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Brown Paper Tickets, the American company that could be French!

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Caroline Planque from our International Outreach Department, recently visited her homeland of France and spread the good word of Brown Paper Tickets to some of the hip and happening folks in the Parisian arts scene. She found that many Parisians were surprised that a company as community-minded as BPT could exist in America. Here’s Caroline to tell us a little bit more.

I recently returned from a trip to my homeland of France. I shook many hands and left behind a trail of BPT buttons, postcards and brochures: from little neighborhood cafes, to concert venues such as the Batofar, a barge topped by a lighthouse on the Seine river; to a former cookie factory in Montreuil, La Biscuiterie, that’s been transformed into a highly messy yet creative collective arts space; to a little record store near Bastille, Born Bad (“Bad Music for Bad People!”), a suggestion from our lawyer Mike Sennott; and, finally, to the incredible, brand new 104 – Centquatre Cultural Center, the former site of a gigantic municipal funeral home.

In Paris, where ¨culture is dripping from every corner¨ (as a friend stated) and everything has apparently been said and done, it is hard, hard, hard to bring in some new ideas and to appear original. Not to mention that bringing new concepts from the US always seems to carry an extra weigh to it (and no, I have actually not said that my people are prejudiced!) Yet, despite all this, every single meeting turned out to be a highly positive experience with people ecstatic about our different programs and wondering why we (in the US) could be so much like them!

What makes us stand out as an atypical American company? Well, first, the concept of not trying to make the most money possible and engaging in business practices that benefit the whole community; then, the act of giving back to charities, having a team of doers and offering free workshops. Finally, the working conditions are very French: health insurance for every employee and their family, 6 weeks of PTO per year and so forth. ¨How can you be based in the US and have such ideas?¨ We never exchanged the S word… but came pretty darn close to it!

Hip, young bloggers Marion & Romain visit the Born Bad record store in 2009. [youtube=]

I went into this trip expecting to have to work extra hard to overcome the fact that we are yet another American company trying to set foot in France, but the opposite happened: everyone seemed ready to embrace our model, calling us the “good people”  of the ticketing industry because of our unique services! Allez BPT!