KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, talking management for The Globe and Mail. Today, I am delighted to speak to two new entrepreneur sisters [Chelsea Beloff and Ali Beloff], former students of mine here at McGill, who have started [MUthins], a company selling muffins to the world, and very healthy muffins, I may add.
So Chels, you quit a great job at Michael Kors, high fashion, just recently to do this. How did you find the nerve to give up that career in order to do this?
CHELSEA BELOFF – It was a big decision for me. I had been there for about two years, and I was doing the social media for Michael Kors in Canada. Since I’ve graduated from McGill, I graduated with a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship – I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit within me and a fire to make my own changes and I just got to a point where I had learned so much and I am so grateful for my experience there. But I had got to a point where, it’s an international brand and you don’t always see the work that you are doing and see an immediate result because you are working for this machine. So, we had our muffin business on the side and I thought, it is time and I am going to give it my all and really take a leap of faith. It’s very risky but I feel good every day about my decision.
KARL MOORE – Would you recommend to a young person to spend a couple years in a big corporate [entity] before going out on his or her own? Did you find that really valuable?
CHELSEA BELOFF – Oh definitely, 100 per cent. My experience there, it was invaluable. Working for a company of that stature and that size, there are so many moving parts that you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to, which was so beneficial for me. I would go to New York for fashion week and I would be in the same room as a representative from the Philippines and Europe and Saudi Arabia, and Dubai, and just feeling like you are a part of such a global brand, is such a great experience. I have learned so much in my experience there, but it’s time to do [something for] me.
KARL MOORE – So you have done well in Montreal. Where do you see your growth opportunities from here?
ALI BELOFF – Short term, I think that we want to obviously tackle a few more markets in Canada, such as Toronto and Vancouver. I think that our business model is one where we can replicate in different areas. We barely have any overhead costs; we right now are at a contracted bakery that we started with two years ago, and we have a delivery guy doing deliveries every week. So it is really a matter of mimicking this business model in all these different areas, finding that bakery and, as a sales force going in and pitching our muffins and spreading the muffin love.
CHELSEA BELOFF – I think what’s unique to us is that we have set up a model where which our expenses are directly related to our orders, so we never have to dish out “X” amount with a risk of whether or not we see the return. So it has been great.
KARL MOORE – Listening to this, couldn’t anyone just copy your muffins and go on from there?
CHELSEA BELOFF – No, because they don’t know the secret recipe.
ALI BELOFF – Our recipe is heritage; no one will have that.
KARL MOORE – So what’s the recipe?
CHELSEA BELOFF – We can’t tell you.
ALI BELOFF – It’s a secret.