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Writing code to bring projects to life

After having worked at a large auditing firm, Antoine, a creative type in pursuit of meaningful work, decided to enroll at Le Wagon. He was determined to acquire the tech skills he needed to bring his personal projects to life.

Writing code to bring projects to life
Featuring graduate Antoine Coulaud Founder in WeDressFair More about Antoine
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A career that looked good on paper, but didn’t feel right

I graduated from business school, having majored in finance. As soon as I earned my diploma, I was already working for a big auditing firm where I not only did financial auditing  but accounting as well. Eventually, still at the same firm, I became a business consultant for entrepreneurs. That’s when I started rubbing shoulders daily with project leaders driven by a sense of purpose that they transmitted to their businesses — and it was that sense of purpose that was missing in my own life. It wasn’t long before I realized I had no desire to go to work in the mornings, and that I was actually searching for work that had, you guessed it, purpose. If I could give you a piece of advice, it would be that if you’re not excited to go to work when you wake up in the morning, then quit as soon as you can! It’s what I did, anyway. 

Questioning the world and looking for meaning

Can the planet survive our current rate of consumption? In my opinion, it can’t. We need to change our habits and be more responsible about what we consume, from food to fashion. Soon after I quit my job, I joined an organization called “I Boycott” that advocates responsible consumption. By changing our buying habits, we can change a lot in the world, especially considering that we’re 7 billion :)
My desire to be an entrepreneur grew stronger every day, but I felt like my academic background in finance, marketing, and management had prepared me for “support” roles, and not for launching my own business. I needed to learn how to create something concrete; to acquire real skills I could use to build my own projects. My first instinct was to teach myself HTML, CSS, and Javascript, but I needed to understand things deeper and faster. My second instinct was to find a training course that would teach me a maximum amount of skills in a minimum amount of time. I figured there was nothing better than a coding bootcamp to meet all my objectives.

 "My second instinct was to find a training course that would teach me a maximum amount of skills in a minimum amount of time."

Where to start? 

Thanks to an article about HEC’s partners, I discovered Le Wagon. I was especially drawn to their slogan: “Bringing tech skills to creative people”. It was everything I had been looking for to bring the projects I had in mind to life. For me, Le Wagon is a crash course in entrepreneurship. The last 15 days of the bootcamp are dedicated to building a web app. It’s during this time that my commitment to sustainable consumption and my newly acquired tech skills combined together. I realized that a curated site with all the best ethical and sustainable fashion brands didn’t exist, and that these brands weren’t getting the attention they deserved. My goal was to gather the best of these brands in one place, to shine a spotlight on them, and to provide consumers with a maximum amount of information: the impact of the raw materials used, manufacturing conditions, certifications...

"If you want to be an entrepreneur, Le Wagon’s program really gets you into the right mindset and helps you see the bigger picture for your product."

Le Wagon is an idea incubator

Second version of WeDressFair 

At Le Wagon, I learned that in web development, every problem has a solution, which  wasn’t something I believed before. In school, when we were told something was impossible, it was often the case — but for 9 weeks, Le Wagon reminded us to constantly test and iterate to find solutions to our problems. If you want to be an entrepreneur, Le Wagon’s program really gets you into the right mindset and helps you see the bigger picture for your product. We don’t just stop at building a website; I can discuss front-end development just as well as databases without feeling like I’m missing a piece of the puzzle. I understand how things work and how they relate to each other. If I hadn’t gone through Le Wagon, I wouldn’t have been able to launch WeDressFair, even if I had the idea and the financial means to work with developers or agencies, I wouldn’t have had the ability to objectively judge the capabilities of the people I’d work with. Learning to code has taught me to be autonomous, to continuously improve my product, and to be agile when relevant solutions are proposed. I was also fortunate to be supported by the Le Wagon community, especially another student from my batch and a teacher from Le Wagon Lyon (who ended up joining our team and is now CTO of WeDressFair). It’s a community of over 7,000 people and counting that you can rely on! 
I’m convinced that having tech skills is crucial in order to be capable of making relevant decisions about your product’s features. To resolve business matters, it’s important to speak the same language, so to speak. Today, we are supported by social and environmental impact project accelerator, Make Sense. Slowly but surely, our team is growing. We’re now 10 people, including Benoit and Anthony, two developers who also decided to change their lives by doing Le Wagon Lyon. We have just launched a second version of our website and it’s been 6 months since our brick and mortar store opened its doors. Our objective is to carry more and more ethical brands while ensuring that they meet our selection criteria. The ultimate goal is for WeDressFair to become its own quality certification. 
Today, I am proud and happy to be able to collaborate with others who want to make a positive impact in the world and are ready to take actions that have… purpose.

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