This is the latest entry in a series called Who Owns That. We ask readers on our LinkedIn group to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories.
Introducing Claudia M. Pharand, the co-owner of Olive & Olives, a company based in Montreal. She founded the company with her partner Daniele Beauchamp in 2003.
1. Let's start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
Daniele Beauchamp and I, both epicureans and curious businesswomen, founded the company in 2003 in Quebec. Olive & Olives works directly with producers in order to offer authentic and genuine products. It is by collaborating with these artisans of the earth that the company is able to give extra virgin olive oil the place it deserves.
Every single bottle of olive oil sold at Olive & Olives comes from a certified domain or cooperative and is made by producers renowned for their savoir-faire and devotion to their craft. Our goal is to share the knowledge of these artisans in order for customers to make a wise and informed choice.
Olive & Olives products are available for purchase in Toronto and Montreal and in Costco locations. We also offers tasting workshops, classes plus other activities and sells its products online.
There are five stores in Quebec and two in Toronto. Visit oliveolives.com for locations.
2. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to branch out on your own with this idea?
We're both entrepreneurs and since both of us knew that nothing can be done alone, we knew that we could make something by opening Canada's first store devoted to extra virgin olive oils.
3. Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
Our customers are true foodies who enjoy cooking for whom quality and discovering new 'terroir' products is exciting. A lot of them are wine lovers and enjoy the experience of coming into our stores to do olive oil tasting.
4. What are the roles of you and your co-founder in the business? Do you have any employees?
We split the roles between administration and sales and marketing. Depending on the seasons we have between 25 to 40.
5. You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
We are celebrating our tenth anniversary this year with the launch of our first grand cru. The fact that we have been able to grow and develop our business by sticking to our philosophy and working to make Olive & Olives known not only a brand but a reference in quality is definitely part of our success.