I am saddened to learn of the passing of Paul de Trentinian, manager of La Boutique des Inventions that he co-founded with Isabelle Risacher in the Village Saint Paul in Paris.
What is La Boutique des Inventions?
La Boutique des Inventions is an innovative concept, unique in its kind. Its credo can be summarized as follows: To sell inventors’ products before they are even put on the market in order to immediately test the reaction of customers and to make a start in sales.
With this original activity, Paul met many inventors for whom he often became the advisor, the confidant, and the first client distributor. This was the case for me when I met him with Isabelle at the Village Saint Paul, in Paris. I was then starting to test my idea of a light reflector to light up dark interiors. This approach will be concretized with the creation of Espaciel a few years later.
Long before the widespread craze for entrepreneurship and startups, Paul was curious about all new inventions. He particularly liked the work of a pioneer to be always one step ahead of the new. I think he was proud when an inventor identified and accompanied by him succeeded in transforming his invention into a commercial product and then a company. He liked to feel useful to the community he had decided to support.
A privileged link with inventors
Paul was motivated by the positive impact that inventiveness can have on the renewal and improvement of our daily lives. This is what he sought by visiting trade shows and receiving inventors in his store. He was also aware of the particular personality of inventors and the distance that sometimes separates them from corporate methodologies.
The terms inventor, designer, engineer, project manager, salesperson, entrepreneur refer to completely different attitudes and skills. Few people can bring them together in one person. Discovering the usefulness of each role was part of the openness that Paul brought through his network. He wanted to help everyone surround themselves with the right people to enrich their own abilities and build a complementary team. These were the messages that Paul gave with patience and benevolence, even to the most reluctant inventors. He often complained about people being blocked. He wanted to unlock their difficulty in getting past this or that stage when their invention was so great in his opinion.
Disinterested, Paul did this work of research, promotion, accompaniment and marketing by personal conviction. He asked little in return. Most often it was limited to a commercial margin on the resale of the products. He did not buy the stock, preferring to use the sales depot. These two demands were modest compared to his commitment to inventors.
How can Paul de Trentinian’s approach be continued in the future?
Pre-launch platforms such as Kiss Kiss Bank, Ulule, Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer much broader means of communication than a simple store. But this web approach does not replace the privileged and personalized contact offered by a downtown store at Village Saint-Paul. There was also the friendly and convivial side with the festive summer aperitifs at the Invention Shop.
These meetings between creators and the direct contact with customers as well as the in-situ use of products are not transferable to the web. A precursor at the time of its creation, the Boutique des Inventions would still have a role to play in complementing other digital tools. This activity was interrupted with the disappearance of Paul and the closing of the Boutique des Inventions. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Paul’s human qualities and professionalism are perpetuated through the indelible memory he leaves to the inventors who worked with him. I think that each one of them, in their own path, has benefited from Paul’s guidance and has acquired permanent skills.