Caprices de cuisine – Business Portrait
30 November 2022
Mélissa Vaillancourt took charge of Caprices de cuisine in July 2021. Since then, she is working on diversifying services and products, from the design to the finished product, and betting on customer service. A meeting with Mélissa about her business, which obtained support from the SADC Baie-des-Chaleurs.
A Thumbnail Sketch of the Business
Caprices de cuisine is a family business that features a large variety of kitchen products (dishware, glassware, cutlery, table linen . . .), bar and cocktail accessories, articles and food preparation and cooking devices, food products and even more. Intending to broaden her product offering even more, she has a service counter for Armoires Distinction. Caprices de cuisine attracts clients from all over the Gaspé region, from Rimouski and even New Brunswick.
In What Way is your Business Unique?
“We only deal with kitchen products and we have a broad price range, including top-end products and lower budgeted ones to meet all needs” said Mélissa. “We also managed to have local artisans make accessories specifically for kitchens.” Among others, the business features FishNship aprons – the Catherine Côté and Lise Hudon workshops, cloth dish covers, lunch bags and napkins from La Découpe and wooden products (spoons, bread knives) from local artisans. It also features local food products such as chocolate from Chaleur B Chocolat and goodies from Chocolaterie & Confiserie Linda.
Why Have You Chosen to be an Entrepreneur?
“I have been in business since I was young, as I was a co-owner of several restaurants” explained Mélissa. “In this case, I wanted to meet a challenge alone, to build something different than a restaurant and I was given this opportunity.” For her, retail sales was a wonderful challenge to meet.
How did Support From the SADC Help You?
Mélissa was part of the SADC Youth Strategy Program for the purchase of her business. With this Program, she obtained a loan at a competitive interest rate. She also received a subsidy and a loan from the Avignon RCM. This combined financial assistance gave her a great advantage: “I did not have to take out a personal loan.” She added: “I also had salary support during the first year [thanks to the Self-Employed Support Program offered by the RCM and Emploi-Québec].”
Tell Us About a Noteworthy Achievement of Which You Are Especially Proud as an Entrepreneur.
“Since two weeks now we have an on-line store”, Mélissa proudly mentioned. My right-hand man Steven Couture [her eldest son] and myself got it up and running. We’re still working on it. Up to now, there are 400 products.” The businesswoman is also very proud of the involvement of her three children in the store and for the customer service work performed with the Gaspesian firm of Audace.
What Advice Would You Give to Anyone Who is Considering Starting Up a Business in the Baie-des-Chaleurs Region?
“Go right ahead!” said Mélissa unhesitatingly. “We are often stopped. People tell us to go easy, to let things happen by themselves, but you have to forge ahead! Determination changes everything in what we’re trying to build. You have to believe in yourself and not get worried about what people say. Confidence is your best tool.”
About Mélissa Vaillancourt
Having worked some 20 years in management positions for Subway, Mélissa was in charge of the implementation of the operational setup of each restaurant and for human resources management. Since July 2021, she is brilliantly meeting the challenge of operating a retail store: Caprices de cuisine.