How Marie Eiffel’s goal led to a thriving French gourmet store

French food retailer Marie Eiffel is in her office on Shelter Island, New York. She presents a new line of must-have t-shirts for summer 2022. This story tells how she got to where she is now and what motivates her to roll out of bed in the morning. Eiffel has fed everyone from Anne Hathaway to Bradley Cooper, and people around the world covet her cooking.

Eiffel launched his company in 2013 with zero capital and zero industry knowledge. However, she had an abundance of energy, a heritage from France and a goal: to give Americans real French food, for a better life with joy of living. And that was her goal, which she credits with helping her through the pandemic, much like a rudder on a sailboat in a windy storm.

“My purpose was strong. And if you don’t have a strong purpose to achieve your vision, you won’t get there. Your life and your work are one,” she says. “Don’t enter the arena if you’re not ready to die for what you believe in. You must be a gladiator.”

Eiffel spent his early years in France. His grandfather loved wine and he ate in some of the most inspiring restaurants in Paris. He was a bon vivant and knew everyone in the restaurant business. Eiffel was brought up with a special perception of taste, a sense of noticing flavors in food. In Paris, she trained as a classical musician and then became a successful actress on stage and on television. She then decided to move to New York to study at the Actor’s Studio.

Although her decision to move to New York was one of the best she ever made, Eiffel also realized acting was not her calling. One thing led to another, she saw an opportunity to start a gourmet food store in the Hamptons. “I woke up one morning and decided that I was going to give it a shot and on top of that, make it work. What I like the most is growing and contributing. Today I received two text messages from difficult customers who said that my vongola was unbelievable. It just made my day.”

One thing she quickly realized was that there was a market for delicious, natural French cuisine even in a small, bohemian island community in the Hamptons, which is frequented by artists, actors and creative types: I’m all about creating a lifestyle. you the freedom to eat well without gaining the kind of excess weight you get when eating out or eating poor quality food.”

American food culture has changed and today there is a greater demand for better and more delicious food. “To achieve my goal, my food is healthy. No cream, no butter, no gluten,” she says.

Eiffel’s success surprises her. “If someone had said I would start a business based on food, I would have laughed. I remember when I opened the business, a lawyer I wanted to hire was not sure if he wanted to work for me. He said, ‘Are you willing to lose $1 million? I said, ‘Isn’t that the name of the game? He said, ‘Well, let’s get to the game. job.'”

Eiffel continues: “There were many days when I said to myself, ‘what was I thinking?’ Especially during Covid when I saw the proverbial cliff and my business fall. But there were many other days where I felt extremely lucky to be doing something I love so much and growing every day.

Its business model has shifted from all-fresh food to some frozen items, which its Hamptons customers increasingly want: “They want to have delicious gourmet pizzas on hand and put them in the oven for 15 minutes…And boom, ready to serve.”

Today, she and her partner, Jason’s 2,000-square-foot waterfront store, prepare fresh homemade dishes like Marseille-style bouillabaisse, lamb stew, fresh croissants, pastries fresh (such as tarte tatin) and baguettes made with French flour – plus a growing online nationwide frozen food delivery service.

The joy of it all helps deflect the challenges of running his own business over the past three years. “It really was a daily struggle, if I’m being 100% honest,” says Eiffel. “It took me a few years and only now am I living a full life. Work has been my whole life and it has kept me excited and stressed. It has also allowed me to live a life with great joy. My father was from Normandy, where crème fraîche was part of most dishes. We called it the bear. When I moved early, I asked myself: how can I create a relationship with him? I only had a small kitchen, but I learned to make a tarte tatin and serve it with fresh cream. I perfected the dish. To the point that my father came regularly to eat it. . And we started to communicate. That’s the power of cooking. I cherish his memory eating with love, and putting a big spoonful of cream-covered pie in his mouth, and his eyes could tell me how great he was. happy and satisfied.

“We have a lot of young people working for us, all incredibly talented. When they ask me, I tell them that regret is much worse than never having tried, and worse than failure. When it comes to creating a business, you just have to start.In the end, that will be what you make of it.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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