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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 01 Oct 2009
SANDRINE FANCHETTE

Born in the year 1970 in Britanny, France. Sandrine was the only child of Claude and Monique David. Her early years were spent mostly in France, but at the age of eighteen she left for university in Barcelona, Spain to study Marketing and International business. The desire to do an MBA took her half way around the world to San Francisco in California, where she met Bernard, a Mauritian and fellow MBA student and the man she fell in love with.

Work took Bernard back home to Mauritius, where he was employed in the tourism industry and a month later Sandrine followed. Her first job was as a marketing manager for a textile company and during the next three years the young couple married. In 1998 Bernard's work for  Happy World took them to Madagascar, where Sandrine became financial director for a large textile company and later advanced her career in marketing further, working for Demad.

During their nine years in Madagascar their daughters Morgane and Ambre were born and though they  loved life on that large island, in 2005 Bernard's career with Courts prompted yet another move. This time to Bali, a much smaller island in Indonesia.

For the first time since graduating, Sandrine now found herself without a full time job. She enjoyed the company of her young daughters and had the time and opportunity to put her long time passion for cooking to good use and so began culinary classes at home, once per week, for the Bali International School and the Bali International Women's Association.

Their time in Bali was relatively brief, lasting just over two years and in 2007 the family moved back to Mauritius. Bernard's fifteen or so years of experience working in retail and Sandrine's marketing skills were now put to the test, and within a few months they opened their own furniture store – Vivere Living – in Grand Bay, selling both indoor and outdoor furniture.

The business proved to be very successful and in 2008 they opened another shop in Emerald Park- Trianon. As testimony to their hard work and entrepreneurship, they recently moved to larger, six thousand square feet premises, in order to keep up with demand.

Vivere Living imports about ninety five percent of its products, bedroom-ware such as mattresses and pillows come from Singapore, sofas and chairs from Malaysia, China and Singapore and accessories and other decorations from Indonesia, China and Madagascar. Many products also come from Vietnam and customers can place special orders for unique items from Europe. The quality of the goods is excellent, made in many cases from one hundred percent leather and in wood veneers like oak and walnut.

Sandrine and Bernard believe strongly in good customer service and not only train their sales staff, but also provide an installation service for the products they sell, employing twenty staff in total. Their reputation for service and quality has enabled them to work closely with interior decorators and architects on villas and apartments and work with the IRS/RES schemes has become a growth market for them. They also supply local hotels and have exported to private customers in the Seychelles and Reunion.

But it is not all about work! Sandrine still enjoys cooking and she and six of her friends have formed a club in the Grand Bay area “Les Toquees de l’Ile Maurice”. They visit local restaurants and spend time with the Chef, learning new skills and recipes. Sandrine also enjoys yoga, which is perhaps why there is a large stone statue of Buddha, weighing almost a ton, situated in the entrance to her shop, and yes, you can buy it.

In the future Sandrine hopes to make her business even more successful and has tentative plans to open stores abroad. For the time being however, she is happy being a wife, business woman and mother, and providing the best service that she can to her customers.

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