Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The end of his world revealed a great capacity to dare and to bounce back
Julia Cattin business manager? Not even in a dream. Despite the family fiber with grandparents and entrepreneurial parents. She aimed more at NGOs and was preparing a master’s degree in macroeconomics in Milan. The death of her father, Roland Cattin, in 2014, when she was only 26, would profoundly change her plans. Faced with her “blank page”, she took over Momentum, the industrial group created by her father, and breathed new life into it. This is a masterful and not so rare rebound…
The challenge was simply enormous. When the new manager takes over the reins, she discovers that a safeguard procedure is in progress, that Urssaf has assigned the company and that one of the banks has already activated its guarantee. His father had in fact developed two activities within Momentum: in 1986, with the support of Jean Beyl known for Look ski bindings, he launched Time Sport, a famous brand of racing bikes and automatic pedals adopted by champions such as Laurent Fignon, Greg Lemond, Miguel Indurain, like Tom Boonen and Julien Absalon. Also in 1986, he bought the Fimm company founded by the Alaux family and later, in the early 2000s, Manuvit, both specializing in the design and manufacture in France of handling equipment.
Boldness doesn’t always pay off
Fimm is developing well, but its “cycling” business is experiencing derailments. After some great victories that made Time a recognized brand in the world of cycling, the brand in turn encountered difficulties, particularly in its carbon frame manufacturing business. At the end of the 1980s, most manufacturers relied on carbon carbon made in Asia. Beating, Roland Cattin maintains his activity in France. Time frames use state-of-the-art technology, Resin Transfer Molding known as RTM, which is opposed to prepreg technology, details for connoisseurs. But overly expensive technology that caters to a niche market deprives the company of sponsorships from competing teams. Yet it was this presence that had contributed to making the brand so famous.
Assume everything, then reinvent everything
His family, starting with his daughter, however, has no idea of the difficulties that Roland Cattin is going through. Like many SME bosses, he keeps quiet “so as not to bother his relatives with all that”. He had not yet prepared his succession. His wife was involved in her own entrepreneurial activity in the retail trade and his two daughters had chosen other paths for their studies and their professional future (macroeconomics for Julia, the arts for her sister). Roland Cattin succumbs to a heart attack probably linked to his fight. The time for the overhaul has come.
Julia Cattin decides overnight to take up the torch. And his first steps in entrepreneurship will prove to be both violent and formative. First, reassure the employees, delve into the financial documents and the balance sheet, go to the group’s sites: Île-de-France, Rhône-Alpes, Normandy, Bourgogne Franche-Comté but also in Slovakia and the United States where Time Sport is established. She relies on members of the management team close to her father and on her uncle, a former business manager.
But the company without more cash, it is necessary to sell Time Sport, only solution to avoid recovery and liquidation. Julia fights for the debt to be taken over, at least in part. She learns to rub shoulders with and work with judicial administrators, lawyers, tax services… Finally, Rossignol bought the brand in 2016.
“Contrary to what one might imagine, when you hit rock bottom, you enter a new space. Having nothing to lose frees us from our fears and everything becomes possible, we feel free. »
A blank page to express audacity
At the same time, the new boss is heavily involved in fimm to sustain the activity. It is supported by Bpifrance as part of its “SME accelerator” program in Bourgogne Franche-Comté. Today, confidence has been restored, the group is doing fairly well and Julia Cattin is preparing her development plans for the future.
This dive directly into the deep end has hardened the heiress. She discovered that she knew how to dare. “Contrary to what one might imagine, when you hit rock bottom, you enter a new space. Having nothing to lose frees us from our fears and everything becomes possible, we feel free. »
What does she remember eight years later? That she needs to put herself in danger to express her audacity. She remains vigilant of course, but the vagaries of entrepreneurship do not scare her at all. After all, Julia went through what many entrepreneurs dread before even getting started – and she came through it particularly well.
It’s time for her to share her feedback. Connected to her peers, among others via the Rebondisseurs Français, she anticipates possible next upheavals. The outbreak of war in Ukraine and health uncertainties show that risk arises at any time, with no possible preparation. The important thing is to continue to dare and to bounce back if the situation requires it.
What Les Rebondisseurs Français say about it: Econetwork Business partner association
All in modesty, Julia Cattin, who had not thought of herself as a business leader, expresses her full dimension at the head of Momentum, which is moreover in a sector with little femininity. She is one of those precious role models who show the potential of entrepreneurship for women and the value created by the rebound.