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COMPANY PRESENTATION

Polly Esther, the names of two elderly grandmothers, is the name chosen by Marc Ducasse in 2018 when incorporation became necessary to maintain his ability to meet growing demand. However, Polly Esther began in 2008, when he approached artisans from Union Park—many of them women—to create Mauritius-themed plush-toy dodos, which he then distributed. Since those days, demand for this flagship product, and many products that Polly Esther now produces, has continued to increase. Over time, Marc’s family joined Polly Esther and now they all work together, making Polly Esther a model family business.

From these beginnings, Polly Esther has expanded to a range of over 90 children’s plush toys, many of them inspired by Mauritian fauna such as the echo parakeet (cato vert), the endemic Mauritian fruit bat or the gecko. Each new model represents months of training, experimentation and meticulous tweaking to perfect the craftmanship to company standards. Between this design journey and regularly training new artisans in the art of dollmaking to expand their team and preserve this tradition, Polly Esther has become an avid and engaged supporter of Mauritian arts and culture.

In 2018 and sensing an opportunity, Marc formally incorporated Polly Esther and opened a factory in Union Park, where many of the artisans he had worked with lived. Hiring now prioritizes women in surrounding community and lenient working conditions allow artisans to be near their families. Artisans are treated not only as essential to the company but also to the arts and cultural landscape of Mauritius, as dollmaking differs vastly from other forms of textile crafts. Polly Esther is also promoting this art form by hosting field trips for schools in underprivileged communities.

The factory not only made Polly Esther a model of CSR, but also centralized production. In addition to the efficiency gained from this move—production jumped from 1,000 units per month to between 3,500 and 5,000—this has also allowed Marc to be more engaged with the community by creating a work environment that still allows the artisans, all of them young women, to remain close to their families—many of them alternate between having lunch at Polly Esther and having lunch at home with family.

Polly Esther is emerging from a radical transformative process that was meant to adapt their production to growing demand. They now sell their products in kiosks at Plaisance Shopping Village, So’Flo and Magic Lantern Rose Hill, but their plush animals are also sold in hotel gift shops around Mauritius and internationally, Polly Esther’s plush animals are sold in the Mauritius Duty-Free Paradise shop. They have 2 primary distribution channels, one where Polly Esther manufactures and sells directly to customers—and another where they sell their products to other companies, who then handle the distribution.

The Ducasse family has also put a lot of energy into ensuring that “Polly Esther” as a brand stands out, and that the visibility of their brand is ensured. Indeed, a year ago they have proudly acquired the “Made in Moris” mark for their brand and since then, all their products bear the label. This label certifies that the plush toys are made locally and that they follow mandatory requirements such as proof of the Management’s commitment for quality and continuity, staff welfare, best practices in terms of production process, marketing, branding, distribution, and CSR.

The Made in Moris label promotes locally-made brands that take pride in creating added value as well as promoting the Mauritian know-how and expertise. Ultimately “Polly Esther” aims at targeting the international market with its unique offer.

PROJECT PRESENTATION

Polly Esther is borrowing MUR750,000 to invest in newer, more precise fabric-cutting equipment. This investment is meant to enable Polly Esther’s artisans to further push the limits of their craftsmanship, make other creations possible to expand the brand’s existing range and reduce the amount of unusable waste fabric lost at the cutting stage. Furthermore, Polly Esther will acquire embroidering machinery to make it possible to customize figurines on request by customers and companies.

Through its crowdlending platform, Fundkiss is giving lenders an opportunity to invest in this company that specializes in locally-made souvenirs and is safeguarding Mauritian art and culture.

Key Loan Terms:
Amount: MUR750,000
Term: 60 months
Profile: Monthly Amortizing
Interest Rate: 13% per annum.

For an investment of MUR100,000, the monthly repayment to lenders will be MUR2,224.44.

To thank you all for your support and also for the trust you place in their project Polly Esther is giving each lender a customized plush toy as a token of their gratitude.

 

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KEY FIGURES

MUR 31/07/2019 31/12/2018
BALANCE SHEET (7 Months) (7 Months)
ASSETS
Non-Current Assets 2,571,463 1,410,872
Current Assets
Inventory 950,600 512,400
Cash 25,373 102,691
Account Receivables 521,225 521,225
Total Current Assets 1,497,198 1,136,316
Total Assets 4,068,661 2,547,188
EQUITY & LIABILITIES
Share Capital 500,000 500,000
Reserves 614,736 378,076
Total Equity 1,114,736 878,076
Non-Current Liabilities
Shareholders Loan 391,651 216,921
Obligations under Finance Lease 1,176,374 0
Total Non-Current Liabilities 1,568,025 216,921
Current Liabilities
Trade and Other Payables 1,385,900 1,452,191
Total Current Liabilities 1,385,900 1,452,191
Total Liabilities 2,953,925 1,669,,112
Total Equity & Liabilities 4,068,661 2,547,188
INCOME STATEMENT
Revenue 2,733,546 2,815,337
Cost of Sales (1,436,869) (1,496,013)
Gross Profit 1,296,677 1,319,324
Expenses (869,474) (635,684)
Other Income 151,791 0
EBITDA 578,994 683,640
Depreciation (295,109) (301,549)
EBIT 283,885 382,091
Finance Cost (47,225) (3,515)
Profit before Tax 236,660 378,576

THE TEAM

Marc Ducasse was a freelance salesman for many years, but his foray into entrepreneurship began when he and his wife opened a store together. Originally acting as coordinator for the production of plush toys, he has steered the company since its beginnings as a collective of artisans. He is now helped by his entire family, and most recently his son Matthieu, who studied business management and marketing, and has now committed himself to the family enterprise.

The entire team has grown in recent years, going from 7 employees, many of them machinists, to 18, including supervisory staff, drivers and sanitation. Recruitment is geared to prioritize people from Union Park so that Polly Esther can contribute directly and positively to the community. Workplace policy allows the artisans—all of them women—to be active in their families and the community even as they work, and they all receive training so as to safeguard the artistry of dollmaking in Mauritius.

Matthieu tells us more about his project and vision here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjsoWZ_og6s&feature=youtu.be

 

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