On June 29th, the FACC held the Germinators Face-Off pitch competition for food beverage and hospitality startups. After a successful pitch and Q&A with the jury, Founder Chloe Vichot from Ancolie was awarded the HT Capital Partners Prize for her epicurian, sustainable cantine. Watch the event video to see her pitch!
The Ancolie concept consists of food in jars, but not just any jar. Reusable, environmentally friendly, glass jars. As a responsible business, Ancolie puts into action the reduce, reuse and recycle motto. In addition, they strive to educate New Yorkers to slow down, enjoy their food and make conscious decisions about their health and dining options.
After a career in finance, Chloe realized that her passion was elsewhere and she began her entrepreneurial journey as a business owner and chef. We spoke with her to learn more about her inspiration and advice for other FACC members.
As you mentioned during your pitch, the relationship with food and mentality around it in France and the United States is very different. How is Ancolie trying to educate and encourage New Yorkers to pause their busy lives to eat a healthy, sustainable meal?
CV: We try to engage and educate our customers via social media. Our captions are geared towards the slowing down and taking the time to eat. It is also part of our discussion at the counter with our customers. In fact, even without really pushing it, we see that our customers naturally pick Ancolie to relax and unwind from their busy day or just to take a quick break, which makes me really happy. A lot of the trainers from the gyms nearby come to work before or after their class while enjoying a nice drink or meal.
Who would you consider your biggest competitor in the city? Your biggest inspiration?
I think our biggest competitor (even if they are much bigger) is Sweetgreen. They are famous for their local sourcing, clean ingredients and delicious salads. We also provide super fresh and local ingredients. I know that we are a more sustainable and a faster option on the go (since our salads are ready to grab and go), we just need more people to know that we exist.
I am inspired by two amazing ladies who opened stores that I love: Michelle Gardner at Chalait, a matcha bar that has 3 locations in the city. She also converted from finance few year before me and has been a mentor since. The second one is Lauren Singer at Package Free Shop, a store in Brooklyn where you can buy all the reusable and package free options available today from toothbrushes to laundry detergent and of course it all comes without plastic. Lauren is the goddess of zero waste and inspires me everyday to do more for our environment.
What is the most challenging part of wearing multiple hats, that of business owner, chef & more?
The most challenging part is to find time to get it all done. I end up working a lot every day, but I am following my dream and enjoying every minute of it.
Would you consider NY a favorable environment for entrepreneurs? Why?
Yes of course and in addition being French also helps a lot. We are not too many French entrepreneur in NY so we help each other out a lot. When I started Ancolie, I was working at Spark Labs a co-working space of French entrepreneurs. Most of the contacts I use today and the persons that helped me to open and run my business came from there or from the connections of people working there.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other FACC members?
Follow your passion and go for it. Don’t wait until you find the right partner or for something crazy to happen. You can start today, while you are still working at your full time job! And then, once you have an idea, tell everyone to start making yourself accountable for it and start selling your product or service as soon as possible. It will never be as pretty or perfect as you would want it to be, but you will be able to get feedback and improve it so much faster (while you are starting to make money!).