MAMIE'S Odissey - From Financier to Crepier, a Chronological Tale
For all of you out there who wonder how MAMIE'S came to be...
For the curious who want to dig a little deeper... 🎶
And because sometimes more is actually more...
Here is MAMIE'S story in chronological milestones 🎬
30th of October 1987:
My first day into the world... Wait?!? Am I going to go back that far? This is going to make up for one heck of a long story! Let me save you guys some time...
I'll admit I did change a bit during all these years though...
Fast forward to mid-February 2013:
(Yup. It feels like ages ago!!) I have been working in Finance for the past 4 years as a financial auditor, then financial analyst and finally head of a small wealth management company in Paris. The firm had to relocate to London in November 2012 which is how I ended up working in the city.
It's thus been a couple of months since I moved to London but I am getting quite bored. Not of being here of course, but with the industry, with my responsabilities and because in the end, I don't really have a passion for this.
These days we see so many people walking their own path and creating for themselves a work on their own terms (self-employment, arts, entrepneurship, NGOs)... That's it! It's decided! I am going to work on a project that matters to me!
28th of February 2013:
I hand-in my notice to my boss!! The clock is now ticking, I have 6 months to figure out what this path of mine is going to be... #SoExcited&SoIntimidated!
30th of August 2013:
My notice period is finished but I am still going to help part-time for a few months to maintain some revenues. And after considering tons of different ideas, my mind is made: I'm going to set-up my very own French crêperie in London. Lovely crêpes, galettes and Breton cider!!
But wait? Where did this idea come from?... A bit of back story might be required here... At that point, my family has been living in London for 7 years so even before I moved to the UK for work, I already knew its capital quite well (from week-ends or holiday visits). Also, my younger brothers are going to the French Lycée and we are starting to know all the good French places. Surprinsingly enough though, we never found a proper creperie here! Being Bretons on my father's side, we're hoping that someone will indeed, make our wish come true! How come nobody thought of it? It would be such a success!!
So here I am, all-in! I am going to go work in a crêperie in Paris to gauge whether it feels like something I want to be doing for the rest of my life...
7th of October 2013:
I start my first day as a waiter in a small (but it turned-out, AMAZING) Creperie in Paris: Chez Jeanne, 58 rue du Montparnasse. BEST CREPES IN TOWN! If you are in Paris, don't miss it! And say hi to Anne-Sophie (Chez Jeanne's young and bubbly owner and manager, my ex-boss) for me.
I begin to commute every week between the French and British capitals and work Mondays and Tuesdays in the City, and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Montparnasse.
It's an intense work-week but having a foot on each side of the channel and in those drastically different industries turns out to be incredibly motivating and fulfilling. I get to fully appreciate the best of the 2 worlds.
A few weeks in, it already feels right. I want to... You've guessed it... Dig deeper ; so I start to research crepes schools I can get trained at.
30th of January 2014:
I graduate from EMC2, a prestigious, accelerated creperie management course in Rennes (the famous capital of Brittany, home to LA galette saucisse). I'm starting to cook the crepes Chez Jeanne from time to time as well.
23rd of July 2014:
My creperie "crash-experience" is going really well and being absolutely worthwhile, but my project is starting to suffer. It feels like I am losing sight of the bigger picture. Being in Paris I can't really look for properties, I am starting to feel quite worn-off because of my work rythm so I can't really focus on business-plan writing either, nor starting to look for funding for that matter... A decision has to be made... And a few weeks later, here I am again... Back to London!
More commited than ever, I get cracking full time on my research! Commercial property rules and its market, restaurant business plans, health and safety requirements... And I still have to precisely define what will exactly be my "concept"... I take residence at the British Library for a few weeks.
14th of May 2015:
After several attempts at a complete and exhaustive business plan and several rejections from the landlords of a few properties, here I am... In possession of a polished and finalized document that outlines the strategic, financial, marketing and visual details of... MAMIE'S!
It took a massive amount of trial and error, some much needed advice from the Portobello Business Centre (London's best business development agency), a lot of help from Graphic Designer Pauline Fedec and from experienced food & restaurant consultant Vasken Jermakian at Foodication.co.
I can finally dedicate myself fully to the property hunt!
3rd of June 2015:
After countless visits across London. South Kensington, EarI's court, Mayfair, Brick Lane, the City... I set foot for the first time in Little Water, 19 Catherine street.
Initial reaction: The place is amazingly located but the layout (three small floors) is far from ideal. It feels small and I am not really projecting myself and MAMIE'S here...
11th of June 2015:
Number 19 Catherine street is still very much on my mind... Are the shortcomings of the place outweighed by its qualities? It really might be in the end... I decide to further investigate and get back in touch with the seller. The price is higher than I anticipated (but hey, it's covent garden...), the place is not ideal but we'll see...
13th of October 2015:
I've continued to visit properties... Fulham, Edgware road, Fitzrovia, just to mention a few... But nothing turns out to be as interesting as Little Water.
I get back in touch with the seller and after a few weeks of negocations, discussions and fine tuning of the project, I'm finally making an offer!
The very talented and visionary Alessio Nardi from A-Nrd Studio is designing MAMIE'S space and interior and Darran Smith from Fladgate LLP is helping me with the legal proceedings... THANK GOD they are both SOLID professionals! I could never have navigated through those things on my own!
14th of October 2015:
...Target hit! OFFER ACCEPTED!!
12th of January 2016:
It's been an incredibly long process... The negociations around the transfer of the lease, the amount of documents, reports and checks that we've had to inspect and study... I'm finally signing the first half of the deal. It is sealed, but still not yet officially approved by the actual landlord.
9th of February 2016:
And it's DONE! I got the keys to the property today!
#FinallyGotThere #Phew! #MuchWorkHasBeenDone
But it's far from being the end!!
In a way, This is only really the beginning...
Part 2. Coming Soon
It sounds silly but reflecting back on all this, I really need to acknowledge and thank a couple of people:
My entire family for their never-failing support, Pauline, PBC, Vasken and Foodication, Vana (which has not been mentioned above but deserves huge credits for her help), Alessio and A-Nrd Studio and finally Darran Smith and Fladgate.