A year after On Purpose: where are they now? With Victoire Guyot

Victoire Guyot case study headshot

A year after completing the On Purpose Programme, we catch up with our April 2020 Fellows to find out what they are up to these days. Today we speak to Victoire Guyot.

Can you tell me about your background and your career prior to On Purpose?

I’m originally from France and so before joining On Purpose as an Associate, I was working in Paris in the cosmetics industry. I specialised in marketing & communications and was focused on product development and marketing at L'Oréal Paris. 

How did you feel in your work before you decided to make a change?

I enjoyed my day to day work. It was a creative job in that I had to come up with creative ideas to develop and market a product. I also liked working with the majority of my team. However, I wasn't enjoying the purpose and the end goal of my work, which I was very aware of. I thought to myself: “This is going to give me the skills I need and want, however I don’t really support the work.” I didn’t want to push products that people didn't need but wanted to do something that would have an impact. In a way, I always knew I wanted more purpose from my work.

It's been one year since you completed the Associate Programme. What are you doing now?

I’ve launched my own company, Collection 40, which is a second-hand online fashion business. Our mission is to convert people from fast fashion and buying their clothes first-hand, to second-hand fashion. For instance, did you know that in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, 1 out of 5 pieces of clothing should be bought second-hand? Through buying and selling their clothes with Collection 40, we want to help people save their clothes and repurpose them. Furthermore, through our logistics partner Arès, we employ people who have been out of work, such as migrants, people with disabilities or women who have been out of work for a long time.We also support approximately 40 French charities. Every time someone sells their clothes to us, we give them a voucher for donation to the charity of their choice. 

I always knew I wanted to do something more purpose-led and being on the On Purpose Associate Programme really helped me figure out what that could be. During my first placement I realised that I needed higher levels of creativity in my day to day work. I also noticed that I wanted to be at the ‘centre of action’, so really in the midst of it all and I realised that I struggled with the hierarchy of business. So at the time, I was already playing with the idea of creating my own business and, upon completion of the Associate Programme, just went for it and decided to build one myself. 

Why did you join the On Purpose Associate Programme?

I had actually known about the Associate Programme for about a year before I applied. I was looking for a way to transition into a purpose-led job, however I felt that doing it by myself would be quite hard. The jobs I was looking at didn't quite fit my profile and I didn't have a network in the space. I felt that On Purpose would be a good way to get to know the sector. I furthermore appreciated that the programme allows you to be part of a group of people who you could share your experiences with. Everyone has very similar values and is kind of going through the same thing. I was also really excited about the learning and development part of the programme, such as having access to coaching and continuously learning new things.

Can you tell me more about your placements?

My first placement was at Dot Dot Dot Property Guardians, which is an organisation that provides safe, inexpensive housing to property guardians who volunteer for good causes. The idea is to give people with small salaries a place to live centrally, while giving landlords a way of protecting and  maintaining their property. As the organisation’s Marketing Manager, I was leading a team of two people to increase the business’ public visibility and exposure.

My second placement was at Samaritans, a charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. Here, I was part of the organisation's Innovation Team and worked on diversifying Samaritans’ income streams.

What’s the most important thing you learnt during your year as an Associate?

Two things: Firstly, as I started my journey as an Associate at the start of a global pandemic, I learnt to appreciate that life is short. The pandemic really made me realise my own mortality and being on the Associate Programme reinforced the fact that I simply had to do something that I truly enjoyed.

Secondly, I learnt that there’s much more to being happy at work than just purpose. When you find purpose in your job, being happy at work is a mix of things: purpose is one (very important!) thing. However, your responsibilities and the people you work with are another. 

What support did you get along the way?

I got lots of support along the way. My coach was just great and really supported the work on myself. My mentor really helped guide me through my placements. Overall, the Associate Programme provided me with such a friendly environment. The core team as well as my cohort were always happy to share and learn from each other. 

How did you approach finding a job after the programme?

Towards the end of the programme I knew that I wasn't looking for a job but wanted to build my own social business, so I was busy planning away on its creation. However, if i hadn't decided to go down that route, I would have probably applied for a position with Samaritans, as I really enjoyed working with them.

What advice would you give to others in a similar situation?

Honestly just go for it! The On Purpose website is pretty clear on the people they are looking for and what you need to become an Associate. If you feel that you are ticking some of the boxes, just go for it. 

What do you miss about your old career, and what don’t you miss?

I miss my salary and the stability that goes with being an employee. 

However I don't miss anything else. I now feel that I'm doing something very positive and impactful for society and that is what matters most. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My breakfast and a nice coffee. And also definitely my purpose and what I'm trying to achieve with Collection 40. The positive impact my social business is having on the world and the movement and company I'm building is giving me lots of energy.