Camif was founded in 1947. After going bankrupt in 2008, it was taken over and reinvented by its new main owner and CEO Emery Jacquillat. It is now a company that sells exclusively online and has focused on furniture, bedding, and "made in France" products ( for over 70% of its revenue).
This case was published in June 2021
- G. Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
One of the 3 AAA values displayed by the company is Attention (Audacity and Agility are the other two). The proposed personal attitude suggested for employees is to take care of oneself, to create links with others and to be open to the world. Camif pays special attention to its ecosystem. It announces its mission (co-created with its stakeholders) as “to offer products and services for the home, for the benefit of humanity and the planet. Mobilizing its ecosystem, collaborating and acting to invent new models of consumption, production and organization.”
The ecosystem consists of its consumers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, local stakeholders. Thereby, to imagine the interior space of the future, they created a unique event, the « Camifathlon ». For 2 days, they gathered a part of their ecosystem such as experts, suppliers, designers or customers to co-create Camif’s collections for the coming years.
Each year, the free online Camif Tour allows participants to discover the backstage of French manufacturing, to promote exchanges and to create links with the manufacturers in the regions. https://www.camif.fr/tour_camif.html
After the buyout and merger of Camif in 2009, the CEO knew that moving towards more collaboration among the teams would require a change in culture, and that this would be something taking a lot of time. To create links and encourage innovation, Camif has hosted an artist in residence for three months. Struck by the fact that the employees exchanged emails in the open space instead of talking to each other, she started by marking the spots of real exchanges with pink strips on the floor. The less talkative ones quickly understood that they lacked interactivity. Then she made use of the parking lot and renamed the spaces with the names of her favorite artists. Every morning, employees discovered new painters or sculptors while parking and talked about them among themselves. The teams were shaken up but were also quickly bonded by the dialogue and the link created by these creations. Moreover, it was no longer a question of rehashing the past with things like “before, we did it like that".
CAMIF became "C'est A Moi d'Inventer le Futur" ("It's up to me to invent the future“).
After being certified as a “B Corp” or Benefit Corporation in 2015, Camif chose to open a new era and become a pioneer “mission-driven enterprise” in France which means that by law:
- The purpose of the company, called its “mission,” is defined and inscribed in legal statutes.
- A form of commitment: the statutes formally commit the shareholders, and are accompanied by conditions to be met in order to abolish or modify the mission (generally obtaining 2/3 votes of each class of shares).
- Control mechanisms associated with the mission, through the implementation of a reporting system, the rights of shareholders and third parties (or stakeholders*), as well as adapted governance mechanisms, accompany this legal system and ensure its control.
A concrete consequence of this commitment to mission is the boycott of Black Friday. Camif.fr closed its site on Nov. 24, 2017 for the first time to raise awareness of responsible consumption. An invitation is made to each one this day to make a step aside, to take distance on the habits of overconsumption. And to take times to think about adopting new behaviors like recycling, reusing.
With La Place https://www.camif.fr/laplace/, Camif proposes alternatives to overconsumption and aims to promote local products. La Place is a platform that brings together all the players in the responsible economy, repair, recycling or the social and solidarity economy.
(*) consumers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, local stakeholders
The former Camif was very hierarchical and segregated before it went bankrupt and was acquired in 2009. The new management advocates now the free flow of information. It also actively preaches the movement of people! Every week, it's musical chairs: each employee changes neighbors, according to a very carefully orchestrated schedule. There is also the "Tuesday update": a group-viewed slide-show review of activity and projects in progress, and results. To facilitate the sharing, the animator is renewed each time. This is an opportunity to review Camif's core business: Marketing and Offer. Employees are free to insert their slide before Tuesday morning to present specific topics on their activities, make calls for volunteers, etc. (The slide deck is available on the network). Tuesday's meeting is also an opportunity to talk about decisions that will be taken in a collaborative way: the telework charter, ... For newcomers, it is required for them to present themselves to all the employees (what is your background, your job, your favorite food, your gesture for the planet.) The participation rate is usually 100%, excluding absences due to illness, vacations, time off, etc. Each week, an employee is drawn at random and will introduce the following Tuesday's update. He or she will be the facilitator and will also have to introduce himself or herself and the roles he or she plays in the organization. The objective here is to encourage all employees who do not necessarily have the opportunity to speak in public to do so.