Photo courtesy of NadÃ¨ge Nourian
An exclusive series by Carolyn Grisold that profiles female entrepreneurs in Toronto
Business Name: NadÃ¨ge Patisserie
Owner: NadÃ¨ge Nourian, 35
Type of Business: Bakeshop/Café
Neighbourhood: Queen West and Rosedale
Address: 780 Queen Street West and 1099 Yonge Street
Closest Major Intersection: Queen & Bathurst and Yonge & Rosedale
Twitter: @NadegeToronto, @ChefNadege
Phone: Queen: 416-368-2009 and Yonge: 416-968-2011
Hours of operation: Queen: Mon-Wed: 8am-8pm; Thurs-Sat: 8am-9pm; Sun: 8am-7pm
Yonge: Mon: Closed; Tues-Sat: 9am-7:30pm, Sun: 9am-6pm
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
The challenge. It’s tough yet rewarding at the same time. Being a pastry chef is what I know and love to do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Why did you decide to name your business eponymously?
It was my business partner Morgan McHugh’s idea to name the shop after me (the chef). It was also a good idea from a branding perspective.
Did you work in this industry previously?
Yes, I’ve worked in this industry for many years before coming to Canada — throughout France and in London, England.Photo: Pay Chen
When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
My parents, grandparents and great grandparents helped to inform my decision — they were all pastry chefs and entrepreneurs.
How do you balance work-life?
That’s something I’m still working on!
Are you a member of any support groups for entrepreneurs?
No, not at this time, but I am very supportive of people who start their own businesses.
Do you use consultants?
We work with a PR company to help harmonize our brand across all our platforms and generate increased media and consumer awareness.
Have you won any awards?
Yes, we have won several design awards for our Queen Street West location.
Why did you choose to locate your business in that neighbourhood?
The Queen West neighbourhood is often referred to as the ‘Art and Design District,’ so it’s a perfect match for our brand — we always present our food and packaging in an aesthetically pleasing way. With regard to our Yonge location, it’s located in an upscale neighbourhood — nestled between Rosedale and Summerhill — which is a great fit, since NadÃ¨ge is an upscale boutique.
Photo: Pay Chen
How have the neighbourhoods evolved since you opened?
The Queen location in particular has evolved a lot. We have been part of that movement — a number of high quality food and design stores have opened in the neighbourhood over the past few years, whereas in Rosedale the community was already more established when we opened up. Our primary focus at that location is on making chocolates by hand and delicious macarons.
How has your business kept up with the changes to Queen West?
We are part of the business community leading the change.
Why is it important for small business to take an active role in their community?
It’s important to make sure the community stays vibrant and interesting for customers and residents alike. For instance, we launched Toronto’s very own Macaron Day in 2011 (first celebrated in Paris, it’s now a worldwide event). Each year we partner with a new charity and this year we’re donating 50% of all in-store macaron sales to Meal Exchange, a local charity that engages youth to create a sustainable food system in their communities.
What kind of challenges did you face when you first opened?
Exhaustion, financial concerns… We were working 22 hours a day every day for the first six months of business. The first few months of starting a business is always a challenge and can be daunting from a financial perspective.
What do you wish you knew when you first started out?
I wish I knew how important a website and social media would become. It’s such a useful tool for reaching consumers both locally and nationally.
What have you learned that has been the most surprising?
Immediate success on the first day was a (pleasant) surprise. It also forced us to learn to be more prepared for the opening of our second store!
Is there an area of new growth that you’ve recently implemented or are planning to in the near future?
We are working on expanding our e-boutique to include shipping nationally across Canada. Further down the line, we may explore shipping to the U.S. as well.
Carolyn Grisold is the managing editor of Women of Influence Magazine and a contributing writer to various print and online publications (Post City Magazines, Toronto.com, Gallery Magazine, Argyle Magazine). Follow Carolyn on Twitter @CityandCharm. To suggest a female entrepreneur, please email email@example.com.