Meet Nicolas Vix the founder of Weeplay

Paris, France

Nicolas Vix is ​​the founder of Weeplay, a company that manufactures and markets textile and accessory products for clubs, federations and sports events. Beyond his passion for sport, Nicolas Vix is ​​a smart bargain hunter and lover of beautiful objects. We met him in his premises located in a mansion in the heart of the 16th borough of Paris.

For starters, can you introduce Weeplay?

I created Weeplay in 2007. Our job is to manufacture and distribute license products on behalf of football clubs and sporting events. Among our licenses are Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, Olympique Marseille Football Club, French Football Team, FC Barcelona, ​​AS Saint Etienne Football Club. We have recently signed the manufacture and distribution of products for Roland Garros (The French Open), which we will distribute from 2020.

How are you different from a sports equipment manufacturer?

If we take the example of the PSG, Nike will manufacture and distribute the majority of products branded with the PSG logo, including the official jersey. 

At Weeplay, we develop different ranges from the main manufacturer. We provide textile lifestyle products and balloons with prices that are more accessible, because supermarkets are our first distribution channel. We sign licenses with the clubs, which generally last 4/5 years and we pay them royalties. 

With PSG for example, we create up to 180 different textile products for men, women and children as well as balloons, which we renew each year to match fashion trends. We manage the creation of collections by involving the clubs from the beginning, then manufacturing and marketing. We distribute between 1.5 and 2 million pieces per year, so it makes volume!

Has your background always been in the world of sport?

Originally I come from a food background because I worked for Procter & Gamble for 8 years. Then I joined Adidas where I spent 4 years and it is thanks to the contacts I made, that I could create Weeplay. At the time, Adidas took the rights for OM Football Club and they were looking for a company to operate independently of the brand, because it was not the same distribution networks or the same positioning. They entrusted me with this exploitation and that's how the Weeplay adventure started.

How did you find these offices?

Initially I was looking for professional office to buy but the choices in Paris are very limited. I spent 8 months searching without success. I saw a lot of ground floor spaces from the 70s era that did not look like much! 

So, I searched for living quarters and I found this place quickly. It belonged to a senior couple who had lived there for more than 35 years, and when I first entered, I immediately fell in love. We are now in an atypical space, quite far from the image that we have products sold for €15 in a supermarket, but I found it interesting because it provides an image of quality which is valued in ​​our industry. All the period details are extremely well preserved, there are little treasures everywhere. I have just redone the paintings, and sanded the doors to make it more contemporary and more suitable for our offices.

How many employees work here?

Two people take care of the administrative part, three marketing people, and me, so that's six people working here permanently. 

We also have a commercial team of four people but who are in the field. In short, we are a fairly small team. The creative part is outsourced to designers, but they are always the same because we are faithful to the people who work with Weeplay. We also have sourcing agents who take care of the quality control in the factories, and we also outsource the logistics.

How did you come to choose USM for the office?

I knew USM before setting up these offices, and I had always found the furniture very beautiful and minimalist. I saw USM at a friend's house which was a 'Haussmannian' style and the contrast really appealed to me. I wanted light furniture for this very special decor, and at the same time I wanted something modern, to immediately give the office connotation that I needed to assert in this space, so it seemed ideal.

Did you work with a decorator?

I have an architect who made the plans, but for the rest, as I love decorating and antiquing, I did! I also worked directly with craftsmen, which I already knew as they worked on my house. For example, in the bathroom, I wanted to keep a 'house' spirit so I called on a mosaic designer named Walter Feltrin. For the mural in the courtyard, I asked a graffiti artist friend of mine, from Rio, Brazil, to do it who I gave free range.

Where did you find the pieces to decorate your offices?

I often go to the flea market in Saint Ouen. I have a favourite merchant for the old chandeliers, Sophie Cougoule-Devergne at the market Serpette. 

Each year I also visit Zohra Henry who has become a friend. For over 20 years, she has brought back very old furniture, from northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, with her husband who was a mountain guide. Zohra restores the furniture to preserve it and prevent the pieces from disappearing forever. 

I also like old carpets that I find at the Drouot auctions. I buy old objects at the Yveline Gallery in Paris and of course I bring things from the countries I visit.

What do you like best about your job?

First, there is the entrepreneurial aspect. Start an activity from scratch in an already structured and congested market, by identifying a small place to take and being able to bring to all the prestigious clubs, what we originally brought to OM. 

Also pride, to be able to serve a large number of fans and supporters with affordable products. When I see today that a mum in a supermarket can make her child happy for €15, it is a pride. Today not everyone cannot afford to spend lots of money on a sports jersey.

We warmly thank Nicolas Vix for his time.

Photographs: Alexandre Moulard