- Anthony and Yami Rosemond moved to California in 2017 to set up an online bakery selling macarons.
- They researched the market before moving but already knew they loved the area.
- The state is the world's biggest almond producer and there was high demand for French baked goods.
This as-told-to article is based on a conversation with Anthony Rosemond, owner of macaron business Pastreez. It has been edited for length and clarity.
My wife and I uprooted our lives in 2017 to move to California and set up an online business selling macarons.
We were no strangers to relocating. Though we were born in France, we'd lived in Barcelona, Réunion, and Martinique for a few years before returning to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu. I'd worked as an engineer and manager and my wife, Yami, as a HR director.
But Yam and I had always dreamed of living in California after spending our honeymoon in the Golden State in 2010. So we decided to move there.
There's a business reason we chose California, too. Our most important ingredient is almond flour, and California produces two-thirds of almonds globally.
Before quitting our jobs and leaving Paris, we needed to understand the market for French pastries in the US. We used online visibility platform Semrush to research the size of the potential market and which competitors are already in the area – and found that there would be huge demand for our products.
The move to California was scary but also exciting – we had to adapt to a new country, language, and market.
When we arrived, we spent three months both living and baking in an Airbnb. We used Meetup to recruit people for focus groups and get feedback on our products. Once we settled on macarons as our core product, we tested the business – Pastreez – at a small scale by setting up at three farmers markets a week for a few months. We did this to determine people's willingness to pay and our most popular flavors.
In June 2017, we started renting a commercial kitchen. But we had to pay by the hour. It was increasingly expensive and hard to meet growing demand for our products.
We now have our own brick-and-mortar location in Phelan, southern California, allowing us to grow our capacity. As an online business, we don't need to be on a busy street and rural areas have lower rents. Customers who order online can come collect their products in person, though.
Pastreez ships throughout the US and finding a way to protect our delicate macarons was our biggest challenge. We needed to make sure the macarons arrived fresh and unbroken, so we adapted our recipe to make them lighter and started shipping them in insulated bubble pouches with air cushions.
Many of our customers want a unique gift. We get orders for baby showers, weddings, and custom corporate gifts. We even partnered with Netflix for "Emily in Paris" macarons. Prices vary but we charge around $30 for a 12-pack and $50 for 24. We've sold more than 1 million macarons so far.
Since September, we've been selling vacuum-sealed crepes, too, which were inspired by Table 87, a New York pizzeria that ships vacuum-sealed slices of pizza nationwide. Customers just have to take the crepes out of the pack and microwave them for a few seconds.
It's still just the two of us working for the business, though we hire help for specific seasons like the holidays. I'm in charge of marketing, customer service, and fulfilling orders, while my wife handles the kitchen.
I believe that is part of our success. The fact that with a team of two we can handle all of the business needs is priceless. We don't depend on anyone but us.