Jean-Marie de Saint Ange is one of those creative, talented and pragmatic young entrepreneurs that we like to meet. After having earned his stipes in styling and fashion in Paris, he created a line of top-of-the-range uniforms, intended for luxury Hotels, and made top-of-the-range service rhyme with elegance. Convinced by the quality and style of its uniforms, the Plaza Athénée Paris becomes its first customer. In the space of 6 years, « Saint Ange Uniforme » became the supplier of the Hyatt Group, the Dorchester Collection and the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
In 2015, he sold the uniform branch to the Servi Group, a European company specialized in hotel supplies, and a year later founded the pharmaceutical laboratories EdelweissLab in Valais, Switzerland.
Focus on this discreet but sparkly entrepreneur.
What are your new projects?
I am currently working on a collection of M/F ready-to-wear and accessories under the “Maison de couture Saint Ange” brand. The idea is to remain faithful to the markers that made the identity and success of the brand, and to evolve towards timeless cuts with always the same care given to the choice of materials and the manufacturing quality.
A second project close to my heart is to transcribe someday the incredible adventure on which I embarked 8 years ago to found EdelweissLab ®. The pharmaceutical industry was an unknown sector for me at the start. In wanting to enter it, I met eccentric, non-conformist and often providential persons to help me carry out my project. My story is the result of a combination of personalities with extraordinary career paths and a succession of unpredictable anecdotes that led me to where I am today. A testimony of which I have kept images, writings, videos… The format remains to be defined.
Between your beginnings in fashion, then in prestigious hotel uniforms and currently in the pharmaceutical industry, where do you find yourself most and why?
I believe that it is new challenges that inspire me and the encounters they bring about. A judicious concept, driven by the strong ambition to have an impact, to offer an unexpected response to the needs of the market, whatever it may be.
Finally, I find myself where there is heart, and mine often guides my choices and discerns my priorities.
What did you learn from each of these different experiences?
I learned that the journey matters and that it brings you just as much as reaching the objective. What you will have to come up with to overcome an obstacle, the skills that you will have to bring together in a team to achieve the impossible, the perseverance and the humility to learn from your mistakes, as on the path of life finally.
“What victory does not have its share of unfathomable mystery”. Alone in your office, when the idea of a new project germinates, you consider multiple scenarios but nothing goes as planned and that’s what makes the project magical. I often had the feeling I could count on Providence that guides you with benevolence. If you succeed great! You were at the right place, but if you don’t make it, it means it is for the better, that something else awaits you elsewhere. Paradoxically, failure can bring you a lot if you accept them as an opportunity to change, to question yourself again and again.
Ultimately, it is each time about human adventures rather than entrepreneurial experiences.
You are part of the high French aristocracy. Why did you choose to live in Switzerland?
I am infinitely grateful to Providence for coming from what one might call a « good » family, but at heart I am a simple person, who likes real relationships with authentic people, and my father has always taken care that I don’t just rest on the comfort of my origins.
It matters little to me, I am one of those who respect the human being for his courage and his infinite talents, the surprises and the light that resides deep in everyone when the persona is put aside and that we step back a little from the “masked ball” that social events can sometimes become. I like people who shine for who they are and what they do rather than the often dull appearances of where they come from.
The new aristocracy is no longer that of blue-blood but that of having the courage to fight for noble modern causes, commitment and sincerity in a world that tends to fall apart.
I fell like this is what I found in Switzerland, a way of life, a raw beauty, an unsuspected originality, taste for independence and tradition. And Valais, where I have been living since 2012, is a small paradise on earth, with its majestic mountains, its powerful nature and above all, the authentic warmth and simplicity of the Valaisans. From Valais emanates an atmosphere of wisdom and strength, a double dynamic conductive to work. Switzerland is an infinite source of inspiration for me. Without Switzerland and the serenity it gives me, I would never have been able to carry out all my projects.
Switzerland is my country today and will be the one of my future children and grandchildren.
How do you find France today?
France is the country of the Revolution, a word that I don’t like but from which I keep above all its main meaning of cycles, alternation, rotation and if times seem dark, sad and not to favor the growth of young talents, I know that the spirit of French excellence, with its splendor and energy, will return when the time is right and the country regains its splendor.
What inspires and motivates you?
Understanding, meeting, exchanging, sharing, admiring, travelling and above all: being surprised! I am someone interested in the others and what surrounds me.
Your most beautiful memory
A 9-days trek in the Negev desert while fasting. By following the footsteps of the Hebrews guided by Moses and nourished by manna, this introspective journey allowed me to draw the strength and dynamism I have instilled in my company.
Your greatest pride
To have been able to make thousands of smokers stop smoking and to have participated in their well-being and their health of tomorrow.
Terre d’Hermès by the great Jean-Claude Ellena. Raw, elegant and sober with a scent from elsewhere.
A decorative atmosphere
A mix of ultra modern architecture and antiques.
