Photo: Lucie Sassiat
Inaugurated in 2019 rue de Bretagne, Maison Vérot is often considered the “haute couture” address for charcuterie with its light, even vegetable, exotic but also traditional recipes. Its pâtés en croutes and head cheeses can be found on the menu of Brasserie Lipp and Café de Flore or in New York with star chefs. One of the three Vérot establishments located in Paris (with 70 employees in total) is located in the Marais, rue de Bretagne, where its co-founder, Catherine Vérot, tells us about her trajectory.
• What was your path to your current role at Maison Vérot?
I was studying an English degree when I met my husband but I quickly realized that it was not my path, so I switched to a hotel school.
My husband was an apprentice in my parents' delicatessen, in Paris in the 17th.
Between us, it was love at first sight. And it seemed natural to us to work together. My husband is also a child of the ball, coming from a family of charcutiers, in Saint-Etienne. Well known, their company has been a Saint-Etienne institution since 1930.
I was greeted very warmly by my in-laws and my husband's uncle and aunt. We got along well, perhaps because I knew the problems of the profession. Young and probably too impatient, we wanted to restructure everything and encountered some resistance. Rather than getting angry, we returned to Paris in 1990.
• Have you started your own business?
Not immediately. The idea tickled us but we didn't have the means. We saved while working for my parents and in 1997, we opened our first address, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, in the 6th arrondissement. We named it “Charcuterie Gilles Vérot”.
• And why not “Charcuterie Catherine Vérot”?
At the time, chefs called their restaurant by their first and last name and I thought it was good to show on the sign who was in charge of the workshop.
We only had one employee and we did 3/8, it was exciting but exhausting.
I took care of reception and, as you can imagine, many other things such as administration, while my husband worked in the workshop with an apprentice.
One day when I was discussing my status with our accountant, he explained to me that it is traditional not to declare the wives of charcutiers and that they usually do not have a pay slip! I protest against this archaism which amounts to saying that the wives of charcutiers do not exist, including when they work every day in the family business and are its co-creators. My husband supported me from start to finish.
Since the beginning of our entrepreneurial adventure, he and I have been 50-50 partners. Needless to say, we quickly separated from the accountant... In 2005, we renamed our business “Maison Vérot”.
• Were both of your families and friends supportive?
Both of our families were very supportive. They mainly helped us by looking after our two children. Their moral support and encouragement were also valuable because every young entrepreneur goes through moments of discouragement. Some of our friends, on the other hand, did not understand our investment. Some friends were surprised that I wasn't available on weekends and that I didn't know the latest fashionable boutique. They seemed to think my life was empty. Because of this misunderstanding, we drifted apart.
• How are you perceived as a female business leader?
Our children are proud of their parents and tell me that I am a mother who has accomplished something. They grew up seeing that gender equality existed on a daily basis. Beyond them, the status of entrepreneur confers a certain authority. It’s rewarding because people respect entrepreneurs. I am fulfilled and free because I have the feeling of having my life in hand. I don't feel any limitations, like the famous glass ceiling that exists in certain companies.
• What lesson can we learn from the Covid 19 crisis?
That nothing is ever taken for granted, you must always reinvest and reinvent yourself. Seventy employees depend on us and there is no question of leaving them behind. They don't have amazing salaries and, humbly, I would say that we owe them everything. When the lockdown was announced, everyone felt a form of despondency but everyone gave their all. My husband and our son (who joined Maison Vérot) wrote a book of easy-to-make charcuterie recipes: Terrines, rillettes, sausages & pâtés, 89 homemade charcuterie recipes (editions du Chêne). We have also improved our product offering and our website.
• The best advice anyone has given you for success?
You have to have confidence in yourself, know exactly what you want. Being driven by boundless determination, almost rage. When you're an entrepreneur, you have to climb the ladder and surround yourself with honest people. Back then, when I needed to cheer myself up, I would go jogging while listening to music from the movie Rocky. A quote from La Bruyère has become my leitmotif. I had also written it on the desk of each of my sons: “Never go to sleep thinking that something is impossible to achieve, you could be awakened by the noise that someone else would make while carrying it out. your place. »
38, Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
From Tuesday to Saturday 9AM - 18PM
Sunday 9 a.m. to 13:30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Tel: +01 42 72 27 43
Text: Katia Barillot
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