Tous Pour Les Toutous
At the very first Working and Living in France Conference in October of 2002, a young woman attendee raised her hand while legal advisor Jean Taquet was explaining how one goes about having the right to live and work in France. She had lots of questions because, as she so boldly told us all, she had the dream to live in France and a business idea she wanted to pursue to make it happen. It was an idea that made everyone chuckle…”Mon Bon Chien” — the first gourmet pet bakery in all of France!
She arrived about one year ago with her Golden Retriever “Sophie-Marie,” set out to accomplish her goal. With assistance from Jean Taquet to organize the legal aspects, the saga began. Quickly she befriended Marie-Elisabeth Crochard, co-coordinator of the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group who opened her country home for weekend-long “séjours linguistiques” where she improved her command of French. That was a lucky stroke for Harriet (Hat) Sternstein, because Marie-Elisabeth became the kind of French friend every American with a mission needs by his or her side.
For the past year, we have followed Hat in her quest to open Mon Bon Chien…discovering that creating a new business, as innovative as this one, can become a monumental task in France — far different from what would be massively simple to accomplish in the United States. Every time I saw Hat at Parler Paris Après Midi (or just by chance on the street in front of the BHV), she would jokingly say, “It’s all your fault. You said at the conference this could be done!”
Proof has it that it CAN be done, against all odds. In Jean Taquet’s March Q and A column, he glowingly reports on Hat’s trials and tribulations, one stumbling block after another, each one seemingly insurmountable. At the beginning the process appears simple and clear. He told Hat, “You obtain a visa to come to France, create an American corporation in France, change your immigration status in order to manage the French branch of the corporation, get the license from the French sanitary authority to open and finally, secure the shop.”
Jean writes, “All of this is more easily said than done. I cannot find the words to describe the hardships this woman went through to make this business a success. We could describe a normal day as nothing but ‘blood, sweat and tears,’ and during most of the fall and winter of 2004, I was regularly blamed for making her believe that this project was even feasible in the first place.”
Now a year later, against all odds, Mon Bon Chien is about to open (projected for April 2005) at 12, rue Mademoiselle, 15th (01 48 28 40 12) as an upscale pet boutique providing “tous pour les toutous” — upscale “toilettage” for all sized dogs, complete accessories, clothing, toys and as the exclusive distributor for “Solid Gold All Natural Dog Food.” “All dogs and people welcome!” Hat exclaims.
Hat’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs starting off on their own in France: “When you want to move to France as an American, you have to be willing to jump off the diving board with both feet, head first. The importance of having a “French Connection” cannot be stressed enough. Without Jean, Marie-Elisabeth and many other advisors and friends, it could never have been possible.” And on a final note, “Sophie-Marie has made the transition well from bagels to baguettes.”
Sounds to me like Hat has, too.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Read Jean Taquet’s March Q and A in its entirety at /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html. Plan on celebrating the 7th Anniversary of Parler Parlor March 19th — visit http://www.parlerparlor.com/ for more information. Come to the next “Après Midi” Tuesday, March 8th. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for all details. And to be notified when Mon Bon Chien officially opens its doors, email Hat Sternstein at [email protected]
P.P.S. Don’t miss this one…Psychotherapist Dale Novick Gaber is going to be discussing AMERICAN AND FRENCH CULTURAL SEXUAL DIFFERENCES Sunday March 6th at Paris Soirées Dinner. Scroll down for all details.
Parler Paris Seeking Intern to Become Assistant
This is someone’s lucky opportunity to get to know Paris and its Anglophone community from the inside out.
Parler Paris and French Property Insider is seeking a bright, young, hard-working very computer-literate American with basic working knowledge of Paris to intern as professional assistant to Adrian Leeds to start immediately and to become a permanent paid position in the very near future.
Skills required: Computer proficiency in Word; Outlook, Eudora or Other Email Program; Excel; PowerPoint; Internet search skills a must. Web design skills a big plus. Must have good command of English and the ability to write clearly, concisely and correctl
y. Must have good marketing and public relations skills, be personable, friendly, patient. Must be organized, manage details, have tidy work habits. Must have good working knowledge of Paris. Must be willing to make a long-term commitment.
Duties include: Email customer and reader correspondence, manage customer service issues, marketing and advertising coordination, light general office duties (filing, copying, posting, etc.), phone reception, etc.
Location: Can work from remote location via email and Internet any hours of the day, but must be located in Paris.
Serious candidates only, please send letter and/or resume to Adrian Leeds, [email protected]