An unforgettable memory
My first solo plane flight.
How do you define yourself?
I am a man of contrasts, a creative but realistic dreamer, and often a catalyst for synergistic encounters that go beyond the simple addition of talents.
I strongly believe in the infinite resource of imagination. As Albert Einstein said: « Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we know, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand « .
What does fame mean to you?
Recognition of the work accomplished but with the necessary humility to not to be dazzled by its blind enticement.
I leave Glory to God
Not having a phone, emails, social networks. To be with your family, go to bed early, eat healthy and sleep well.
It is everywhere, provided you look further than the tip of her nose. What’s more beautiful than a starry sky?
Contemplating those I love when they smile and feeling they are happy, sheltered from the contigencies of life, from the hassles of everyday life.
Hymn of the Cherubim by Tchaikovsky.
A cult movie
Braveheart starring Mel Gibson is definitely the movie I’ve watched the most in my life. For the honor that emanates from it, its courage, faith, determination and its “Freedom! « .
Your favorite dish
I love everything, especially the raclette!
A good little wine from Valais.
A fashion style
Casual but chic, cashmere jacket from Holland & Sherry, a Zadig corduroy trousers, silver YSL sneakers, From Future turtleneck and Vynil Factory sunglasses.
One of the reasons I love the Valais which is so dear to me: Snowboarding… excessively, but also target shooting and stunt flying.
Airplane piloting. I am qualified level « mountain ».
A way to get away
To hit the road, with good music and good company.
The city that makes you dream
Rome, for the soul that emanates from it, its millenary history that you can touch with your fingertips, the magical mixt of sublime ancient stones and the very particular rhythm of la dolce vita.
Idleness, where and when ?
I sometimes find it difficult to remain inactive, but I can dream of a Sunday afternoon strolling on a Valais bisse or a mountain path… Always the mountains, always Switzerland.
A successful vacation
In southern Corsica in a property that remained wild, passed on to me by my paternal grandfather, Julien, with whom I shared a great bond and lived alongside for almost 14 years. Everything is there, nature, the sea, orchards of orange and lemon trees. To recharge your batteries, it’s the perfect balance between telluric force and tranquility. I am so grateful to my grandfather for passing on this unique and priceless piece of land to me. I hope one day to transmit it to my childrens.
An escape for two
The Hotel Chetzeron in Crans-Montana, of course! To delight in alpine cuisine and love at 2112 meters above sea level, that’s the seventh heaven!
Something to boost morale
Talking to my Mother… My “Wonder”, my Mother keeps watch, again and again. I can only capitalize her.
A bedside book
Vouloir c’est pouvoir by Raymond Hull
A work of art
The poetry of Raphaël Ritz’s work, his color palette, it’s light. His “Matterhorn” from 1882 and his “Mineraloge” a year later overwhelm me.
Hans Zimmer, we owe him those monuments of film music: Gladiator, Mission, Dune…
A simple life… I don’t lose hope of getting it
Having too many… In particular not having traveled around the world yet; Time passes so fast.
Change my life
I practice it every day…
To find myself in control of a fighter plane and go into the stratosphere to see Earth’s curvature and the starry immensity.
What is perfect happiness according to you?
Perfection not being of this world, it is best to aspire to simple happiness, I would say to be with your family.
What have you done best?
My level on « Candy crush »
What do you hate most of all?
Lying , betrayal and injustice.
First morning pleasure
Turn off this « Sonar » ringtone on my Iphone. Sonar is that diabolical invention that detects diving submarines and now diving sleepers…
The last activity of the day
Browse through news sites
A way to relax
To roar with laughter as San Antonio, another Swiss by adoption, says.
The main quality you like in a woman
A triptych of graces: Charm, intelligence, humor. In fact, the three are inseparable.
Feminine beauty is a living picture… Beyond beauty which fades with time, charm never disappears.
My great-uncle, Léon Bourjade, authentic hero of the 14-18 war, fighter pilot, ace with 86 aerial victories. His specialty was shooting down German observation balloons called « Drachen ». At altitude he would cut the engines of his plane, fall like a dead leaf without making a sound, fire at the « Drachen » with his machine gun, turn on the engines and resume his flight. He had 27 homologated victories over the « Drachen ».
No other pilot has achieved such a feat which required a lot of courage, self-control and without a doubt, a particular Protection… The free fall was a terrible ordeal for the whole organism, restarting the engines was not always easy and regaining control of the aircraft and escaping without being shot was a miracle each time.
The enemy balloons were obviously protected from the ground by a whole artillery of machine guns and cannons.
He became a missionary and died at age 33 in Papua, dedicating his life to the poor.
A man to admire
A man precisely … with his genius and his flaws: Elon Musk
If there is no god but God, my idol without question is my remarkable phenomenon of sister Stéphanie de Saint Léon.
« In hoc signo Vinces! » » I leave it to you to translate.
Nadine Fayad Comair