Allo Simonne, the Sunday spread every day

Allo Simonne, la tartinade du dimanche à tous les jours

Hello Simonne is an entrepreneur couple who work with hazelnuts by combining them with noble ingredients while minimizing their ecological footprint and maximizing their impact on the local economy. Winners of five medals at the world final of the International Chocolate Competition in 2019, Vincent Coja and Quentin Ryckaert have taken advantage of the success of their products to develop a business. These two entrepreneurs aim to become the “Nutella” of Quebec and continue to seduce Quebecers with their Sunday spreads! Discover opposite the outline of our simple and friendly interview with Vincent Coja which will certainly make your mouth water. Good tasting !

From roofer to contractor

Vincent, a roofer by training, worked in the construction and building industry for more than 15 years before leaving and concentrating full time in Allo Simonne. As for Quentin, who graduated from the Provincial Hotel School in Namur in 2006, he developed an interest in pastry and chocolate. He became a chocolatier in Belgium before immigrating to Montreal where he continued to work in the world of chocolate.

Vincent Coja and Quentin Ryckaert , founders of Allo Simonne

Suddenly immigrated here, Quentin tries to get a spread, without success. He finds commercial spreads to which a lot of sugar and oils are added. So he starts to make some for himself. "Quentin always does things big," says Vincent. He bought a semi-professional machine to mix his homemade spreads right from the start, even before the idea of ​​marketing the product came to us”, continues Vincent when he talks about the beginnings of Allo Simonne. He had people in the chocolate world taste his spread to get their opinion. Her chocolatier friend, Daniel, suggested she take part in the International Chocolate Competition in 2017. Her spreads won two medals: gold for the hazelnut and milk chocolate spread and silver for the hazelnut, dark chocolate and buckwheat spread. . Following this award, Vincent and Quentin officially launched Allo Simonne in October 2017.

The couple now work full-time for the company. These two entrepreneurs like to work in collaboration with other local artisans in order to develop lasting partnerships and also wonderful products. Their openness to the world and their human side set them apart in their environment.

Business management and work-life balance

During the first year, the two entrepreneurs kept their full-time jobs in addition to managing Allo Simonne. It was not until November 2018 that Vincent started full-time and Quentin in 2019. Since their beginning, the production of the spreads took place in a small section of the Rhubarbe pastry shop on Laurier Street during their hours. of closures. Then, with around fifty points of sale in 2018, spreads are starting to take up too much space. “We had to strike out on our own and find our own workshop,” Vincent says of their move in March 2019. With the recognition of the medals in 2017 and then in 2019, their notoriety has made the company grow faster than it did. that Vincent wanted. Over time, the balance between business and personal life has become essential. Everyone does activities alone to keep time for themselves. “I play dodgeball and Quentin does pottery twice a week,” adds Vincent on the importance of putting the company “off” to better find each other as a couple. These two entrepreneurs recognize the importance of taking time for yourself so that they can keep going in business. They were even able to take three weeks of vacation in January 2019.

Collaborations and new projects

Jaguar Hazelnut & Chocolate Spread

This company is distinguished by their love of collaboration and enhancement of other Quebec artisans. Each year, for their discovery box , a new artist leaves their mark. The first year, it was their graphic designer who left his personal touch. This year, it is Julien Castanié, an artist rewarded several times internationally, who illustrates it. In addition, to highlight the gold medal awarded to the product, the Jaguar spread also stands out with its illustrations created by Marlone Montreal, a stationery brand with graphic and colorful representations. “We would like to add 3-4 new collaborations,” says Vincent, adding that he already works with 94 Celsius (roasting company and Signé Local member) for the coffee spread and with Chocolat Monarque for their raw material, to name a few. this. Vincent would like to continue his tour of Quebec in order to make their spreads better known outside of Montreal. This company takes the means to offer a high-calibre niche product by working with the resources of their environment. With the recognition of recent years and future projects, Allo Simonne is a company to discover, and above all, to taste!

Reviewed by Sandrine

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