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Our History, from dream to reality.

At Vaïvaï everything is a part of a dream, of a project started by two friends. But the path from a dream to reality is often long and full of obstacles. Come discover an adventure that is human and rich in emotions

It was better before. Or not !

 

1998: France is world champion of football and Manu and Gaétan are going into the 11th grade at Louis Bartou high school in Pau. The best high school in the world for the two friends. 3000 students, surfers, jugglers, skaters, and above all, frequent strikes that allowed them to go take advantage of the beach of Biarritz….

La grande plage de biarritz
La grande plage de biarritz

 

With their high school diplomas in hand, they go up to the capital to continue their studies and they find themselves in the same class. It was a long period of rebeliousness on their university campus… where they took advantage of the joys of student life.

In 2006, Manu went to Chile and Gaétan went to spend a year in Brazil. There, he assisted in launching coconut water by the pack on the markets of Brazil. The “coconut seed” was planted in his brain and won’t stop growing. What if that were to work in Europe?

 

Almost one year later, the 2 friends found each other completely by accident on the Ile de Pâques (true story). Their time abroad brought them to a long discussion about what they wanted to do in their post grad life. And what if we started a company? There is no coconut water in France, but everyone drinks it in Brazil…

2006, Gaétan attends the launch of coconut water in pack, in Brazil. An idea that will not leave him anymore!

But their vacations and student life were over. They returned to Paris and to reality. Manu traded in this flip flops and bathing suit for a suit and tie and became a consultant. Gaétan went to work at an up and coming culinary workshop

A coconut cannot change it color !

 

2009 marked the turning point. Tired of reality, they resigned and threw themselves into… coconut trees. In September of that year, they prepared the first of a long series of trips to the Philippines. The objective? Meet a coconut water producer and convince him to sell them the precious liquid. Convincing is the right word, for when he saw the 2 companions arrive at the door of his plantation for the first time, he just about fell over: “But how old are you?”

 

PForeseeing this, they had let grow their beards to grow a little. But at 26 years old each, they didn’t really seem credible. Fortunately, with strong arguments, and a few weeks of discussions, it was signed. The first container would be delivered in a few months.

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The adventure really begins.

How was this water to be sold, anyway? Back in Paris, and after a dozen brainstorming sessions (being friends helped). That’s it! They had the name: it will be “Vaïvaï”. It’s simple, dynamic and exotic. Perfect. All that remained was to find a style and packaging design that would help highlight the naturalness of the product.It was Jérôme who would take care of it… (and who takes care of it still!). We are now in February 2010.

 

With a first model of the package and a sample in pocket, it was time to find the first customers. They pick up their phones and after a few (many) calls …

 

A meeting is set up ! It is the supermarket chain Monoprix that gave them their chance! It still amazes Manu and Gaétan: In 3 months the small white and green packs would sit on store shelves.

 

June 2010 marked THE OFFICIAL launch of Vaïvaï. Manu and Gaétan went together, selling in stores: “Hello, do you know about coconut water?”.

 

It was an exciting start, but they got quickly to reality in August 2010: money started draining, and fast. Fortunately everyone was there to support them: family, friends, friends of friends, and even some old bosses of Gaétan … Enough to last until the next round!

 

Allo Monoprix? It's Vaïvaï. We have a great product to offer you!

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This is reality... The one of entrepreneurs.

 

In early 2011, the phone rings. At the end of the line? their coconut water supplier, who announces a price increase of … 85%!?!. “How do we do it??”. They had to quickly find another source of coconut water. Manu and Gaétan then flew to Asia in search of more reliable partners, hoping to build a long-term relationship with them …

 

But the competitors enter the ring!

 

Fortunately, in August 2011, sales of coconut water are at a peak, and Monoprix would like to launch a 1 liter format. No problem for the boys, quite the contrary, it is already in the cartons 🙂 The phone rang more and more. The cartons are found on more and more shelves.
But with all that, they had to start hiring. This was done in January 2012 with their first employee, Florie (who would go on to develop marketing and web content ‘of Vaïvaï) and then … a second big blow: foreign competitors land in France and they are (much much ) richer than our two friends.

 

Fortunately, customers like Vaïvaï, “their little French brand!” And of course, the company develops. They began to think about the future. Luck of the calendar, in January 2013, they met another French entrepreneur who has a distribution company, 300 salesmen strong all over France. Solid! But above all, this entrepreneur thinks that together they can beat the Americans (you know, the famous, much richer rivals) and flood France with coconut water. The future will prove him right!

 

A gust of freedom!

 

That same year, during the summer period Emmanuel and Gaétan realized one of their dreams as students: to relocate the seat of Vaïvaï to the South-West, to be able to surf before and after the job! The team is enthusiastic and accepts the experience with pleasure.
Between sun and beach, they launch a “sea-marketing” operation and taste coconut water in the middle of the water, right on their surfboards! These efforts paid off and attract the media, who were curious about this new natural drink that was launched on the French market by a small … French company.

 

Almost perfect!

 

In the winter of 2015, it was the first meeting with Gaël Monfils, the tennis player. Gaël likes the brand, the product, and the relationship goes well with the 2 creators of Vaïvaï. A beautiful partnership between the player and the small brand has just seen the light.

2015 was also the year that Vaïvaï saw its first cartons crossing the borders, and when the brand set out to conquer its first customers in Belgium and Switzerland. Attention! Vaivai is International!

2016: the team turns the turbo on and Vaïvaï launches a series of innovations around coconut: the Création products (cocktails with coconut water, alcohol-free), the organic coconut oil, and the delicious coconut chips, oven-toasted.

 

For 2017 and the following years… history remains to be written but it seems promising, so come back from time to time to this page to discover it 😉