Portrait de Valérie dans Les Echos

Portrait of Valérie in Les Echos

Our pack leader is honored in Les Echos this 7/09/2022

After an early career in events, Valérie Maumon converted to sled dog racing, becoming an entrepreneur by creating the brand of food supplements for dogs Element.vet. By Henri de Lestapis

Valérie Maumon awaits the first flakes of winter like others the buds of spring. They announce the return of a passionate activity: the sled dog race. When she crosses numb forests and slides on white expanses planed by the winds, this entrepreneur shares with her pack of huskies moments of complicity that only practitioners of this Inuit discipline can understand.

Because Valérie Maumon is bitten by the canine universe. To finance her activity as a sled driver, or "musher", in 2016 she created the company Element.vet, specializing in food supplements for dogs. In fact, the standard kibble is not enough for the Olympic pooch who burns calories at the rate of an oil boiler. "Don't think that these supplements are made with just anything," says the 51-year-old manager, who struggled for a long time before finding the right industrial partner to launch her range. “The standards are as meticulous as for baby food. »

Distributed online and to veterinarians, at a rate of 40% annual growth, Element.vet supplements have conquered Europe. Even if Valérie Maumon remains discreet about her turnover. And for a few days, exit the plastic packaging! The company is celebrating its conversion to minimalist packages, made from wood fiber and sugar cane, which are recyclable and 100% biodegradable.

Valérie Maumon is targeting the Maghreb then the United States. “It's a niche market,” she says without pun intended. “But there is a demand. This requires being eco-responsible throughout the production chain, ”says this boss, an expert in dogs.

Asked on her Instagram account @valerie_maumon where epic racing photos accumulate (she takes six a year), she responds every day to requests for advice on the thousand and one ways to train a dog.

Born near the Grenoble mountains, she raised her first dog at age eight. "An Irish setter lost in the mountains, who came to me and never let go," she recalls with a touch of emotion. When my friends played with dolls, I played vet with my dog. Enough to develop your sensitivity to animal welfare. “But I wasn't good at math: I didn't try vet,” she says. She studied economics in Grenoble before taking on various jobs in Chamonix, particularly in the organization of sporting events. Valerie Maumon has

founded a family, of which the dogs have always been a part. Her children learned to walk by clinging to their hair. After sadly burying her faithful golden retriever, she fell in love with a husky. She quickly found him a playmate and, curious to bring them back to their natural element, made them pull a sled on the snow. “I had a click. It was what I wanted to do! " she says. She quit her job, learned to be a musher and signed up for official races. She strengthened her physical condition, went through storms, hardened herself in the cold. “Valérie is very strong, physically and morally, confides Stéphanie Gino, her handler (the right arm of the musher). She is also obstinate, even directive and stubborn. But not obtuse! »

From two huskies, the sportswoman's kennel has grown to twelve. Today, this troop of furs lives at home, between her photographer husband who follows her on her shopping trips and three grown-up children who cannot imagine a life without barking around. At dawn, Valérie Maumon takes care of and trains her dogs. Then she dedicates herself to her three-person business, which should soon welcome her 26-year-old eldest daughter. Her comfortable life as an employee seems a long way off. The call of the pack has definitely taken over.

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