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[Success story] - Anne Bienvenu

03 May 2023 Portrait
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My name is Anne Bienvenu, I am 27 years old. I grew up in Rennes, and after my high school years at Saint-Martin, I joined the International Bachelor Programme in Management at Rennes School of Business as part of Cohort 6. I specialized in marketing and communication. Then I entered a Master's degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship which I really enjoyed and which allowed me to understand the ins and outs of creating and managing a company.

As a high school student, I knew that the business world would appeal to me (even if I had hesitated with an art school after the baccalaureate). The IBPM program allowed me to do an internship every year. My three internships during my Bachelor's degree were very much oriented towards marketing and business relations, especially customer satisfaction, customer journey and sales. My first internship took place at Comptoir des Cotonniers (Rennes), my second at Société Générale (Regional Management of Brittany) and my third at IKEA (Pacé). At that time, I was less attracted to logistics, accounting, IT or HR. The best part is that today these fields are an integral part of my job, I had to learn to do everything and it came very naturally thanks to my studies.

In my Master's degree, I started an internship as a "junior consultant in strategy and innovative projects", in a company called Intelleco (Paris - 18th). My main client was L'OREAL. I had to detect for him the innovations in the cosmetic field of the biggest student initiative group, with the objective to create new product innovations for L'Oréal. I remember being surprised by the current trend at the time: cosmetics x video games, but also, cosmetics x food. I thought it was interesting. And I can assure you that today, chefs are very much in demand by cosmetic, fashion and luxury brands in general for collaborations. So all this was very interesting and formative, but also very far from what I wanted to do: cooking, doing something manual and creative. I was also uncomfortable wearing a suit, high heels, talking about daily figures, annual sales, afterworks... it's a cliché, but it was my reality, my daily life... and it's the image I kept of the business environment in big cities, intense and sometimes energy consuming. I left my position as a junior consultant, but also the great team of the company I was working for, with the agreement of my very understanding and encouraging manager. 

I changed my sector, but not my job. I joined a small culinary consulting agency called "TLM" (by the way, I think it no longer exists). TLM was helping third-party venues that had a restaurant business but for which it was not the main activity. Its clients called upon its services when the activity was not working (at least, not well enough according to their objectives) or on the contrary, when it was working too well but the managers did not have all the keys to evolve well. This allowed me to learn more about the restaurant business. At that time, 6/7 years ago, I realized that there was a real change in this field: formerly, the restaurant business was passed on from "father to son", nowadays (even if it is still the case), there are many reconversions, self-taught people but also women who join the field. Right now, in 2023, this is even more the case.

My MSC was organized in a different way from the other Masters, because we went on an internship in the middle of the course and came back for 2 or 3 months of defense after this internship. It was at this point that something quite funny happened: M6 contacted me to do a cooking competition with Norbert TARAYRE and Bruno CORMERAIS (the famous duo Jury of the Best Bakeries of France). The chain suggested that I participate in the contest as a duo: I instinctively suggested to my grandmother Hélène to do it with me. We were lucky enough to win the contest, and that's when it hit me: why not start cooking professionally, what did I have to lose? There was bound to be a way to combine my passion for cooking with entrepreneurship.

I decided to go to Paris to follow a short training course for adults. Not a CAP, just a professional training (I was aiming for Thierry Marx's school). I missed the registration for the beginning of the school year. I told myself that I would work as a clerk in restaurants until the next school year, that I would learn something and then I had to pay my rent and my groceries!

I worked for a few months in a Parisian restaurant in the 13th district (which also closed). I learned the codes of the profession, the vocabulary, some cooking techniques, the hygiene norms... I participated in the opening of a restaurant, learned the good practices, saw the things to avoid, the aspects to master, the ones to delegate... and I started on my own, without going through the "training" box.

  • Can you present your activity?

In 2018, I created "The Fermont" which was basically a cooking blog. Then, I cooked for some family events more or less big (at the time cooking for 30 was a very big event ahah). Then in January 2019, I turned "Le Fermont" (www.lefermont.com) into a business and got my auto entrepreneur status. At that time I started as a home chef: I would cook in the homes of individuals and professionals, occupying their kitchen for the duration of a meal.

In more than 5 years, the business has evolved (as have my desires: I have traveled, learned to sail, surf, permaculture in general and moved to the Finistère countryside near the sea). We became event caterers (cocktail parties, buffets, brunches and sit-down meals), decorators and event coordinators. Currently, we travel for events from 20 to 150 people. Today, I am no longer alone in the company, we are two "partners". Philippine, my childhood friend, joined me and manages the decoration and event coordination part. It's nice to delegate these tasks to her so I can concentrate on the kitchen. We are complementary, we move forward together, we create together, we organize together: everything develops faster and more easily. Our customers contact us for all their moments of life to celebrate (weddings, baptisms, birthdays). The cuisine we propose is a cuisine with Breton and Asian flavors from the market, so we cook with local, organic, fresh and seasonal products. We do not have disposable dishes because we have an approach which is really sustainable and ecological. We decorate the tables with high quality tableware, decorative accessories and flowers (as local as possible).

Finally, I "left" the corporate world for the kitchen world and found myself doing a mix of both. I am proud of the path I took in school because today I feel that thanks to RSB I have all the keys to running my business, and my passion for cooking does the rest. I evolve in an entrepreneurial environment that I find healthy, surrounded by other entrepreneurs who have the same values as me (there are many entrepreneurs in my close circle: craftsman, artist, sailor, graphic designer, tattoo artist, yoga teacher, florist...).

  • Your best meeting and best memory thanks to RSB?

I met a lot of nice people during my studies. My friends from my Bachelor's degree are still my best friends. My most beautiful meeting (it's a bit cliché to say it haha), but it's my boyfriend, who is called Witold. He was in P25, we do the same MSC IE, he is a freelance computer developer. He learned this job during an internship, today he still does it and works for cultural projects (besides renovating a very old Breton house that we bought). We are going to get married soon ! I also met his school friends who became mine.

I remember a sentence which had marked me the first day of school, I had met Omar teacher of IT. He said that a large percentage of us would meet our soulmate during our studies. We all laughed, and finally he wasn't lying!

  • What are the values you carry in your work?

You must always be optimistic and positive, you must believe in yourself (but always question yourself in order to move forward), never give up and work hard. I would say that you also have to be honest and benevolent.

These are also values that I apply in my everyday life because I am a whole person who loves others very much, so my work does not come from nowhere!

  • What is your greatest achievement?

I can't talk about great successes because I'm too young to talk about them, but at the moment, I can say that it's doing the job I love, blossoming and especially being able to live from my passion!

  • Do you have a hidden talent?

I don't think I have a hidden talent, although I'm starting to do a lot of DIY (woodworking, masonry, painting...)!  I have a secret passion for DIY tools, I can't stop buying them ahah

  • The final word?

There is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that helped motivate me when I was starting out and still does to this day: "Do something that scares you every day".

I believe that the essence of being an entrepreneur is to make quick (but not hasty) decisions.

Taking risks - measured and thoughtful - like investing at the right time and in the right tool.

It also means surrounding yourself with the right people, not neglecting those close to you, and listening to yourself first (if you want to do it and feel capable of doing it: go for it without listening to those who are scared for you).

You also have to take care of your body - to keep up with the intense rhythm and the stress.

To conclude, the adventure of entrepreneurship is scary but great and fulfilling. This sentence is my daily life! 

 

Find Anne on LinkedIn

 

 




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