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2012 Young Leader Augustin Paluel-Marmont shares insights on his company "Michel et Augustin"
December 9, 2014
Augustin Paluel-Marmont, 2012 Young Leader, is the co-founder, along with Michel de Rovira, of Michel et Augustin. The two created this line of food products in 2004, that started with flavored cookies (Petits sablés ronds et bons), and soon grew to include premium yogurt and yogurt drinks (Vache à boire) and yogurt ice cream. In promoting the philosophy of Michel et Augustin, Augustin created the events la Nuit à la Belle Etoile and Changez Votre Vie - Changez votre ville - 100 triporteurs, as well as organizing a series of conferences, “Boire une vache avec…” He was a co-coordinator of la journée mondiale de la Trisomie 21 (International Day in recognition of Down’s Syndrome), president of the association La Différence est une chance, and an administrator of the association Bouée d’Espoir.
Prior to this culinary “adventure,” Augustin was a co-founder of Pertinence Data Intelligence in 2001, which was later acquired by Partech Ventures. Augustin has a degree in business from Paris X and Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris – Europe and is a trained baker and pastry chef. He was also a co-author of the Guide des Boulangeries de Paris (édition de l’IF)
Augustin is a member of the Ordre National du Mérite.
Augustin, you are a French business school graduate, and one day with your childhood friend, Michel de Rovira, you decided to create the "petits sablés" (French biscuits) in an apartment in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. What led you to this project, and how did it unfold?
Michel and I have a passion for food and entrepreneurial success stories. We graduated from the same business school and had executive jobs in nice international firms but it came out that we were not totally happy with this. We felt we could spend our energy and passion in a more meaningful entrepreneurial adventure, with an important mission: make the world smile!
As real foodies, we were getting more and more bored by the groceries steps: only fake stories of invented grand-mothers making cookies 120 years ago...
So we decided to start baking little shortbread cookies in my kitchen.
Our dream? To put some color and pep back into your grocery step through delicious, natural concoctions. And to share every step of the way with a smile! After testing (and tasting) more than 300 recipes in my little apartment's little kitchen, the little round butter cookie is born.
Today, your company "Michel et Augustin" is a worldwide success with over 10,000 vendors in France and and a presence in Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Hong Kong but also in Tokyo. How have you managed this success?
We aim to become the WOW food brand in the nicest cities across the world. To achieve this, it requires a lot of energy, faith, common sense and the ability to hire the right people. It’s hard to create breakthrough innovations in the cookie category but you can bring value and differentiation with a higher level of quality and an innovative brand speech based on sincerity, kindness and everyday fun.
We believe that these simple values are shared all over the world.
Does France cooperate with others countries, especially the United States?Your next challenge is to establish your company in the United States, especially in Brooklyn. Why this desire? What is the strategy to make your mark on the US market?
We’ve been perfecting our recipes to the peak of tastiness with our compatriots in France for 10 years. Over 150 million cookies have been baked and enjoyed!
Now we’re ready for an AMAZING new challenge: to bring our cookies to the homeland of cookies!
It is the right time for us to prove that we can succeed outside of France. Unlike what we do in the 20 countries where we already export using importers, we want to set ourselves on the field, in Brooklyn, with a dedicated local team. According to us, this is the only way to recreate what has made the success in Paris: being involved in the daily life of the community, to share local stories and create local events such as the open doors at the Banana Farm every 1st Thursday of the month, the incredible night under the stars in a park in the middle of the city…
In 2012, you were selected by the French-American Foundation as a Young Leader. How was the experience and what has it brought you personnally and professionally?
With the Young Leader Program of the French-American Foundation, I really have the impression to be part of a very special family. I spent two amazing weeks, one in France Paris/Le Havre and in the USA Atlanta and had the chance to meet really amazing people of various backgrounds. A unique opportunity. And a lot of positive energy and the drive to change the word ;)
What is the next step for "Michel et Augustin"?
An incredible milk chocolate mousse…