This month, it’s all about one of HORSE PILOT founders, Guillaume Janin. A hyperactive sportaholic, Guillaume used to work for ASICS. He manages to balance a passion inherited from his family with a fulfilling professional career.
Guillaume Janin: Portrait
I’m 34, married with 2 small daughters. After a brief stint off-course in Agriculture, I did an MBA in Pau in order to be able to live my passion for horse eventing with Xavier Labaisse during my studies. At the same time, I was giving ski lessons in Pyrénées ski resorts… At the end of my studies, I went off for a year in Australia to practice surfing. There I had great and varied experiences; I came back more mature, I had become an adult. I also spent 6 months in England at the house of a professional Eventing horse rider: I wanted to see if I really had the potential to make a living in the world of horse riding… But I felt I would do better somewhere else. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but I needed something different. I therefore worked for different sport equipment companies, in Products and Sales management.
Then, I had the luck to land a job at ASICS. I started as a technical representative in charge of staff training in shops, then I became a salesman, and was later on given the opportunity to manage the “lifestyle” brand. Finally, I was promoted to key accounts management, like Go Sport, Courir, Spartoo … It was a great experience in terms of getting to know the Sport market but also about product expertise.
I still benefit from it now at Horse Pilot. I think they are a model in terms of product technology, customer loyalty building, and particularly the humble and respectful way they manage shops….ASICS is a Japanese brand: they taught me how to work thoroughly and with care. The way they develop products from athletes’ experiences or requests has directly inspired us at Horse Pilot. I joined the Horse Pilot adventure as a partner in 2012; Aurélien, its founder, is a childhood friend.
From one horse team to the next, from Pau to Australia…
“I felt I would do better somewhere else”
Horse riding and you
Tell us about your relationship to horses and to the horse riding world: how long have you been immersed in this community? Where did it come from? Have you been a competitor – are you still one?
I’ve been riding since I was a child. Very early, I turned to eventing, undoubtedly because of the adrenaline shot it gives you. And also I wanted to follow my older brother’s steps, who I deeply admired! For me Eventing is a sport in which you and your horse really share the same emotions: fear, excitement, concentration, pushing your limits…. And joy! Especially when you finish a rather technical cross-country race. This is where I revealed myself, I often did the best times….at the cost of prudence sometimes! Now I am a partner in my brother’s stables in Montpellier. I still ride but I don’t have enough time for competition. I enjoy watching and following my wife (an amateur horse rider) and my brother on the horse show jumping competitions. I’m no longer ‘on’ a horse but ‘behind’ one: with a cleaning rag or a pair of spurs in hand! Competing again is not on my agenda for the moment.
I ride to test our products prototypes and make sure they are comfortable and up to our performance expectations. I also have the garments tested by horse riders, get their feedback, evaluate material strength, and organize extreme conditions simulations!
What about sport?
Do you practice another sport? Which one, why, what does it bring you?
I am a sport addict. For me, and probably for everyone I think, Sport is essential! More than pushing your limits, it allows us to be true to important values we believe in: humbleness, team spirit, respect of the rules… I do at least one hour of sport every day- mainly crossfit- and my favourite sports are skiing and kitesurfing. A part of Horse Pilot product development is carried out in Annecy, the other part in Montpellier, which is perfect for me! I go kitesurfing when the weather is right… and skiing when I’m in the Alps for my job. We follow closely what is being done in other sports in terms of innovation: we must stay tuned to other activities. I wear our products on ski slopes, it helps product development.
Finally, with Aurélien Guillon, we have been training to take part in rather extreme raids for about a year: it’s our sport challenge for the time being, beside what Horse Pilot’s daily growth demands from all of us.
“We follow closely what is being done in other sports in terms of innovation”
What is your favourite HP product?
All of them of course, I develop them, they are like my children! Actually I always prefer those which have not been developed yet. If I must choose, I would say the STORM or ELEMENT jackets. STORM has everything: it’s warm, breathable, comfortable and stylish: I wear it in town. ELEMENT is a Must Have… It’s a highly technical garment: light, waterproof, it adapts to temperature variations…. Every detail is important. And it can easily be worn with other garments.
Any last word?
“DETAILS MAKE PERFECTION AND PERFECTION IS NOT A DETAIL” Léonard de Vinci
Time is well spent if it is on useful things, or things you can be proud of. Moreover, know yourself well in order to do well the things you like. Work with people that can bring out the best in you. It is the case with my partners but also with the team at Horse Pilot. They are much better than me, they drive me to better myself.