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The giant mascots of this young entrepreneur go around the world

The giant mascots of this young entrepreneur go around the world

At age 33, Antoine Verne built an empire of the giant mascot. The discreet Clermontois realizes the fluff of major sporting events and companies. Specialized in high-end, he now covets the international market.

His story with these gigantic soft toys similar to that of Obelix and the magic potion. Antoine Verne fell into the young and makes it a real business. The 33-year-old Clermontois has always been passionate about these mascots that can be seen at the entrance of a store or on a football stadium and that "give back a smile".

A time at the head of an event agency in Clermont-Ferrand, a past many months of December under the costume, parade during the Christmas markets of the capital of Auvergne. Parades that were the trigger. "Fil a needle, I got the contact of a French workshop that designs high-end mascots. It gave me the idea to make a sales site. "

The mascots of the 2017 world cup of handball, the French federations of athletics and football ...

The Planet Mascots company was born in 2012 and soon became successful. Antoine Verne sells 500 giant mascots each year to retail professionals or sports federations for world events.

Among the most beautiful achievements: the 2017 World Handball Cup, the Athletics and Football Federation, or the stuffed of the future Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea in 2018. The big Milka cow or the BN rectangular cake also sign his signature.

Yet this blazing success does not make him take the big head like that of his fluff. Antoine Verne communicates little. And to stay one step ahead of his other five French competitors, he remains discreet about the workshops with his works in France, Germany or Slovenia. But especially not in China. "I'm one of the few to do the high end. Made-to-measure represents 20% of order volume, but 80% of my turnover ", summarizes the entrepreneur. A turnover that already amounts to 400,000 euros per year.

On his site, Antoine offers a catalog of mascots: animals from the forest, plants, characters ... Made of fabric, they cost between 200 and 500 euros.

Fluff up to 6,000 euros

But for competing mascots, made to measure, the manufacturing technique changes and the price too. "You can make polyethylene mascots with ventilation systems, real leather. The resin ones are made in America and are hand painted. These are the most expensive, they go up to 6,000 euros each. "

My dream is to do the OJ 2024 in Paris

The couturiers, one month to create the mascot, this one arrive in Antoine's co-working workshop, rue Rameau in Clermont. The thirty-year-old then checks that the 5 to 10 kg of tissues are sewn, thread the 1 m 80 of stuffed animal before shipping.

Since this year, Antoine Verne also offers miniature versions on a new site he hopes to develop. But in its viewfinder, it is a very different goal, much more symbolic. "My dream is to realize the mascot of the Olympics 2024 that will take place in Paris," he concluded. An Olympic mascot imagined in Clermont ... That would be the class, right?

Fanny Guiné