From apprentice to entrepreneur, discover Charlotte’s path, graduated from Montpellier Business School in 2011

Apprenticeship student and talented entrepreneur even before graduating from Montpellier Business School in 2011, Charlotte Martin created « William & Watson » in 2014, a company specialized in vintage and industrial lightings and it will maybe expand to France!

What was your study path?

I joined Montpellier Business School in 2008, after a two-years degree during which I was an apprentice in a company. The school provides a special admission system for students that are apprentices. I arrived when Montpellier Business School decided in the name of diversity and equal opportunities, to extend this possibility to all the students. I had the opportunity to make a 3-year apprenticeship at Accor, in Paris. I really wanted to create my own business at the moment so I chose the « small business » specialization (which is today called, « start up »). At this time, I defended a project for the creation of a network of micro nurseries in companies, it allowed me to win the DO IT award from Montpellier Business School and the entrepreneurship award from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. When I graduated, I had a contract with a company specialized in the real estate development and one thing leading to another, I just forgot about my idea of creating a business… I had to stop everything to refocus and find what I wanted to do so I went to Asia during one year.

What is the concept of your business?

I created William and Watson in May 2014 with two friends, in London, because bureaucratic procedures are easier in England. We sell a large range of vintage and industrial lightings (incandescent lamps, LED, ceiling rose set, holders…). The next step now is to design our own lights and collaborate with European designers in order to create unique models. The prototypes are in the making and our new range will be available during the year’s end celebrations. Our brand is well established in England, the French market is opening up to us, and we just got contracts with some Parisian stores. We also worked with interior designers, more specifically for the opening of Obladi cafe in Paris. My objective is to expand my business and why not becoming a European leader in the industrial lightning sector.

What is your message for the news apprentices?

You are very lucky to be an apprentice in such a well-known management school. It is a great source of diversity and I am very proud that there are now over 900 apprentices in Montpellier! Be grateful for that and make the most of it. This school gave me a wide range of skills and knowledge that I use everyday, like a toolbox (marketing, retailing, purchasing, imports, accounting etc…). Don’t forget to figure out what you want to do and to plan your professional project, a specialization can sometimes be decisive for your future career!