Guy Cotten: Innovate to take shelter

Who does not know the famous yellow wax of Guy Cotten in Brittany?Having become a symbol, even an icon, of the region, the brand of the "little yellow man", is however first and foremost intended for professionals of fishing and agriculture.It was from the 1980s that the company also started producing sportswear clothing for sailing."We benefited from the development of pleasure, sea classes ...", recalls Nadine Bertholom, who took the continuation of her father, Guy Cotten, at the head of the family SME in 2013.But Guy Cotten also continues on the markets of professionals.A way of not becoming a brand for tourists."My father started in the 1960s wanting to give more comfort to the sailors with PVC, which was a new material at the time.This is our core business, "says the manager.

Pas de service R & D

En parallèle des lancements de marques grand public (enfants, femmes, pantalons, chemises, etc.), la société continue d’innover. En 2006, elle dépose un brevet pour l’Isolatech. « Une matière pour les professionnels avec toujours du PVC mais aussi une paroi double qui permet de limiter la condensation à l’intérieur du vêtement. » Un choix qui se révélera être le bon à partir de 2008. La crise fait chuter les ventes en plaisance. « Sur le marché grand public, nous faisons de la qualité et nous étions concurrencés sur les prix. On s’est donc recentré sur notre savoir-faire », explique Nadine Bertholom. La PME travaille donc sur le marché des professionnels avec deux optiques : conserver la qualité et améliorer le confort, notamment au niveau de la condensation. Un travail effectué à tous les niveaux de l’entreprise : « Nous n’avons pas de R & D. Chacun propose ses idées, à l’atelier, à la direction, les commerciaux, etc. On se base sur les remontées du terrain, les observations. L’avantage de produire nous-mêmes et en France, c’est que l’on peut ajuster très vite », souligne la PDG. Guy Cotten innove, donc.

Guy Cotten : Innover pour se mettre à l'abri

After the Isolatech, the "magic hood" comes, which turns at the same time as the head and therefore offers sailors more security on the ships.“Of course, the price of the product increases.But we have good feedback.And we don't put it on all clothes.Latest novelty: the HybridPro +, also patented.“We managed to combine two ways to make a garment waterproof.PVC is shedding at high frequency and thermocollage on the 3 -layer textiles (breathable fabric).Previously, you could not do both on a garment.We went around the problem, ”says the manager.


Thanks to his innovations, Guy Cotten is maintained in his markets, in France but especially for export.“This allows us to differentiate ourselves in a context of strong competition.The market is not favorable on professionals, especially in France, but our turnover is stable (+around 1 %) at € 12.7 million, which is not bad, "said Nadine Bertholome.In the recovery phase, the company hires again.Six people joined the workshop in 2014 and again six hires are scheduled for 2015.