Nathalie Morin and her partner, Julien, embarked on an exhilarating journey that took them across the globe, fueled by their dream of opening a remarkable chocolate boutique. From France to Scotland, the UK to Canada, their passion for creating delectable chocolates knew no bounds. In 2014, their unwavering dedication transformed their dream into a reality, giving birth to Rousseau Chocolatier in the vibrant city of Halifax.
Right from the start, Nathalie and Julien formed an unstoppable duo. Julien’s extensive background as a chocolatier, honed in upscale restaurants, perfectly complemented Nathalie’s hospitality and business management expertise. Embracing the tight-knit community in Halifax, they devised ingenious and cost-effective marketing strategies to captivate their audience. By incorporating local produce into their ingredients and showcasing their suppliers, they fostered mutually beneficial relationships, while also highlighting Rousseau Chocolatier’s commitment to quality and supporting fellow entrepreneurs.
Of course, their entrepreneurial journey was not without its struggles – Nathalie explains that she had some challenges with scaling and knowing when help was needed. “When we first opened, it was just the two of us. We worked crazy hours; we were just really afraid of increasing our costs. We didn’t want to spend money on staff, so we just kept working 7 days per week while getting progressively busier. I think that if we would have accepted that we needed to spend some money to make money, we would have freed up our mental space and energy on other things that could have helped the business move forward,” explains Nathalie. Once they began expanding and hiring more staff, Rousseau Chocolatier was in a much better position to innovate and propel their business in a positive direction. While their company was temporarily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, when restrictions began lifting in 2021, Rousseau Chocolatier became busier than ever! Since people were ordering online more often, had extra income, and wanted to spend more on corporate gifts or gifts for family members they had not seen in a while, Rousseau Chocolatier was producing and delivering constantly!
Nathalie joined the Rhyze Up! program at Innovation Guelph (IG) to help manage her newfound success and navigate the next steps for marketing, researching, and growing her business. She says that her key takeaway from her participation in Rhyze Up! is “having the ability to see [her] company ten years in the future.” She explains, “When I look ahead ten years in the future, I know exactly where we’re going to be, and I know exactly how to get there and that’s all thanks to the Rhyze Up! program”. This forward-looking mentality and clear plan have allowed Nathalie to expand her marketing, as she has learned a lot about how to market her products, and herself as an entrepreneur. She says that being part of a program designed for women-identifying entrepreneurs has empowered her to authentically share her story and resonate with customers on a deeper level.
The crowning glory of their marketing endeavours came with the presentation of the Rousseau Chocolatier coronation boxes, showcased live on TV by the esteemed Canadian television journalist, Lisa LaFlamme during King Charles III of the United Kingdom’s coronation event. The overwhelming response to this promotion has led to unprecedented success, cementing Rousseau Chocolatier’s place as a premier brand.
Rousseau Chocolatier is far from being content with company growth so far – they have some incredible goals for the future including transitioning to a larger production space and going national with their chocolate! Nine years after leasing their first storefront in Halifax, Nathalie and Julien have proven that with a lot of hard work, dreams can come true and running a chocolate boutique is truly as sweet as they thought!
Learn more about Rousseau Chocolatier here: https://rousseauchocolatier.ca/.