How was year one in Detroit?
It’s been a year and a half now. Everything is going very well- very – fast but organic. It’s growing slowly but surely. I got a new contract with Westborn Market, Plum Market, Whole Foods is coming soon, and Busch’s maybe. I got this big contract with Air France that is great because it is consistent. There is a flight every day. It’s going to be from Detroit to Paris on business class, the mini lava cakes will be served. It’s fun saying I work with Air France and my mom is coming in April and I know she will fly back with my lava cakes on board. People will be eating my cakes above the Atlantic – it’s amazing.
You have done a lot, expanded a lot. Did you meet your expectations or exceed them?
It’s funny because I don’t push much but being at Eastern Market I will meet the manager of this market or this restaurant and they’ll ask me if I want to sell the cakes and I’ll be like, ‘Yeah let’s do it’. It’s very organic. People come to me, people are very helpful. They help me find new business to expand the brand. This year my main goal is to be able to ship all over the country because I receive more and more phone calls from New York, from Seattle and I think I can output more if I say I ship nationally. It’s something I’m working on with my partnership with Eastern Market and Garden Fresh Gourmet. They created this organization called SEED. They help entrepreneurs who are in the same positions as mine -they do farmer’s markets but want to expand more. Hopefully, they will help me ship nation wide.
It seems like you have worked with a lot of small business partners. Do you feel like it’s a unique environment in Detroit or that those resources are available everywhere?
That’s something I don’t really know because I’m in Detroit and I don’t travel much inside of the States but I think it’s something particular to Detroit. I just saw a picture from a friend of mine who posted it while she was in New York, there are advertisements that say this restaurant is hiring in Detroit, move to Detroit. Graffiti that says move to Detroit. Even my friends in France send me articles that have five pages about Detroit in French newspapers. My friends know I’m in Detroit so every time they see something it catches their attention. There are a lot of things going on here, more than in other cities. There is more opportunity. It’s not just the people who want to create something, it’s the customers and people living here – they want these new businesses.
How has Detroit changed since you have been here?
What can we expect from Chez Chloe in 2015?
New flavors, I want to work with a professional baker. National shipping. Selling in more stores – Busch’s and Whole Foods. And that’s pretty much it.
Lessons in Business from Chez Chloe
- You can’t prepare for everything: Everything when you start from packaging, labels, boxes, flavors, it’s going to change. Don’t put too much money in designers and things like that at first because those things will change.
- Never disappoint the customer.
- To be known, it takes a long time: Do a lot of events to promote the business. Everything is building and building. I’d do a market and I wouldn’t sell anything and I’d feel like I lost my time but actually no – I’d see someone two months later who would be like, ‘I saw you at this market and I didn’t buy anything but now I am going to buy’.
- The quality of the product is the most important thing.