A reworking of Xavier Hugol-Gential, the founder of Fromaville
We can never say it enough, cheese is life! And it is not Xavier Hugol-Gential who will say otherwise. It’s been more than a year since this former product manager for feminine hygiene and cosmetics branched out into the dairy sector, creating Fromaville, an urban dairy located in Seine Saint-Denis. Far from scaring the entrepreneur, the big difference was, above all, implemented in record time: within a year and a half and for everyone. “My advice when you’re starting out is to jump in too early because if you start thinking too much, you’ll settle into doubt and fear and eventually give up. “, the entrepreneur notes.
Before spending his days in the Audonian workshop molding cheeses and yogurts, Xavier Hugol-Gential spent the first part of his professional life in the marketing department of the American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, where he became senior product manager. A future leader who is happy in his work and mainly in the company is then not in search of meaning, but rather in freedom. “The idea of an entrepreneurial project was to produce a product that was important to me. I did not see myself in the service at all“, he says. The young man quickly decided on the production and sale of dairy products, which gave him the opportunity to “experience” making cheese and yogurt.
The only cheese maker in 93
The would-be entrepreneur quickly moves from ideation to creation under Johnson & Johnson’s employment protection plan. “It was an economic layoff, so I had the option to leave. For me, that was the trigger! Entrepreneurship is still a big leap into the void, so being able to start with this type of plan gave me added security as I launched the project.“. For a year and a half, Xavier Hugol-Gential got acquainted with the processing of dairy products through short-term training courses in Cantal and completed these courses with work placements on farms. At the same time, the entrepreneur refines his business plan, concept and starts looking for a building. The demand for dairy products processing an important part given the location. And finally, knocking on the door of the municipality of Saint-Ouen, he finds a rare pearl. This city, rich in its industrial past that is still visible and which the entrepreneur wants to echo with his urban dairy, also has the advantage of not counting any rivals. .
“Settling in Saint-Ouen was also a way of getting the message across. Unfortunately, we do not always hear positively about Seine Saint-Denis, although it is an extremely dynamic department in terms of entrepreneurship. So, the more we show that the area is attractive, the more this negative image will fade.», says the entrepreneur.
However, opening an urban dairy is not without challenges. Cheese production in the city involves more complex milk delivery, taking into account traffic or access to the production area. Storage space is also less important. Hence the choice to turn to cheeses with a relatively short ripening period: four to eight weeks for the brand’s signature cheese, “claquos de Saint-Ouen”. Offer only local products in a short cycle, the entrepreneur also follows a zero waste policy. by setting up a deposit for his yogurt containers, an approach much appreciated by the Audonians.Compared to intensively farmed cheeses or yogurts, our production has very little impact on the environment. First of all, because we only collect local milk in the Oise and Aisne, but also because it is organic production and more precisely pasture milk, which means that the cows only eat grass on sunny days and grass in winter. harvest on the farm)“Says the owner. After recovery, the milk is processed in the Fromaville laboratory visible from the street, an option that is part of the DNA of dairy products: it offers complete traceability of the products sold.
Since opening, the menu has expanded. After “Clalos de Saint-Ouen” and “pavé des Puces” there are three small new ones: “fleuri”, a cheese covered with a mixture of flowers, “crémeux des Docks” of the Saint-Marcellin style or, again, “ash”, which takes its name from vegetable charcoal. with salting added to it. Xavier Hugol-Gential, taking advantage of all the possibilities offered by its raw material, has recently launched a new product very suitable for this winter period and for the World Cup: an organic raclette cheese made entirely in 93. Attention fans…