French macarons have been popping up in cafes and bakeries more and more in recent years. But Woops!, a French macaron company, is putting a new spin on this international treat. And the founders built the business largely by accident.
The french macaron company started as a pop-up in one of the most challenging markets in the world. And the team is making the business stand out by providing an authentic European-style experience to visitors. Read more about the company and its unique blend of offerings in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Serves French macarons and other treats.
Tal Avivi, co-founder and Chief Design Officer of Woops! told Small Business Trends, “Woops! serves hand-produced classic French macarons in over 20 flavors, as well as 20 other carefully curated international pastries and confections. However, the Woops! product offering isn’t limited to cookies and sweets. Woops! also features fresh sandwiches that are simple in concept but huge in flavor – perfect for customers on the go. Woops! also has its own unique blend and brand of coffee and trained baristas who are skilled in creating popular European caffeinated beverages such as macchiatos, cappuccinos and unique teas. Woops!’ beverages provide fantastic pairings with individual pastry offerings, making it fun to explore the whole menu.”
Providing a European experience.
Avivi says, “It’s welcoming, calming and the space is designed for people to come and sit and be creative. Our products are designed to be shareable and create conversations. Our customers come to Woops! to celebrate life’s’ special moments and share their everyday occasions with friends, co-workers and family.”
How the Business Got Started
As a pop-up shop.
Avivi says, “The Woops! journey began in 2012 when my three friends and I joined together to open a macaron pop-up shop in the heart of New York City at the Holiday Shops in Bryant Park. With the power of friendship, hard work, and a little bit of hope we somehow made it happen, selling over 100,000 macarons in less than 9 weeks! We realized that “Woops!” we had a business!”
Running that initial pop-up successfully.
Avivi adds, “The opportunity came out of no where and the decision to act and implement came seamlessly. It is literally something that you look back at and realize it was meant to be and happened at the right time, at the right place. Bryant Park during the holidays seems to be the middle of a perfect storm. You are located at the center of the best and biggest city in the world, surrounded by some of the largest corporations with money and power, visited by people from all corners of the world, during the shopping season when everybody wants to spend money. Not only did it pay off financially (over $250,000 in less than 9 weeks), but it also garnished attention from media outlets and leasing agents. Woops! Started with a bang and it never really slowed down since.”
Taking out a major loan.
Avivi explains, “A few years ago we decided to take a substantial SBA loan. That means that all of the partners have personal liability including all personal assets. This was a massive risk and huge undertaking for a young company. If the business does not survive, all of the partners would basically be left with nothing. Although the risk remains, Woops! has been able to survive and thrive so that we can continue making our loan payments. It makes for a special ride when you are all in it together, with so much to lose, but also so much to gain at the same time.”
It’s okay to make mistakes.
Avivi says, “If we could do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way. Although it was never perfect and always difficult, the only way you learn about your business is by getting it wrong. If we were to skip a difficult moment or big mistake, then I am positive that it would show up in the future to give us the same lessons we were supposed to learn the first time around.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Marketing, PR, and lead generation.
Avivi says, “We want to do everything we can to continue building the brand for the benefit of our franchisees and the company as a whole.”
Avivi explains, “Very early on when we first started franchising, we decided to start a yearly franchisee conference that we call WOOPSTOCK! Our very first year we had 70% attendance and we did it in a hotel in New Jersey. A few years later we upgraded to a Bahamas Cruise! Woopstock is an exciting and fun event that focuses on building a successful business and continuing training and education about our brand.”
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Images: Woops! Top Image: Raj Bhatt, Gil Kiryati, Tal Avivi, and Gal Danay