Setting Sail with Success: An Interview with Elodie Le Blevenec
For the past three years, Elodie Le Blevenec has been ardently managing the La Rochelle agency of Sevenstar Yacht Transport.
Her deep connection with yachting began at a young age. Born in Saint-Nazaire, she set sail at the age of 5 and spent her formative years in various coastal regions across the globe. Her surname hints at her Breton heritage. After successfully completing her bachelor's degree and pursuing studies in economics at university, she further honed her expertise by delving into business within the nautical sector. Her dedication paid off with a degree in nautical business management.
Immediately following her graduation, she embarked on a journey that included roles in boat sales and rentals, ultimately obtaining her skipper certification. Her maiden professional voyage led her to La Rochelle, where she joined a company specializing in sea excursions. Subsequently, she ventured to Australia and the West Indies and even co-founded a charter company in Sri Lanka with her husband. "I've always done this; it's all I know and love," she shares passionately about her career.
In 2017, after several years abroad, Elodie and her family returned to France and chose La Rochelle as their mooring. She contributed her expertise to Dream Yacht Charter for two years before assuming a role at Neel Trimarans, where she played a pivotal role in expanding the dealer network. In 2020, Sevenstar recognized her talents and recruited her to oversee the newly established agency in La Rochelle. The company, a French subsidiary of a Dutch conglomerate, had exclusively operated in Lorient previously but decided to establish a presence on the Atlantic coast, with La Rochelle as the natural choice. "The move to La Rochelle made perfect sense," confirms Elodie Le Blevenec, as the town serves as a significant logistics hub in France.
The lion's share of the French marine industry resides within a 200-kilometer radius of La Rochelle. This strategic location facilitates a seamless export process for the 90-95% of yachts constructed in these shipyards destined for various global destinations, including the United States, Mediterranean countries, Asia, the Seychelles, and more. "Previously, Sevenstar Yacht Transport arranged five or six stopovers annually departing from La Rochelle. Since the beginning of the year, we've executed thirteen shipments, a testament to the potential that exists here," elucidates Elodie Le Blevenec. She also diligently attends boat shows both in France and around the world to establish connections with potential partners and promote her services from La Rochelle.
Photo credits © Thierry Rambaud / PALR.
To foster business growth, Elodie initially activated her professional networks. Her client base comprises 90% professionals, including boatyards and dealers, and 10% private individuals seeking to transport their vessels from locales such as Polynesia or the West Indies. Sevenstar Yacht Transport caters to a wide range of yacht types and sizes, encompassing not only yachts but also racing yachts, military vessels, and service boats such as barges. "Customers desire a safe experience, complete with a dedicated point of contact. Having previously worked in a shipyard, I can easily empathize with their needs and offer tailored solutions," she adds.
Embedded within the marine industry ecosystem, Sevenstar Yacht Transport relies on the Dutch shipowner Spliethoff, of which it is a subsidiary. With an extensive company-owned fleet of 120 vessels, Sevenstar Yacht Transport possesses the agility to adapt swiftly to fluctuating market dynamics. Presently, the La Rochelle agency operates a regular service to the United States, serving Baltimore and Palm Beach, with monthly sailings. Establishing a consistent service demanded substantial effort, entailing shifts in established practices, forward-looking strategies, and rigorous demand forecasting. For customers, this consistency translates into enhanced visibility and fare predictability. Moreover, achieving this level of success necessitates collaboration with other entities operating within the port. Thus, Elodie Le Blevenec opted to join the Union Maritime, positioning herself at the core of the ecosystem. "We represent a pivotal link within a vast chain that encompasses numerous skilled individuals. It's genuinely exhilarating! Despite frequent attendance at the port during loading operations, I continue to make new discoveries," she shares with an infectious smile.
Elodie Le Blevenec's daily motivation stems from her unwavering commitment to continuous learning, innovative problem-solving, route expansion, environmental considerations, and the anticipation of evolving customer requirements. "My days are packed and ever-evolving," she concludes with a grin.
Photo credits © Thierry Rambaud / PALR.