Inside EuroSIMA interviews Vincent Lemanceau of Surfin Estate
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 29 November, 2015 - A skateboarder and surfer since his childhood, Vincent has also always had an eye for fashion. In order to share his lifestyle with others, in 2011 he launched Surfin Estate, a blog with a fresh new take on the rider lifestyle drawing inspiration from fashion, art and music. Four years later, Surfin Estate has become a brand and Vincent and his partners have just recently opened their first concept store in Hossegor.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Claouey, near Arcachon on the Lège Cap-Ferret peninsula. The name means “the nail” in gascon (local dialect). In the eighties and nineties it was the European center of skateboarding, so I started very young when I was around 6 or 7 years old. When I turned ten, a surf shop opened near my house, and that’s when I rode my first wave.
You just recently created your own concept store. How did that come to be?
After my high school graduation, I studied at the UCPA and passed my surfing instructor’s certificate in September. I hadn’t registered for university classes for the fall so I wound up not really knowing what to do. My godfather who owned a transportation company offered me a job in auditing. I was his ears and eyes in the field in Nantes, Marseille and Paris. It was a truly eye-opening experience and I loved it.
Being a surfer, didn’t you miss the ocean?
I did, and after a while I really felt the need to come home, back to the ocean. Also, I’d heard about a project to create a riders’ club-house in Lège Cap Ferret. The mayor put me in charge of developing the Surf Club on the peninsula where I had the huge 300m2 riders’ club house at my disposal. Within 4 years, we grew from 2 to 10 instructors and 50 to 400 members.
Having fulfilled my role for the club, I needed a change. In 2007, I moved to Anglet to work in the OXBOW flagship store as an assistant and very quickly I became a manager. I opened stores in the south west area and in the larger South or France zone with other responsibilities in local marketing as well.
When Baptiste Caulonque took over at OXBOW, I moved into sports marketing where I was responsible for creating all the content and events around our brand and athlete team between Bordeaux and Anglet. Unfortunately, when a Swiss group took over the company, they laid off Baptiste and several other executives. It was hard, people lost faith.
How did you bounce back from that?
I didn’t stay. I really wanted to live closer to my family and I figured that leaving was also an opportunity to go back to school and get a degree. I therefore went to the Business School in Pau where I got a degree in business and management in 2014. The courses I took gave me the desire and inspiration to become an entrepreneur.
Did you already have a concrete idea of what you wanted to do?
With the label Surfin Estate, I had imagined something that would include both a physical shop and place to hang out. The idea was to build on the surfing culture from our own experience and inspiration.