pieds ?
My name is Regis Gautreau and I founded Berthe Aux Grands Pieds in 2003, and not without just a little humour I named the company after a famous French queen but, not just any queen !
Who was Queen Berthe? Well, Bertrade nicknamed ‘Berthe Au Grand Pied’ was none other than the mother of King Charlemagne and the wife of ‘Pepin the Short’, and as the story goes Queen Berthe had one foot bigger than the other, or maybe even a clubfoot.
When founding Berthe, I was determined from the very beginning to have the brand of Berthe Aux Grands Pieds made exclusively in France. After several unsatisfactory production attempts in partnership with other factories, my choice was La Manufacture Perrin SA, which has since become the steadfast partner of Berthe Aux Grands Pieds !
Perrin, a living heritage knitwear manufacturing company founded in 1924, are the proud recipents of the prestigious EPV award for manufacturing excellence by the French government. Perrin Manufacturing based in Montceau-les-Mines employs nearly 100 highly skilled artisans with a real and unique knowledge of knitwear manufacturing and production of exceptionally high-quality products.
As for me, I first started selling my Berthe creations in the markets of Angers and Nantes near my workshop in 2003 but, in fact I sold hosiery from other prestigious brands even before I created my own. So the market place was a universe that I knew very well even before founding Berthe. And every summer you’d find me in the markets of Piriac-sur-Mer, Quimiac, Pouliguen and Croisic. I always loved this joyful summer atmosphere and my heart and watchful eye are never far from these places.
In these marketplaces, I observed the commercial growth of these other brands and through the awareness I gained by direct contact with consumer, I learned to better understand their motivations, their expectations, their desires and disappointments as well. Indeed, the marketplace is a marvelous immersion in life itself; there I immersed myself in the daily life of the inhabitants of that energetic universe bearing witness to the direct exchange between creator and consumer first hand.
In this vibrant marketplace, each brand presents its collections and every detail is of course crucial. There the shopper examines, touches and tests the materials closely, critics their colors, and only the best products survive the discerning buyer. It was then I realized disappointment was common place and I knew I could do much better. So it was there, in the markets of Piriac-sur-Mer, Quimiac, Pouliguen and Croisic that my vision was conceived and the story of “Berthe Aux Grands Pieds” begins.
Skipping forward to 2003 and after attracting some attention in the marketplaces, Berthe experienced a real turning point thanks to the sales force of my new partner Perrin Manufacturing SA; it was then we decided it was time to launch the first Berthe Aux Grands Pieds commercial collection on the French market. Berthe’ first promotion was intentionally uncomplicated and was comprised of a single box containing six models of mid-socks for women in 2 sizes: 35/38 and 38/41.
As anticipated, the collection and the creative positioning of Berthe Aux Grands Pieds was welcomed by traders who until then didn’t know this world of socks, shoemakers, hairdressers and my ready-to-wear multi-brand style of boutiques.
It was a new start for Berthe and undeniably a very exciting one for us ! Inspired, I knew it was time to developed new collections for men, women and children and enrich our range of products further.
Then in 2004, to meet the demands of our now enthusiastic customers, I introduced another new line of products with the launch of my first collection of tights, stockings and knee-highs made with microfiber. This collection told a story that was new to the marketplace and the lines success was immediate ! I must note, the lines success is due in no small part to the superb craftsmanship of another family-run manufacturing business located in Nîmes who produces them. Their attention to quality is a matter of family pride and to their credit !
Now, with the market place at our feet, came the launch of the "BERTHE SHOES" conception which is a creative line of baby, junior and adult slippers that compliment mix and match with our tights collection. The key to Berthe shoes themselves is they are actually adapted to fit your feet and thereby worn with great comfort and pleasure. It also behooves me to say this fine line of slippers are made by yet again another distinguished French manufacturer which employs about thirty people in Charente. Their craftsmanship and attention to detail is quite remarkable !
Some of Berthe’s other accessories such as scarves, mittens, gloves and hats further complete and compliment our product lines, so you can mix and match to your heart’s desire !
In keeping with my company’s charter and something that makes me particularly proud, is the ‘Berthe’ line of “Made in France” products provides and maintains jobs for more than 190 people in France ! We are truly blessed : GOD SAVE BERTHE !