Posted on Jan 24. 2022, 7:00 a.m.
Chocolate chips, nuts and caramel are at the heart of Alexis de Galembert’s career plan, when he leaves Neoma to specialize in merger and acquisition consulting. “I was in suit and tie”, he sums up with a laugh. He already dreams of entrepreneurship.
Alexis and his colleagues often go to the salad bar next to the office and he gets tired of the classic cookies offered for dessert. “I remember joking with my colleagues: imagine a cupboard full of cookies, with many different flavors. The idea came from the joke, then a business plan, then a market research »he remembers.
Then a layoff, and a company in good shape, La Fabrique Cookies. Today we are ten years and fifteen stores later. In addition to BtoC, Alexis also sells his cookies in restaurant chains such as Sushi Shop, Big Fernand or Pokawa.
However, the biscuit market is a priori not self-evident, monopolized by the large biscuit brands. According to IRI figures, it weighed 184 million euros in 2019, but this large cake contains exactly the industrial biscuits sold in supermarkets. In addition, small brands of more high-end cookies are in full development.
“The market is working well, but you have to know that it is difficult to make money and be efficient with a single product, especially with high rents like in Paris. The location is all the more important because the cookie is primarily a snack, an afternoon product…”adds Alexis, who will have a nice turnover of 5 million euros in 2021. He is aiming for 7 million euros for 2022.
The best ingredients
Laura Petit, for her part, pragmatically opted for the biscuit trade. After studying audiovisual, languages and then Essec, she was looking for a sweet mono product, easy to make, which allowed her to focus on raw materials and … without strong morning smells. The cookie has all been found.
His brand, Scoop Me A Cookie, was born in 2010: “I started making the recipe, which took me two years. And I had the chance to meet another entrepreneur specializing in frozen yogurt. She was looking for a product for the winter so that I could sell my cookies from day one. »
Laura opens her boutique, then a second, a third and a fourth, all in Paris. Today she sells a million cookies a year and employs 42 people, without having opened her capital to date. “My goal is to make the best cookies possible, with the best ingredients. I think that’s what made all the difference in this mono product market, where many brands have tried to get started without taking their approach.she notes.
Scoop Me A Cookie highlights its organic eggs and flour, its Charentais PDO butter and its Valrhona chocolate. Long-term objective: ten stores, for a hundred employees and above all three million biscuits per year.
The cookie pleases, reassures and is available
The mono-product brand Claire Moire saw this choice as a double or nothing. She graduated from Ieseg and started her career in management control. After a burnout she chose her passion, with a CAP in cooking, then a CAP in pastry. She then created her own brand, Les biscuits de Claire et Julie, which soon specialized in biscuits: “The original idea was a sweet and savory pie, but the biscuit appeals and reassures, it can come in countless flavors, more or less fine, soft, crunchy… At first I thought I had a wider, but that’s how it works it ended up fine.” Claire sells her cookies in stores and online, as well as coffee shops and other delicatessens.
In any case, all our founders see the usefulness of their original course in a business school. “Of course it helps me in all aspects of managing the company, organizing the production, expanding the team”, Claire Moire agrees. All this knowledge is expensive to develop.
“I love my product, but that’s not enough. You need legal affairs, accounting, tax bases, talking to the banker, getting loans with good rates, subsidies… Today the Factory is a small SME with about sixty employees”adds Alexis de Galembert.
First customers: former colleagues
Anne-Laure de Lummen, who graduated from ESCP in the 1990s, has grown into a seasoned consultant. In 2011, she wanted to make her own box. She refines her cookie recipes, lets her colleagues taste them. Some are even starting to buy it from him.
The potential is there, Anne-Laure makes Ann’s Cookies. His first clients will be his former colleagues. “Soon my clientele consisted of companies, consultancies, lawyers, banks, who asked me for cookies for their client meetings. My former firm ordered me weekly team coffee trays on Fridays”she explains, while also placing her treats in La Grande Epicerie de Paris.
The Covid has slowed down this BtoB market. Anne-Laure’s goal is to take over the Lombard chocolate brand, which has been extinct since the 1950s. At least one thing is certain: treats, and especially her sweet cookies, will never leave her.