Promoting growth .
The self-proclaimed “lazy” entrepreneur says, “I only do things when I absolutely have to, or whenever I really feel like it!” In which case, it’s safe to assume that he must really love chocolate! On that note, we invite you to learn more about Dominique Brown, a determined and multi-faceted business owner on a mission to change the world!
Q. Dominique, you’ve made your mark in the video game industry for a decade; now, you’re a chocolate industry leader! How do you go from gaming to becoming a chocolatier?
A. I’ll admit that it was actually a coincidence! In 2011, I bought the Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans because I was a customer and heard that it was for sale. At first, it was just a fun side-project that would allow me to experiment with retail, a field that had always fascinated me. Little did I know, by the end of the summer I was out to conquer the world!
Q. Then, on your quest to conquer the world you decided to reinvent the company, which somehow reinvented the chocolate industry, too! How did you do that?
A. When I first started at Chocolats Favoris, I set up three main projects: we refreshed our brand image, revamped the retail concept, and improved the product offering. All of this was accomplished in year one! To show for it, we had an updated logo and packaging, a brand-new store experience, and the 12 canned, signature, chocolate-flavored glazes and fondues that I’m sure you’ve tried at least once, or spotted in your friend’s cupboard.
Q. Throughout this process, you relied heavily on collaborators. How did these relationships help?
A. At Chocolats Favoris, I surrounded myself with people who were smarter than me; people who could pull me up and take me further. I made an effort to find leaders who were knowledgeable in areas I wasn’t. Although it wasn’t necessary, I set up a board of directors. This was one of the best business decisions I’ve made.
As for the companies we’ve partnered with, I didn’t choose them based on their technical skills, but rather for their ability to understand the key issues that were at stake.
I wanted partners who are as driven as I am. When I point things out, I don’t want the people around me to simply look at my finger; I want them to look beyond and see the endless opportunities and avenues worth exploring. And that’s exactly the feeling I got when we partnered with the Mirego team to develop the ChocoFan loyalty program.
Q. In a retail era scarred by the closing of various brick and mortar stores and shops, Chocolats Favoris has opened up approximately 20 new retail locations throughout Quebec, and set up shop in locations across Canada. Don’t you think that sounds a little counter intuitive? Why are you going against the grain?
R. First off, it’s important to note that Chocolats Favoris was uniquely conceptualized. On the one hand, it’s your typical retail business. Yet, on the other hand, it could be perceived as a catering business, too. It’s a lot like a hybridized combination of both concepts. Moreover, ma-
nufacturing our products allows us to offer a broad range of unique products that are exclusive to our brand. I think that the retailers who suffer most are those who don’t have any exclusivity agreements and sell consumer goods that can be found everywhere else. In my opi-nion, these “middlemen” could die off.
However, I don’t believe that brick and mortar stores are on the verge of extinction. In fact, I’d beg to differ! Take Frank and Oak for example; they’re currently opening up a bunch of small retail locations. What that suggests, and what I anticipate will happen, is that retai-
lers will focus on opening smaller, more local boutique-like shops, and turn their attention to digital spaces to promote their brand and
create unique user experiences.
Q. What’s loud and clear is that you always aim higher, and aren’t afraid to say it…
A. I see growth as an opportunity to challenge myself on an ongoing basis. Deep inside, there’s this part of me that wants to hit a wall. I have yet to hit any and keep asking myself where and when I’ll have to face an insurmountable obstacle.
To keep myself on my toes, I set these crazy goals thinking I won’t be able to achieve them and find comfort in knowing that at least I will have given it my all should anything ever happen. Hopefully, I won’t be too far away from my target…