Les Bidules almost disappeared once again from the toy boxes of toddlers, collateral victims of the pandemic
Clark, Jane, Zoé, Matt… This morning they will be in the toy section of the Auchan Aubagne and Saint-Loup hypermarkets in Marseille. Les Bidibules, these little culbuto in the shape of characters that had been a hit in the 80s, before falling into oblivion and then being relaunched three years ago by the Marseillais Fabrice Raffo, will perhaps be at the foot of your tree in a week thanks to the fabulous modern Christmas story that the entrepreneur has just experienced, and to which Provence has contributed a little. Because the Bidules have almost disappeared once again from the toy boxes of toddlers, collateral victims of the pandemic. “The day after the announcement of the second confinement, at the end of October, all the orders were canceled by the toy stores, ie a value of 200,000 euros “, confided to us the president of Kidul, the company which relaunched the Bidibules, and was starting to take its head out of the water after having already experienced the crisis of the yellow vests and the first confinement.
At the beginning of November, this lover of brands from our childhood, who had already given Tann’s school bags a second life in 2007, found himself with 40,000 Bidibules on his hands, and especially in the inability to pay his suppliers and service providers. And if some goodwill was mobilized locally to help him sell his stock, he was missing a large order, under penalty of going out of business. “Large distribution, that would be interesting, but we don’t really have a gateway “, Fabrice Raffo told us again on December 4 during a report in the warehouse of the logistics company Mistral Services in La Valentine, where the 40,000 Bidibules were stored. It turns out that “Provence” has the keys to access the management staff of brands present throughout France. When contacted, Auchan France’s communications director immediately answered the call and even found the mission attractive; to save an SME from bankruptcy by opening the Auchan house to it, in other words a trade war machine. “He called me the same day, then made me call back a few minutes later by the non-food purchasing manager, I had 10 minutes to present the Bidibules to him “, remembers the business manager still stunned by such an outcome. Because after a weekend of trade negotiations, the brand announced to him, the following Monday, that it was buying the entire stock. The Bidibules were saved. In a record time of less than a week, between signing the contract and putting it on the shelves, this new product was listed and ordered, and finally shipped, since yesterday, to the toy shelves of a dozen Auchan hypermarkets. in the region today and tomorrow (Avignon, Martigues, Le Pontet, Manosque …), then throughout France, and even on the brand’s website. “It’s a little Proust madeleine, in the teams there were those who had known the Bidibules and remembered them, and the younger ones who had never heard of them! “ says Stéphanie Noël, director of the Auchan Toys universe, whose teams went out of their way not to miss the holiday window, and to give the product its full chance. Which is put forward, from this morning, by the teams in hypermarkets, in Aubagne or Marseille. In short, a Christmas tale, of which toddlers (2 to 7 years old) will be able to write the end, by manipulating these small characters and their worlds, known to sharpen fine motor skills.
Find the full story in the newspaper La Provence, Marseille edition, this Friday.