Out of the land in Nancy in the East of France, 7PLIS manufactures glasses and other everyday accessories based on recycled skateboards. 1,000 pairs of glasses have been produced since the launch of the project. Portrait of a start-up made in France and a pioneer in its sector.
“Here, this is where it all started. Welcome to the garage of the family home, my first workshop!” , exclaims Florent Baraban, smile on his lips and cap screwed on his head. Here, a wood milling machine and tools of all kinds coexist with multicolored graffiti and a hundred used skateboards. It is in this organized bazaar that in 2016 was born 7PLIS, a start-up with a unique concept. Its founder tells us: “I have been skateboarding since I was a teenager. It is one of my great passions. An optician-eyewear by training and sensitive to ecology, I wanted to combine these three areas of interest. . Here, we make glasses and lots of accessories for everyday life with the raw material, maple wood from skateboard decks. ”
Approved by healthcare organizations and therefore sold to opticians, 7PLIS glasses are patented. The curvatures (“curves”) as well as the thickness of the flat part of the board correspond to the appropriate template for making a pair of glasses. In the start-up, everything is handcrafted, with the concern to recycle everything that can be recycled. The packaging is for example made with the maple of the boards and the opening buttons of the glasses cases with ball bearings of skateboards. For the 7PLIS team, made up of five employees, creativity is central. Alongside the start-up’s flagship product – glasses – many other accessories have been invented over the years, depending on the sensitivity of each craftsman: watches, jewelry, pens, tie clips.
After five years of existence, ” 7PLIS is developing well” according to its founder, now 34 years old. The articles are distributed in 30 physical points of sale in France and online sales come 70% from abroad, especially from Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. “It surprised us at the beginning, but at the same time, it is quite logical because these countries are more and more sensitive to ecology”,specifies the entrepreneur. With a turnover which increased by 200% in 2021, the production rate is accelerating. The Nancy-based company has produced 1,000 pairs of glasses since its launch. Each year, 3,000 rings and 10,000 key rings are produced on average. With a very concrete positive environmental impact: 800 recycled skateboards since 2016, the equivalent of a ton of maple wood.
This year, 7PLIS has a new, much larger workshop. “It’s an old village hall with an adjoining terraced house. We have a lot more room for machines and stock of boards. We are also doing work to transform this place into a showroom to discover the universe. The idea is for it to become a friendly place to reflect the culture of skateboarding. It actually looks like us, ” says Florent Baraban.
And to recall that the goal of 7PLIS “is not to become a leader at all costs” but rather to “keep the pleasure of doing premium recycling and diversifying the range of creations” . The start-up also works with “partner” companies in the same segment but from different trades. Like Prisma Guitare, a North American company that makes skateboard maple-based guitars. ” We fight against ourselves and not against others” , concludes, philosopher, the boss of 7PLIS.