At last, an all-women garage opens in Paris
42-year-old Sandrine Hautenne said that, as a woman, visiting an auto-repair garage in Paris is like having the word ‘sucker’ tattooed on your forehead.
‘One time, I went round to three different garages, and got three different estimates. Since then, I’ve sent my uncle to get estimates and — guess what? — the prices have dropped!’
But Sandrine is now happy thanks to a new auto-repair garage that opened in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumone suburb: Only Girls, a shop that is challenging the macho image of the auto-repair industry. Since opening in May, Only Girls has received 40 customers, around 60% of which are women.
Sandrine said many women are flocking to Only Girls because women want ‘more transparency’ in repairs and ‘less macho’ style. ‘If it had been a man, he wouldn’t have explained any of this to me,’ commented Sandrine as a female mechanic explained the workings of her car.
Another happy customer, 25-year-old Jennifer Collon, was all praises for the shops additional services: ‘They’re so welcoming here!’ she said while drying her nails after a manicure. Aside from the garage, the shop also has a beauty corner and a children’s playroom.
Female customers aren’t the only ones who are happy with the new shop. Auto mechanics degree holder Aurore Dabireau spent three long years looking for a job because she was often told by owners of traditional shops ‘you’ve got no place here.’
Aurore is now one of the two female mechanics working in Only Girls.
Only Girls’ male manager Laid Hdachi commented ‘We only change what is strictly necessary, and we show our customers the parts and explain what we’re doing.’
Communication group CA member Rodolphe Bonnasse explained that the increasing number of single, career-driven women is revamping the whole gender market: ‘The range of goods and services on offer has adapted to societal changes.’
Only Girls is actually France’s second made-for-women auto-repair garage. The first one is found in Montpellier, southern France.