Learn More About: Rousseau Chocolatier
Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet and Nathalie Morin met and fell in love in Wakefield, QC: he; a Frenchmen with a passion for chocolate; she, a young hospitality professional with a love for travel.
Together they embarked on an adventure around Europe until ultimately settling in Halifax. Why Halifax? Because it offered a great quality of life, has many European influences and is conveniently located between Ontario and France!
With over 15 years of experience, Julian uses only the finest quality chocolate and ingredients - locally and seasonally sourced as much as possible. Everything is made on site and production can be seen through the viewing bay window in their shop.
We spoke with Nathalie to learn more about their thriving business.
What inspired you to start your business? My husband had been a chocolatier and pastry chef for a few years when we met. At that time, it was only a distant dream to one day open our own chocolate shop. Our quest to gain experience and remain together as a couple, led us to live and work in Canada, France, England and Scotland over the course of 5 years before opening Rousseau Chocolatier in 2014.
What has been the most exciting thing you have experienced to date since starting your business? The most exciting thing that has happened to us, besides opening our doors for the first time, has to be our move to 5151 South Street in January 2018! This grand new location has been quite the learning curve for us both. Our new space has provided so much more visibility and we have to keep up with a constants of business whilst managing a bigger team, cafe, shop, and wholesale accounts. Not a bad problem to have - and certainly very exciting!
Tell us about your 4-year-old self. Wow, 4 year old me? That's a fun question!! I was very carefree, rambunctious and strong willed. I was the second born in a family of 2 kids and I was very fortunate to grow up in a big house on a quiet street in the woods. My days were spent at home with my mother, playing in streams, tree houses and getting dirty! I wanted to be independent and loved accomplishing things on my own. There were a lot of messes and bruises that occurred as a result but overall, I wanted to grow up fast and do things that everyone else was doing.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started your business? What I know now versus when we first started is that there's a wealth of information to help guide any aspiring entrepreneur. Whether it be provincial/federal government programs and grants, local business associations or even knowledgeable bookkeepers! I wish I could have thought to utilize these valuable resources when we started out.
I also think that running a business is a constant evolving experience. With over 4 years under our belts, we still get thrown curve balls all the time. You really learn how to roll with the punches and problem solve on a daily basis. You also learn how to wear ALL the hats; leadership roles, time management skills, marketing exec, photographer, receptionist, customer service expert, accountant, electrician, plumber, you name it!! And with all that, you still need to make money. It's true what they say, running your own business is not for the faint-hearted. We put our heads down, plow through every day and hope it will pay off and we'll be able to reap the fruit of our labour by providing a bright future for our family.
What can we expect to see next from Rousseau? We have amazing Single Origin chocolate bars launching very soon! Six new bars from six specific countries that all have different tasting notes influenced by each countries' unique climate. In addition to those bars, we'll also launch two new chocolate bars by popular demand: Salted Butter Caramel, available in milk or 64% dark chocolate. And finally, it's been a long time coming and we are very much looking forward to the addition of ice cream this summer! We're still working out the details so stay tuned!
Nathalie and Julian are a great example of folks making Nova Scotia their home and bringing their world class expertise with them. If you haven’t yet been to their new shop in the South End of Halifax, drop by their beautiful café and enjoy a latte and a selection of chocolates, French macaroons, caramel spreads, artisanal marshmallows and more!