The first strategic turnaround in the life of chocolatier Michel Richart was when he decided to produce and focus on the art of chocolate making. Subsequently, he sold his bakery and moved to Fontaines sur Saone. He specialized in the sale of "anonymous bulk" for professional chocolate makers. The chocolates were sold to professionals, and were non-branded, in turn sold under their own names. This allowed professionals to have quality chocolates without having to produce themselves.
In 1983, the manufacturing plant moved to Saint Andre de Corcy, the current site of the house Richart, in order to expand and accommodate more inputs. The pastry-chocolate was not sold as traditional chocolates; the chocolates tasted good but did not have a particular visual quality or originality in the composition.
Moreover, Richart suffered from flagging sales owing to increasing competition in the market. To overcome this competition and win new market shares, Michel Richart decided to produce a new type of chocolate.
The clientele initially did not look very favorably upon the breach made by Michel Richart. He reluctantly proposed a new type of chocolate to a clientele accustomed to traditional chocolates. Unfamiliarity with the concept of "design" and its possible negative perception by customers, scared bakers refused to take the overall risk of failing to sell their chocolates.
This relative failure was addressed by Richart who became aware of the need for a new strategic shift. He therefore decided to embark on a new business: selling his products directly to end consumers. This designer type chocolate phenomenon was growing at the time in France, prompting the company to embark on this new market. The distribution of the chocolate gradually emancipated confectioners and the number of retailers (a large part from Belgium) was increasing.
Richart's decision to sell products directly is also motivated by an above average consumption of chocolate in France in the late 1980s. It became less difficult to "capture" new customers who were growing more adventurous and open to the idea of consuming a certain type of chocolate. In 1987, Richart opened his first boutique in Paris, in Boulevard Saint-Germain.
The success garnered by the store was immediate. He quickly removed his display of “traditional" chocolates meant to attract and reassure customers. The same year, Richart Design and Chocolate brand created a ‘chocolates organ' which could help customers sample different flavors of the chocolates. The number of outlets opened by Ricard on the other hand has continued to grow, both in France and abroad and now stands at 15.
Alongside the concept "design", Richart has developed an image of "luxury" with the brand. The development of this particular position has been possible through the expansion of its international business.
Apart from the 15 outlets Richart has opened on his own or in partnership with others, he also has "virtual" catalog listing all the flavors available on the Internet in Europe, Japan and USA.
The company generates annual sales of 9 million euros of which 40% was accounted for by Europe alone, 30% U.S. and 30% Japan.
Tags: Chocolatier Michel Richart, Richart Design and Chocolate brand, Export strategy of Richart chocolates
[...] Thus, consumers tend to think that RICHART chocolates are more beautiful than good. This impression is reinforced by the presentation of some shops of Richart designed by a design agency, where the premium is on aesthetic functionality, and gives an unwelcoming impression: "Our shops are scary" explained Michel Richart, "bad design is therefore necessary, since the function of a shop is attracting customers." This would be corrected by the company that undertook to redo its own shops. The effort of Richart for nearly 15 years, therefore partly explains the concept of chocolate design, which is to reassure consumers and encourage them to buy. [...]
[...] The willingness of Michel Richart chocolate is to restore all its nobility. Though chocolate was a luxury in the late 1980s, it did not offer the design aspect that Richart introduced. A. Proximity to suppliers 1. Dairy products The raw material supply is mainly from the Rhone-Alpes. The cream came from Normandy earlier, but it is now purchased from local cooperatives in the Bresse. Richart buys products that are good quality, but increases the geographical proximity of suppliers. This increases its flexibility and responsiveness in case of problems (e.g. [...]
[...] When he decided to stop selling anonymous bulk chocolate and to sell directly to end users while targeting customers who were seeking an original and "luxurious" product, most of his family members who held shares of the company opposed the move. Michel Richart benefited from the experience of family - his father - when he launched into the chocolate business. However, he then made the company virtually alone as he was abandoned by his family. Its success is a point proven against those who did not believe him. [...]
[...] The break for the aesthetic Richart chocolates is particularly remarkable in the shape and size of chocolates. The Richart Chocolate Factory was the first to make small shell shaped chocolates. This new way of making chocolate invented by Mr. Richart is essential for the taste qualities sought. This new machine is called the coquilleuse. The idea is to send very cold air to a hollow point dipped in hot chocolate. In contact with the cold, the chocolate crystallizes around the tip. [...]
[...] The, company according to Mr. Richart, is primarily artisanal, which explains the impossibility of replacing men with machines. The purpose of this maneuver is then to avoid shortages in stores and ensure the annual turnover since the period of very strong increase in activity corresponds to 40% of the latter. Selling chocolates through its stores abroad remains an important lever, to the extent that the climate does not necessarily correspond to ours and the habits of eating chocolate are different. [...]
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