au coeur de l'entreprise

blanc par rouGe: discovering maple

blanc par rouGe: à la découverte de l'érable

Maple syrup is eaten in industrial quantities in Quebec: on our pancakes, our waffles, our bacon, our "bines"... but the feat accomplished by blanc par rouGe is to introduce maple in contexts unusual foods. Have you ever tasted maple BBQ sauce? Maple and Dijon vinaigrette? Maple and black peppercorn seasoning? These are just a few examples of the innovative products offered by blanc par rouGe, which has carved out a place for itself in the niche of maple syrup production.

A dazzling introduction to the market

We spoke with Dominic Deblois, co-owner of rouGe et blanc par rouGe, who told us about the beginnings that quickly propelled the company into the world of prosperity. Indeed, when her sister, Julie, and her friend and business partner, Dino Di Pancrazio, launched the rouGe line and merged with the Cumberland Maple Products company purchased in 2011 by David Dostie, Julie's cousin and Dominic, their maple-derived products have grown in popularity…internationally. Trying to redefine the positioning of maple syrup as a premium product, they received a call from a Los Angeles marketing firm saying they had an interest in the products they had to offer. At first believing it was a joke, they soon had to admit the offer was real. This is how, since 2012, rouGe products can be found in gift packages given to Oscar winners. Quite a feat for the small company that offered very exclusive products.

It was following the rapid rise in popularity of their products that the little sister of rouGe, blanc par rouGe was born: the retail business of maple-derived products. On the menu: jellies for crackers and cheeses, vinaigrettes for salads or fish, seasonings for meats and vegetables, sweet products to spread on toast, croissants, or even to eat on their own. All sold individually, or in customizable gift boxes. Maple sap is grown by the cousin of the Deblois, David Dostie, who is a maple syrup producer and owns several sugar bushes in Quebec.

Redefining the positioning of maple syrup on the market

The idea with blanc par rouGe, as with rouGe, has always been to position maple syrup as a luxury, glamorous and exclusive product. This is also why the products are not available everywhere: they are not available only in shops, museums, delicatessens and places adapted to their type of products.

And if the company has been so successful, it is not only thanks to the passion of the team, but also thanks to its transparency, according to Dominic. He firmly believes in the importance of creating ties with his business partners, taking the time to understand each other's reality and remaining authentic. "That way, we can move forward together and everyone wins."

Inspiration for the next generation

Prior to working for rouGe et blanc par rouGe, Dominic worked at Desjardins and was self-employed for a time. He eventually joined his sister in the adventure of selling maple by-products because he could see the possibilities offered by this project. “Anything that is small and has immense potential, it comes after me.”

But that's not all that motivated Dominic to join the white-by-red team; he also wanted to be an example of life for his children and show them that the impossible is sometimes possible. "In life, when it's something you love that gives you butterflies in your stomach, you have to believe in your dreams and put in the effort to make them possible." It is important for him to demonstrate that despite the pitfalls that life places in our path, pursuing his dreams is possible, if we really want to.

And this family business gives Dominic a solid foundation no matter what. He and his sister Julie are 100% invested in their business and from time to time they enlist Dominic's girlfriend, their mother, their stepfather... In short, everyone pitches in. It was one aspect of his job that eased Dominic's worries when he embarked on blanc par rouGe. He didn't want to neglect his family, and had heard too many stories of people who had given their all to their business, with no time for family life. "It's not easy, because we are passionate about what we do." Working with family members, and having a partner who understands what he's doing, allows him to disconnect and stay focused on what matters.

A development that is going well

Although rouGe's products are present at the Oscars, the company has instead focused on selling in Canada. International sales are still in their infancy, according to Dominic. Besides, they learned several lessons along the way and proceeded somewhat blindly, at first, with such an unexpected rise in popularity. “In those days, we were unconsciously incompetent.”

Yet Dominic has no regrets about his journey, since that's what got him to where he is today, and he made several important discoveries along the way. “Our best shots are the encounters we have had.” Indeed, he was able to make countless meetings, whether with other business leaders, merchants, customers, etc. Meetings that he would not have been able to do in another context of life. As he puts it, “there are no shortcuts in business.”

That said, blanc par rouGe entrepreneurs are starting to think more about exporting. “Now it is Europe that is in the crosshairs.” They wanted to dedicate their time and energy to growing their business “close to home” first, before taking it to the next level. But who knows, in a few years you might find blanc par rouGe products overseas…

WHERE TO FIND BLANC BY ROUGE

Blanc par rouGe products are available on their website, as well as in various points of sale in Quebec. You can also visit them at the holiday markets:

The next thing…

WHAT TO REMEMBER FROM WHITE BY ROUGE? According to Dominic, "white by red, it's a family, it's about stopping and savoring a moment with others." If one thing is certain, it is that the products are appreciated because they bring people together, because they are synonymous with meals with family or friends, warm moments spent in good company.

Dominic and Julie, co-owners of blanc par rouGe

And if Dominic ever gets tired of running blanc par rouGe's business, he definitely has a bright future as a motivational speaker – just 30 minutes of chatting with him will inspire you to go chase your dreams! (While managing your expectations of course.)

Ariane Blondin

Reviewed by Marie-Pascale

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