The business was small - 20ish employees - but they were an extension of my family. However, when I went to college, my parents sold the business and I was left to figure out what's next for me.
I randomly met a serial entrepreneur on Route 9 as a freshman in Boston, who asked me to take a family recipe and turn it into a healthy packaged snack business. Talking to food brokers, industrial kitchens, and setting up a small-scale pilot rekindled memories for me: of learning how to bake pastry at the age of 5, of learning how to replicate my father's (Quebecois) grandmother's meat pies, of all my favorite memories - which usually begin and end with food.
I racked up over 15 years of learning the ins and outs of launching food products in the US. I worked at Arnold Worldwide's Consumer Insight Group covering brands like McDonald's and Ocean Spray Cranberries, led a consulting team with Kraft on bringing innovation to the Marketing division, worked at an Omnicom concept-to-launch innovation firm with clients like Pepsi, and led white space concept-to-launch innovation (new product development and launch prep) at Unilever and Nestle USA, with incredible brands like Skinny Cow, Juicy Juice, Country Crock, and Nescafe.
This career included incredible assignments for a foodie like me. I was sent to New Orleans to study chicory coffee, to New York to understand the origins of the mixology trend, and around the country to examine what the rise of obesity means for women and how they shop, eat, and think about food.
However, I felt like something was missing. Where rich interesting consumer-captivating food and strong business opportunities combine is around the birth of new businesses - typically driven by the passionate, imaginative, and forward-thinking home cook, culinary chef, or garage food scientist. I left the big "corporate world" to focus on helping these incredible people navigate the steps to launching a new food business (or restaging a business for new growth).
The world may be quickly changing, as we click to get coffee and groceries and meals-in-a-box on demand delivered to our door and the digital era is changing quickly how we can market to reach an early base of adopters. That said, some things remain true - in how you want to design your front-of-label to inspire and convert quickly at the "moment of truth", how you need to be differentiated and captivating in your branding and positioning. I want to make these truths known to all amazing food entrepreneurs.
Cups Of Coffee
Grocery Store Visits
New Product Development
Innovation & Growth Strategy
I cannot say more great things about Dominique. She was an incredible listener and was able to create what I asked, and also to push my limits and incorporate some of her more creative ideas into the project. She was extremely professional – always clear about her deliverables and timing. I would highly recommend her to anyone who is building a business or figuring out how to refocus an existing one.
JUSTINE WARDROPFounder, Honeypie Kitchen
Her existing knowledge in the food & beverage space was an asset along with her good eye for branding and design. She was also thorough in her communications and recommendations with breadth and depth of explanations for each point.
JOSH FUFounder, Prana Life Tea
5 stars! Highly recommended.
STEVE SCHNEIDERFounder, VOLT Chocolate