From business school to the cookie business, they chose the unexpected

Written January 24, 2022, at 07.00

Chocolate chips, nuts and caramel are very far from Alexis de Galembert’s career plan as he leaves Neoma to specialize in mergers and acquisitions consulting. “I was in a suit and tie”, he summarizes with a smile. He is already dreaming 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 making a joke with my colleagues: imagine a cupboard full of cookies, with many different flavors. From the joke the idea was born, then a business plan, then a market study »he remembers.

Then a termination, and a company in due form, La Fabrique Cookies. Today we are ten years and fifteen stores later. In addition to BtoC, Alexis also sells its cookies in restaurant chains such as Sushi Shop, Big Fernand or Pokawa.

However, the cookie market is not obvious a priori, monopolized by the big cookie brands. According to IRI figures, it weighed 184 million euros in 2019, but this large cake contains precisely the industrial cakes sold in supermarkets. Next to it, there are small brands of more advanced cookies in full development.

“The market works well, but you have to know that it is difficult to make money and be efficient on a single product, especially with high rents like in Paris. The location is all the more important since the cookie is mainly a snack, afternoon product…”adds Alexis, who has a nice turnover of 5 million euros in 2021. He aims for 7 million in 2022.

The best raw materials

For her part, Laura Petit chose the cookie business pragmatically. After studying audiovisual language, then Essec, she was looking for a sweet mono product that was easy to make, so that she could focus on raw materials and… without strong morning smells. The cookie is all found.

His brand, Scoop Me A Cookie, was born in 2010: “I started by making the recipe, which took me two years. And I had the chance to meet another entrepreneur specializing in yogurt ice cream. She was looking for a product for the winter so I could sell my cookies from day one. »

Laura opens her shop, 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 until now. “My goal is to make the best possible cookies with the best ingredients. I think that’s what made the difference in this mono-product market, where many brands have tried to get started without going through their approach.she notes.

Scoop Me A Cookie highlights its organic eggs and flour, its Charentais PDO butter and its Valrhona chocolate. Long-term goal: a dozen stores for a hundred employees and above all three million cookies a year.

The cookie pleases, soothes and is available

Mono product brand Claire Moire saw this choice as a double or nothing. Graduated from Ieseg, she began her career in management control. After a burnout, she chose her passion, with a CAP in cooking and then a CAP in pastry. She then created her own brand, Les biscuits de Claire et Julie, which very quickly specialized in cookies: “The original idea was a sweet and savory pie, but the cookie appeals and soothes, it can come in countless flavors, be more or less fine, soft, crispy… At first I thought I would offer a wider one, but that In the end, it works just fine that way.” Claire sells her cookies in stores and online, but also to coffee shops and other delicatessens.

In any case, each of our founders sees the benefit of their original course at a business school. “Of course it helps me in all aspects of managing the company, organizing production, expanding the team”, agrees Claire Moire. To develop, all this knowledge is valuable.

“I love my product, but it’s not enough. You need legal, accounting, tax bases, to talk to the banker, get loans with good interest, subsidies… Today, with around sixty employees, the factory is a small SME”adds Alexis de Galembert.

First customers: former colleagues

Anne-Laure de Lummen, who graduated from ESCP in the 90s, has become a seasoned consultant. In 2011, she wanted to create her own box. She refines her cookie recipes, gets her colleagues to taste them. Some even start buying it from him.

The potential is there, Anne-Laure creates Ann’s Cookies. His first customers will be his former colleagues. “Soon, my clientele consisted of companies, consulting firms, lawyers, banks, who asked me for cookies for their client meetings. My previous company ordered me weekly trays for team coffee on Fridays”she explains, also placing her delicacies at La Grande Epicerie de Paris.

Covid has slowed down this BtoB market. To make a comeback, Anne-Laure is betting on taking over the Lombard chocolate brand, which has been extinct since the 1950s. One thing is certain in any case: delicacies, and in particular her beloved cookies, never leave her.

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