For Subscribers

This French Foodie Sensation Is Coming to the States

In France, he's a celebrity. In America, he's nobody.

By Jeff Chu • Sep 28, 2016

Photographs By Donald Milne
Augustin Paluel-Marmont, CEO, Michel et Augustin.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In January 2015, the French cookie sensation Michel et Augustin dispatched a scout to New York. His mission: to begin to replicate the company's considerable Gallic success in the United States. "We wanted trendsetting stores, where we know buyers, important people, go to get the future," says the one-man, English-isn't-his-first-language advance team, Antoine Chauvel, now VP of sales in the U.S.

His biggest score, it turned out, was at Manhattan's Bedford Cheese Shop. There, in the springtime, someone from Starbucks purchased a small packet of the cookies. And on a Thursday afternoon in June of that year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's assistant placed a call to Michel et Augustin's Brooklyn HQ: Could they send samples in time for a tasting on Monday?

A caper rapidly unfolded. The requested cookies weren't stocked in Brooklyn, and weren't guaranteed to arrive in one piece or on time if they were shipped, so two Paris staffers were lined up to hand-deliver the samples. Then Augustin Paluel-Marmont, the company's CEO, cofounder and partial namesake, concocted a social media plan. In the States, Michel et Augustin meant nothing -- yet -- but in France, it's a household name with an active tribe. It enlisted its followers to tweet and Instagram photos of themselves enjoying Michel et Augustin products with Starbucks coffee, using the hashtag #allezhowarduncafe. (Loose translation: "Howard, let's go have a coffee.") Hundreds did so while the brand's Seattle-bound ambassadors live-chronicled their journey. Schultz's wife somehow came across the campaign and alerted her husband. A week later, the cookies made their debut in 26 Starbucks outlets in Manhattan. Within six months, they had gone nationwide.

Bonjour, America.

Augustin Paluel-Marmont, CEO, Michel et Augustin.

Even a crumb of success in "the homeland of the cookie" would represent massive growth.

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, get access to a ton of exclusive content and resources that will help grow your entrepreneurial mindset. You’ll find:

  • Exclusive content from our network of today’s leading CEOs and business strategists
  • Receive our flagship Entrepreneur Magazine - free!
  • No more ads, and get access to the Entrepreneur+ homepage
  • Free E-books written by our staff and other industry thought leaders

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

Frontier Airlines Just Announced Its All-You-Can-Fly Summer Pass for $399. What's the Catch?

As travel begins to pick up, the airline hopes unlimited travel will jumpstart its business.

Buying / Investing in Business

Here's What You Need to Know About the Changing Face of Venture Capital

The picture of a venture capitalist is changing. Gen Z angels, digital natives and purpose-driven investors are leading the charge in venture capital, aiming for higher returns with less risk.

Business News

This New AI Technology Will Turn Your Ex Into a Red Flag, Snake or Even a Dog

Picsart's "Replace My Ex" might be the next-best solution for the heartbroken.