What It's About
A Frenchman brings quality food products from Quebec to the rest of Canada.
Words of Wisdom
Unlike a lot of other online businesses we’ve featured, this kind of project comes with risk and will take time to succeed. Costs are high and whenever you’re purchasing a food product to resell, you have to deal with all those complications of shipping and storage and the need for it to go from your warehouse (or basement...) to the customer in a fixed period of time before it expires.
Cedric has been watching The Walking Dead, and starting this business has had another surprising benefit for him: in the event of a zombie apocalypse, he knows exactly where he’s headed—his warehouse full of French food. So, while the world is burning all around us, Cedric plans on living it up and snacking on foie gras and jam. We asked him for the address, but he’s not looking for any competition.
Notes from Chris
In a lot of ways, Cedric Fontaine is your typical Frenchman. He’s usually found with foie gras, cheese, bread, and butter on his plate, and he’s never far from a glass of red wine. And Cedric brought his love of gastronomy with him when he emigrated from France to Canada about 15 years ago to work as an eCommerce consultant. But upon his arrival, a friend informed him that he wouldn’t be able to find his favorite French flavors in Quebec. He almost got on the next flight back to France. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Cedric was determined to scour Quebec looking for a flavor from every region of the province. He began a directory of artisanal food producers and used that as a basis to begin his new venture, Terriors Quebec. Terroir was the perfect side hustle starting point because the word refers to the unique environmental context that helps give food its distinct flavor. Cheeses from different regions, produced in different seasons, can have characteristics that inform the taste and flavor profile. The same can be said for coffee, wine, chocolate, and even tomatoes. Cedric began Terroirs Quebec in 2005 with about 10 products and has since grown to about 400 different items. For the first five years, he kept the inventory in his basement, managing 1 order a month in the early days, scaling to 30 in the first years. For just a couple thousand dollars, Cedric was able to purchase a full inventory of his first ten products so that he had 12 of each—enough to launch his website. How did he choose those ten items? Well, he had a very specific idea of what his customer base was looking for because he was his own ideal customer. He was, and is, the kind of person who puts a lot of thought and care into the food they choose. They want to know where it comes from, they want it to be organic, and they are looking for labels without a huge list of ingredients. Less filler, more substance! While the profit margins might be lower than other side hustle avenues, Cedric can still use a lot of the revenue to invest in more products, advertising, and growth. But he also wants to make some money for himself, too, so he earns about 10% of his side hustle’s monthly revenue as his extra income. That means he takes home about $1,000 during a slow season that sees about $15,000 a month in sales, and upwards of $3,000 a month during the holiday months, which typically bring in about $35,000. What’s next in the world of fine food and maple butter? Cedric is looking for ways to tweak his shipping methods in order to increase his profit margins. Shipping heavy food products is always going to be a somewhat expensive venture, but he knows that there’s a better solution out there for him. He’s also working on a new website and expanding his product offerings to foods found all over the world—not just in Quebec. We’ll wish him Bonne chance since terroir and side hustle seem to go together as well as fresh cheese and warm baguette.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Terriors Quebec: Get a taste of Quebec—check out Cedric's full lineup over on his website!
- What’s In the Box? Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Snacks: A CPA and Side Hustle School listener learns to start her own subscription box. In less than a year, it brings in more than $5,000/month!
- Avocado Queen Earns $45,000 Selling Spreadable Granola: After sharing about her recovery from unhealthy eating, this health tech worker leverages an Instagram following and turns a kitchen experiment into a growing business
- NYC Banker Launches All-Natural, Drinkable Pickle Brine: When a NYC banker sets out to create a drinkable pickle juice, it turns into a big dill. You’ll relish the lessons from this story!
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