The MASSIP - DE GRIMM Saga

After World War II, in Bordeaux like elsewhere, everything was on shortage … but not ideas. Marguerite Massip, agile with her 10 fingers, created in 1945 her first wool and cotton bag for her daughter Simone.

This bag triggered her friend’s admiration in school, so Marguerite received numerous requests and orders from the entire neighborhood. Then one day, the local notions store proposed to distribute her creations… it was a big success!

This is how were founded the « Ateliers Marguerite Massip » in 1945 – located Georges V Boulevard in Bordeaux – gate of Pessac.

Facing an exploding demand, Marguerite requested the back-up of her son Maurice in 1947. He’s the one who brought his know-how in the leather goods trade, allowing the company to reach a new landmark.

During 13 years, they will develop together the registered trademark of leather bags called « Divona », distributed everywhere in France and which lived its hours of glory.

In 1960, Maurice decided to open his own workshop named « Maurice Massip », located at intersection of the streets des Beaux-arts and Tauzia, close to Bordeaux’ train station.

It’s in 1962 that the 3rd generation of Massip makes its way into the company. Maurice’s elder son Jean-Claude is back from the Algerian war. Without any knowledge of the job, he will be trained by an exceptional craftsman and learn the art of cutting, mounting and designing leather bags. It happens he unveiled quite a talent, and quickly became an essential element in the development of his father’s workshop.

In 1976, the Massip Establishments count 15 employees, but times are difficult. Alain Massip, Maurice’s second son, decides to join the family business. With his background as sales director and financial director, he will set-up what lacks most to the business: its own sales department.

Alain personally takes in charge the Massip brand's distribution into the largest leather goods stores in France, especially in Bordeaux and Paris. He also set-up a distribution network with large companies’ work councils.

But Alain has more than one string to his bow: with an innate sense of trends, volumes and perspectives, he draws entire collections of bags. His brother Jean-Claude gives them life with his technical expertise… and success is here yet again.

To the point that the family decided to open its first factory outlet in 1977, in an old garage right next to the workshop.

In 1978, the garage door is replaced by a window, but the shop remains very small. At that time, the customers waited patiently in line on the sidewalk to have a chance to buy their crocodile bag for Christmas.

   

   

When the opportunity to purchase an adjacent land stripe aroused, the Tauzia street outlet was extended in 1981. In addition to the leather bags on demand, the Massip Establishments now make tailored leather clothes.

As the workshop moves on with its growth, the 4th generation of Massip is preparing for the future. Olivier, Alain’s second son, begins in 1988 his apprenticeship at the Abbé Grégoire School and obtains his diploma. After a few months of internship at Hermès, Olivier prefers to continue his training rather than accepting his first job in this prestigious company. He will begin his « compagnonnage du tour de France » (Companion of the tour de France, the most renown apprenticeship for manual arts in the country that lasts 7 years) in 1990, achieved his masterpiece – a traveling companion’s leather backpack – in 1995, and ended his prestigious training in 1997. During his career, he has been employed by other luxury brands such as J.M. Weston and Charles Jourdan. In 2013, he decided to launch his own workshop « Olivier Massip Maroquinerie » and is an official free-lance trainer at Hermès.

Their next goal was to set foot in downtown Bordeaux’ golden triangle, so « Maurice’s sons » opened another store in the brand new Galerie des Grands-Hommes shopping mall in 1991. It’s the creation of the « De Grimm » boutique and of the « Morriss’on » company, owned by the original Massip Company, as they still both exist today.

Fabienne, Alain’s youngest daughter, started working in the company in December 2001. During 11 years, she will learn all the strings of the trade, from production to sales, but will also bring in her own expertise in management, purchasing, finance, customer greeting and premium customer service.

She will become the general manager of the two companies in June 2012, and is now writing a new chapter of the family saga started almost 70 years ago.