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I met Seva as she was coming to Paris for Sneakerness, if I’m not mistaken. We find ourselves not far from Sully Morland, where we decided to meet for a drink, at the time the sun was still shining brightly on the capital. At first, she had sent me an email to tell me about her big project: a company she created herself. We took advantage of her coming to Paris to meet and talk about it in person.

Seva lives in Quimper, a town of 70 000 people, in Brittany. She was born there, grew up there, and never moved from the city. “I have always lived in Brittany. Living in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages: when I go to the capital, the change is a little abrupt but after a while, I miss the calm of Brittany. It is often said that Bretons defend body and soul their regions, and that is for sure! I particularly love my city and my region, I even have a flag at home (laughs).” We also discuss the Vieilles Charrues festival, which takes place once a year in Brittany; to her, it is a kind of pilgrimage for people. “The biggest drawback, as in any small town, is in with development: there is always a lag time compared to big cities and trends take longer to come to us. But today, with the Internet and social media, we don’t feel it as much.”

Her name also has Breton origin: “I think it comes from the city of Sainte Sève, so Seva is the feminine for sève (sap). It’s a very unusual name, I met another girl named Seva once, when you’re used to always being the only one to wear a name it’s weird. Seva means ‘good health’, like good vibes, so I hope health would always be good!”

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Is she planning on staying in Quimper in the future? “I think I’m going to move. I would like to try out Rennes or Nantes if my project takes off. Quimper is cool but too quiet: when I want to go to clubs, I’m forced to go to Nantes or Rennes, which are larger cities, closer to the capital but not far from my family. I would not be too far, like to the other side of France or in the South, but it would allow me to move around. Quimper is a nice city but one has explored all its options very quickly.”

Seva became interested in sneakers 4-5 years ago in high school and fell into it little by little. “I started like everyone else with super basic pairs like Stan Smith, Roshe Run, etc. My “revelation” pair is an Asics Gel Lyte 5 Volcano by Ronnie Fieg  that I found really beautiful. I usually go with my gut and budget: I buy one to two pairs a year so I am far from hoarding hundreds of pairs each year. This year, I bought the Converse Golf Le Fleur and the Nike Air Max Sean Witherspoon.”

“A few years ago, I was looking for a pair of Nike Flyknit Racer but it was only available in the United States and for men, so it was impossible to find them. It is at that moment that I begin to think of a site that could reference all the offers of all the different retailers and facilitate the research process. I simply experienced the problem firsthand”. This is how Seva, a comparison shopping website for sneakers and street wear, was born. The young woman has also expanded the project in a media where she tells the story of street wear lovers like Anthony Suzon (photographer), CamXV (illustrator) or even more recently Yanis who created CDR Clothing.

At the end of the first year of her technology degree, she discovers the student-entrepreneur status, which allows you to combine studies with your business project. The following year, she is granted the status by the Ministry of National Education and thus integrates the Pepite Bretagne network. “This status allowed me to access my first professional network, to have a tutor who follows my project and who supports me: when you are alone to create a project and you do not know where you are going it’s cool to have a roadmap to keep you on the right track. Finally, the status allowed me to do my internship at the end of the technology degree in my own company: I spent 2 months at home writing a business plan, marketing … at the end of this period, I had to go before a jury to expose all my work.” After this “internship”, she finally launched the company in September 2017 and, with the help of a web developer, the website was born at the end of 2017.

Beside her company, Seva has been playing piano for 11 years now, and fencing since her childhood. “The piano is a way for me to concentrate. I love basic music and being able to play film music and “neoclassical” music like Yann Tiersen or Ludovico Einaudi, which I love. You’re all in, you feel the music and it’s an amazing feeling that I love. Fencing is totally different: for shy people like me, it allows you to express yourself, to open up to others and to gain self-confidence. You apply strategies, you must be able to react quickly, think quickly and keep a cool head. I’ve been doing it for 16 years and I intend to do it all my life, maybe, it’s a sport that completes me, where I can let off steam and work on my body.”

These activities but also entering graduate school and carrying a project allowed her to open up and be much less introverted. “The project gave me a lot of self-confidence, it gave me something I could invest in. Believing in something that I did myself opened a lot of doors but also opened myself to others. In middle-school, I was very shy: I did not feel particularly good about myself, other people mocked me a little, and even a simple oral was an ordeal to me. In high school, I had a good group of friends who helped me open up a little, and finally in higher education, it is this project that helped me become much more sociable.”

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Where does she see herself in 5 years? “I hope that I am still the head of my company, whether we are a small team in Nantes or Paris, and that we can offer more than price comparison. I do not want too much hierarchy, but more like a team in sport where everyone has their role to play and we are all united by our passion for sneakers. It’s a question I don’t really like answering because I’m not necessarily sure of anything.”

I think a real girl is a girl who does not get worked up, who does not care about diktats, about being judged, and does whatever she wants to do. She lives her passions without wondering what others think. A Real Girl does not judge on mere appearance, she is very attentive towards her family and the people she meets. I also think that she does not feel compelled to act in such a way because she is a woman. A real girl is unique.

translated by Lucie