Gérald, Product Developer at Horse Pilot
Horse Pilot Team will soon have no more secrets for you. It is Gérald’s turn, Product Developer at Horse Pilot, to answer our questions.
Hi, I’m Gerald! I am 36 and I come from Réunion island. I’ve traveled a lot across France since I left my homeland after high school (Île-de-France, Normandy, Brittany, Haute-Savoie). A year ago, I finally settled down in Hérault, near Montpellier (South of France), to join the Horse Pilot adventure.
Concerning my studies, I spent a lot of years studying (maybe too much…). I mainly studied in scientific courses, but to shrink the story a bit I got a diploma in health field. So, nothing to do with the textile industry. Then I realized that taking care of health issues all day long wasn’t what I wanted to do.
As I am fond of running, outdoors sports, equipment and technical innovations, I had the opportunity to have work experience in the sport industry as a salesman – a specialized counselor, particularly in running and trail running. First in a small specialized shop in Paris 12, right at the entrance to Lake Daumesnil. I have learnt a lot there thanks to the manager of the shop, who was an amazing person who knew how to pass me down her passion of trail and who supported me to follow the career I’m in today. Then, I entered a major French retailer and after that I worked for a large international brand with 3 bands with a short-term contract.
Thanks to these work experiences, I had the click for my retraining. I truly loved my experience in shops : sharing my passion and my knowledge with the customers, seeing their satisfaction as they were well advised and most of all to see the same passion in their eyes or their excitement at the idea of trying their new equipment. However I’m a meticulous person and I am often dissatisfied with the equipment and material offered on the market of the sports I love. I always think they can be improved. Therefore, I had the ambition to work in something linked with the design of sport products. As the adage says : if you want something done right, do it yourself!
This is why I decided to go back to school in 2019 to enter the Performance Sports Textile & Footwear Bachelor at the IUT in Annecy, which is called OSDD today. My goal was to become a Product manager and/or Product developer. I joined Horse Pilot for my final internship to work on a project with my collaborator Chiara. A year ago, I officially became a Pilot after I graduated.
Your role at horse pilot
I am a Product Developer and I am partly responsible for the research part but I’m most of all in charge of the development. My missions are varied :
I take part in the design and creation of the products working with Lionnel, Developer and Pattern Maker, Emilie : Designer, Chiara : Product Manager and Guillaume : Sales & Product Manager.
When we start creating a product, Emilie brings us her inspirations, the trends, the color ranges and she gives us some design proposals according to the design brief created by Chiara and Guillaume. Then we make changes – or not – to begin the creation of the first prototypes.
- When we receive the prototypes, I’m in charge of the quality check (measuring process, material check, accessories, printing, assemblies and finishing touches)
- I organize the fittings to verify the size volume, the cut, the ergonomics, the comfort, …;
- I’m also responsible for the field tests with athletes to approve the use of the products and find out what can be improved (observation, users comments, wear testing, …)
- After all these stages, I update all of the technical files, also called “tech packs”, according to all the changes made on the prototypes and this until we get the final result that will be produced in the factory.
Of course, the most stimulating and laborious task among these is to find solutions to the issues that occur during the development stage when a product does not match our expectation (whether it’s on its design or its use).
As soon as I can, I love doing some research to keep me updated on what’s on the market but also on innovation, whatever the sport is but most of all on outdoors sports.
your relationship to horseback riding
I really like this sport but I am not a rider. Although I love horses and animals in general, I don’t have any real experience with horse riding apart from some horse trails for pleasure. My first memory on a horse back was when I was 8. We wanted to do a family horse trail but I did not dare to handle the reins as I was scared to hurt the horse. So, before the departure and as the instructor was not there yet, my horse simply went back to its stall and people looked for me for a while in the stables…. In addition to the trail, I practice cycling a lot and my bike is called “ Petit Tonnerre” ( “Little Thunder”, Yakari’s generation we’re here!)
your passion for sports
I practice running and cycling a lot. During the weekend, I often go out because I like hiking. The place to be in the area is, of course, the ‘Pic Saint-Loup’. A little advice: if you want to go there someday and you are not afraid of heights, the best way to climb up is to go through the west crest. The practice of these sports is also for me the opportunity to test our prototypes/products outside the equestrian context and to assess the extent of use. These outdoors sports bring me a feeling of escape, wellness and mental balance, most of all on mountains or in the woods, without anyone around. Sometimes, I also love pushing my physical limits beyond and going out of my comfort zone. There’s nothing better to feel ‘alive’.
your favorite horse pilot outfit
My favorite product is not out yet but I do know that it’ll be a must have. Otherwise, the Atlas polo and the Essential jacket are real technical basics in my opinion!
your inspiring quote
A classical saying: “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing”.
In my case, the limit to my outdoor excursion are the storm and the risk of catching lightning.
your favorite sounds
I’ll make you a selection of music that makes you want to move, right?
- Bruno Mars – Uptown funk
- PZK – Chuis Bo !
- Halsey – 3am
- Tones and I – Dance Monkey
- Wyn Starks – Circles
You can discover them in the playlist Team Horse Pilot on Spotify.
Many thanks to Gérald for this interview. A new presentation is coming soon 😊