Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nathalie Morin, COO of Rousseau Chocolatier Ltd., located in Halifax, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Rousseau Chocolatier was born out of love - literally! We met, fell in love, and spent years traveling the old and new continents, perfecting and planning for a chocolatey future!
We produce exquisitely handmade chocolate confections, which can be purchased online or enjoyed inside our lovely contemporary café in downtown Halifax! Julien Rousseau hails from the South of France and Mediterranean Coast with 20 years of experience as a professional Chocolatier and Pastry Chef under his belt.
We use premium sustainable chocolate, real fruits, and ingredients in our confections. We've also continuously enjoyed showcasing many local businesses by incorporating their products inside ours! Nova Scotia has an abundance of award-winning wineries, craft breweries, distilleries, and loads of natural ingredients that deserve to be celebrated!
Tell us about yourself
My background was hospitality for over a decade before I met Julien. I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Canada, which progressed to working for high-end establishments. I love the service industry, and I am quite the social butterfly, which is probably what drew me to that career. Being able to offer caring and professional service as well as ensuring a person's experience is totally heightened is my jam!
When Julien and I finally opened Rousseau's in 2014, I was able to use all those years of customer service experience to really set the tone for our brand and customers noticed! We wanted to demonstrate that people can enjoy exceptional quality chocolate in a warm, welcoming, and accessible atmosphere.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would have been taking risks that paid off. Every single step of the way in an entrepreneur's journey is about taking risks. Being able to measure and balance risks properly is crucial to our decision-making process from the get-go.
Take it slow at first, take small manageable risks, and climb that ladder one step at a time. Otherwise, if you miss a step, you might come falling down.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Sacrifice. Blood, sweat, and tears - literally! Small business owners and entrepreneurs are the most resourceful, resilient, and hard-working people on earth, in my opinion.
Nobody tells you what to do. Nobody holds you accountable; nobody catches you if you fall. It can be a lonely place. Being partners in life and business is what really held us up. You learn things together. You experience things together... the good and the bad.
Being responsible for a whole company comes with many sacrifices that we've struggled with over the years. You're working infinite hours and pouring all your money into your venture.
We've had to cancel maternity leaves, forgo weekends with the kids, and so on. But you do it because you have to and you do your best, especially in the first five years. We are in year eight now and still getting curve balls! The important thing you need to know is you are not alone. Reach out to your community sign up for a program at a local business center. Finding a connection with your peers can be very enriching.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take it one step at a time.
- Get in touch with local business mentoring centers such as CEED or Futurpreneur. They have SO MANY resources to help guide you at every step.
- Be positive and grateful - like every day. It will help with your mindset, your leadership, your motivation, all of it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.