A novel concept brings a taste of Savoie to Paris17-06-2016
Two young thirty somethings originally from Savoie have launched Maison de Savoie in Paris.
A halfway house where the focus is firmly placed on quality and flavour.
François Pachoud and Philibert Chambre have every right to be proud. On April 25th this year they launched their own store concept, Maison de Savoie, in Paris’s fashionable Montorgueil area. Friends since childhood, who met at Lycee Chambery, they pooled their knowledge and love of food from their native region to create an authentic and contemporary shopping destination. Philibert had several years working for LVMH under his belt, while Francois was working for BNP Paribas.
The need for change resonated with both 30-year olds. And the spark came three years ago, during a long walk in their beloved region. “We had this harebrained idea to climb Mont Blanc. We were training for the climb by walking,” explains François Pachoud. And during one of the training sessions, when hunger started to take hold, an idea began to take shape. “We took a photo of a sandwich filled with typical local ingredients, and commented that it would be great to be able to have access to these products in Paris”.
Today the store has effectively transported a tiny corner of the local mountain area to Paris. A delicatessen selling products sourced directly from Savoie and Haute-Savoie, it is essentially a venue to celebrate togetherness and exchange. Here you can find the region’s very best cheese maturing gracefully in a specially conditioned “cave d’affinage”, together with charcuterie, wine, beer and fish. “We wanted to introduce premium products from the mountains to Parisians,” added Philibert.
Quality at the heart of the home
To transform this rash gamble into a sure-fire success, the two young Savoie natives had to convince producers and investors alike. The first step was to bring people together. “We come across brilliant people every day who make fabulous products, but don’t necessarily have access to a large store or important chain in Paris to promote their wares.” And from this analysis, the concept simply grew. For three years, Francois and Philibert set out to convince each producer, on a one-to-one basis, to come on board with their venture. In order to have additional backing, the two entrepreneurs set up a crowdfunding campaign that raised 24,715 euros as a result. Admittedly a far cry from the total budget, but sufficient to identify a definite need. “The Savoyards came on board with our venture. This in itself makes us extremely happy”.
An economic model ready to export
With their feet firmly on the ground, the two entrepreneurs put together a robust business plan, retaining their commitment to delivering the finest foods possible to their clientele. They are backed by Jerome, a partner based in Chambery, who acts as the point of contact between the two entrepreneurs and the producers. This way, they have defined short food supply chains where the goods are sent directly to Paris in optimum conditions and at affordable prices. Controlling sourcing gives reassurance to the producers, and ultimately the consumers too. The delicatessen is effectively just the tip of the iceberg. It offers all the diversity and expertise of the Savoie region through high quality products. But the two founders were not willing to stop there, and want to make the destination pay and turn it into a privatised venue. “For events, seminars, business meetings…namely for partners from Savoie seeking a connection with a Parisian audience, and for others too,” explains Philibert.
Though the two passionate businessmen are just at the start of their Parisian adventure, they have already drafted a more longterm strategy including a firm commitment to exports. “In our plan, we would ultimately love to be sold internationally before opening other outlets in France,” they stipulate. “We are already thinking about other capital cities in Europe, with London already on their hit list.” The two entrepreneurs can rely on the experience of some of their partners, such as Mont-Blanc beer, which has already seen some success in export markets, and also Beaufort cheese. Foreign visitors who come to Savoie love taking back quality products from the region. So why not have them brought directly to their homes? Made in France, represented by France’s different regions, is an excellent gateway to export French products to international markets.