Cécile Ivanes

Cécile Ivanes, an engineer in the local civil service in the field of geographic information systems since 2002, had a career rich in projects and responsibilities in local authorities in France before settling in Landéda in Finistère (Pays des Abers). However, despite her successful career, she felt unfulfilled and needed a creative outlet. Her desire to enrich her life and find a professional path that suited her led her to choose to follow her passion for embroidery.

Cecile faced several challenges along the way, including finding a way to “live and work in the country” due to health issues caused by driving long distances in her previous jobs. In 2017, she founded her small craft business, Brodan Bay, which offers embroidery services. Her computer skills allowed her to quickly master learning software and operating an embroidery machine, and her artistic flair provided the creative touch that led her to offer one-of-a-kind pieces and original, custom-branded collections.

“I chose to live my professional life according to my intuition, my values and my skills”.

Cécile found support and guidance through the Entreprendre au Féminin program, which helped her develop her business plan and refine her project and product. The program allowed her to plan her business creatively and create a framework for growth and progress. It helped her lay the groundwork for all the elements needed to succeed in her field, understanding everything from vendor costs to balancing business expenses to marketing and using branding to attract customer attention.

Like many others, Cecile’s business was hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic, and she had to return to work part-time to make ends meet. However, she remains passionate about her work and constantly asks herself how she can bring something unique to the world beyond just selling and making money.

Cecile explains that the Entreprendre au Féminin program is a solid platform to grow, but once the program is over, there is still a lot to do, and that is where the passion and drive that drove her led her. Today, she also leads creative sewing and embroidery workshops and sells specialty haberdashery items. She is fulfilled and passionate about her work. 

“I am 53 years old and I am happy to have tried the entrepreneurial adventure. It has allowed me to truly understand what I am capable of and has greatly solidified my confidence in my abilities.”

Through her creativity and engineering skills, Cécile has created a successful business that reflects her unique values and talents. Her entrepreneurial journey from engineering to embroidery is a testament to her perseverance, passion and purpose as a woman.

Case Study produced by Sass Adams for the AWE programme.