Aug 2, 2023
Change your life to change the world... You thought it was a great idea?
Philippine Léger - Bangratz, who left her position as Marketing Director at L'Oréal in Paris to help with the launch of Villa Blu, Robertet's startup accelerator, tells you the whole truth...
Between preconceived ideas and realities, repeated struggles, and pure joy, she explains everything, without pretense:
“On December 25, 2022, a call turned my life upside down. A friend shared an opportunity in the South: a startup accelerator dedicated to naturalness was about to be launched in Grasse by the historic group Robertet, which was looking to recruit a team…”
So begins a profound reflection for Philippine. It is not an easy decision to make: not only does she have to think seriously about this project, but she also has to take into account her husband's reaction...
Nevertheless, she took the leap, and here are the 4 main lessons she learned from it:
“Forget the rational: choosing to change your life is a call of the heart”
Taking the risk of such an adventure requires much more than rational calculations.
Philippine describes this process as something... inexplicable. She was motivated by the desire to give more meaning to her life, the dynamic atmosphere of startups seemingly promising flexibility and innovation potential.
After weeks of joint reflection and a holiday retreat to digest the prospect of this potential new life, the couple finally decided to visit Grasse, a city that was then linked to them by no memory or knowledge.
At this stage, Philippine strongly advises taking the time to explore the surroundings to become familiar with the local atmosphere.
She tells how, amid the visits, she felt strangely at home, particularly in a small neighborhood of Grasse, Magagnosc, which reminded her of her childhood (fun fact: that's exactly where she eventually found her new home).
In January, just a month after her friend's call, the decision was made: the couple would leave Paris.
“Don't succumb to clichés”
Reading this story of changing lives, are you tempted? You are not alone... In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a mass exodus took place with many city dwellers seeking refuge in the countryside. The back-to-the-land movement, in search of meaning and simplicity, has become almost trendy.
“However, this movement has generated a certain form of guilt among the remaining Parisians, accentuating the cliché of a better life in the countryside. But, I truly believe that it's not a decision to be taken lightly, and for some, the bustling life of Paris, with its wealth of activities and unending energy, can be satisfying,” Philippine reminds us.
Sometimes, it takes time, even the help of a coach, to reflect and thoroughly dissect this idea.
Moreover, Philippine emphasizes, the decision to relocate can be even more complex for couples. Professional opportunities may not be as abundant in the region, and a balance must be found between both partners. However, telecommuting may be a good option for the spouse.
Philippine also mentions that implementing such a life change can be logistically difficult, as she experienced trying to sell her apartment in Paris and buy a house in Grasse. Temporary renting may be a good provisional choice.
“Regret Paris... or reconcile the two worlds!”
One of the questions Philippine often receives is: "Do you regret Paris?". Fundamentally, the frantic pace of Paris contrasts sharply with the tranquility of provincial life.
Yet, despite the differences, Philippine claims to have no particular longing for the capital. Instead, she enjoys the serenity and tranquility of her new life in Grasse. And when she misses her friends, they never fail to come to see her in this very pleasant region, both in summer and winter. The Côte d'Azur lifestyle is appealing!
The opportunity to work with Villa Blu offers her a constant level of intellectual stimulation - the startups having hypergrowth as a goal - but with an extra dose of kindness and respect for work-life balance.
Time seems to flow at a different pace in Grasse, allowing Philippine and her husband to fully enjoy nature and free themselves from the constant stress of life in Paris.
For her, it is about finding the right balance between these two worlds, a formula that she seems to have successfully mastered.
“Savor... all aspects”
Grasse, famous for its perfumeries, offers a plethora of sensory pleasures. For Philippine, a natural aesthete, the beauty of the city is a continual source of joy.
The rose harvest, cultural festivals, and the natural richness of the region are all elements that make her new life in Grasse magical and incredible. In this relaxing atmosphere, Philippine has also witnessed the commitment of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The entrepreneurs' evening in Grasse showed a level of dynamism and respect for personal life that was truly refreshing.
Philippine concludes by sharing her happiness with this life change. She marvels at the mindset of Grasse and the warm people who surround her.
She speaks emotionally about her pregnancy, an event she had been waiting for five years. For her, the life change allowed this situation to be unlocked, perfectly illustrating how this choice can have unexpected positive repercussions.
At Villa Blu, she feels respected, both in her professional role and as a future mother. For her, it is a sign that her choice to change her life was indeed the right one."