In the past few years, Catherine Bodson has really created something amazing with Pipaillon. She started off with making her first glass jars of traditional jams, chutneys and tapenades – all in the kitchen of her Brussels home. Today she runs a cannery that spoils gourmets around the globe.
When Catherine started Pipaillon, she already had a great career at the European Commission. “I was looking for a new challenge that allowed me to combine cooking and business – my two great passions.”
Catherine saw a market in offering delicacies in glass jars, which she could ideally also sell herself in a store where customers could taste the products. “By chance, I heard about OpenSoon‘s new project call.” To apply, Catherine quickly created a solid business plan. “While drafting such a business plan was entirely within my comfort zone, the next steps brought me completely out of my comfort zone. There’s a huge difference between making jam in your kitchen or producing on a larger scale for the consumer market.”
“I then started to focus on refining recipes and packaging products sustainably and attractively in glass jars. That was…until I suddenly realized that my production costs were higher than the selling price! In this moment, I started to have some serious doubts.”
Pipaillon’s 100% organic products became a great success
Seven years after starting out, Pipaillon was ready to find a larger workshop. The store on Brussels’ Brandhoutkaai, though, remains as the flagship store where customers can go for coffee and pastries, a fresh supply of jam, tapenade – or any other flavour bomb in a glass jar.
Today, Pipaillon boasts an extensive assortment which is also catching on in France, Germany, Korea and Japan. “Our secret? Quality. We stick to the artisanal preparation of our products. And in the meantime, we try to grow, little by little, supported by our loyal customers.” How does hub.brussels fit into this success story? “At hub.brussels and 1819, we could count on valuable advice and guidance that we received from the very start, straight through to conquering new markets abroad.”