Oustao, the story of two entrepreneurs returning home to build a successful company in Provence

success story
Oustao, the story of two entrepreneurs returning home to build a successful company in Provence
Laura Fabregue and Léa Dermardirossian, co-founders of the Oustao brand
01 August 2023 / Start your business

The brand is redefining interior design with the art of Mediterranean ceramics.

Just as the Covid period was reaching its height in March 2021, two entrepreneurs from the town of La Ciotat outside of Marseille made the bold decision to launch Oustao, a home furnishing brand inspired by the charms of the Mediterranean. The company’s co-founders, Laura Fabregue and Léa Dermardirossian, studied at business schools in Bordeaux and Toulouse and then worked internationally and in Paris before fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams in the place they grew up. Passionate about artisanal products and ceramics, their company offers a range of exclusive items that combine authentic Mediterranean traditions with a touch of modernity. Their creative effervescence and the business support they received in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area proved to be a winning combination and paved the way for the success of their project.

Incubated by the Business Nursery, which is part of the Kedge Business School start-up program in Marseille, Oustao is now thriving thanks to its specialized range of ceramic tableware and interior design objects.

Initially manufactured in local workshops in the South of France, Oustao has gradually increased its production capacity by partnering with family-run workshops in Portugal, which is enabling the company to meet growing demand.

Marseille: a welcoming network for entrepreneurs

Aix-Marseille metro area provided a wealth of support opportunities to boost their business. From the outset, they were supported by the Initiative Marseille entrepreneurial association, which provided them with an unsecured loan. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Aix-Marseille-Provence then helped with accounting and legal aspects for the company while Provence Promotion provided important business consulting and guidance.

Artisanal skills are central to Oustao’s philosophy. Each piece is carefully crafted and painted by hand, which gives their products a unique and authentic touch. Oustao’s collections evolve regularly and offer a variety of glazes, colors, and forms while always preserving a vibrant Mediterranean character.

Initially launched online for a retail clientele, the brand quickly gained popularity with interior designers and design professionals, including such prestigious names as Sophie Ferjani and the Good Design Store. Oustao is also available in major department stores in France, such as the BHV Marais in Paris. While 90% of the company’s clients are concentrated in the professional market, notably concept stores and interior decorating boutiques, Oustao also participates in B2C events such as Vivre Côté Sud lifestyle fair in Aix-en-Provence andregularly opens pop-up stores to stay in direct contact with its retail customers.

Oustao is now aiming for international success

Oustao is thriving because of its continuous focus on new creations. Each year, the brand launches two major collections, and they then add small creative “capsules” to these collections based on their inspirations. The company’s range of products has recently been expanded to include lighting fixtures by developing a line of pendant lights and lamps in collaboration with a local designer.

The entrepreneurs now operate out of the Investone coworking space in La Ciotat. While they have outsourced certain tasks such as logistics and business development, most of their products are still designed internally.

In just one year, Oustao has managed to secure 80 distributors. Their objective is to double this number by targeting the French market but also through plans to expand into Europe and the United States. Their success has been noted by leading magazines such as Elle and Marie Claire and the company is aiming to strengthen its team by hiring marketing staff.

Beyond their commercial success, Laura, who now manages the brand alone, and Léa, who remains very close to the project as an associate, aspire to make Provence and the Mediterranean shine through their brand. Their photo shoots are carried out in the region and they spotlight glorious natural settings or unique locations. Their passion for the Mediterranean is reflected in each of their creations, making Oustao a true ode to the Mediterranean art of living.