When Rebecca Tison passed by a choux à la crème (cream puff) shop in Paris, she had a revelation: to transplant the concept in New York. On Wednesday, August 28, she opens Barachou, a cream puff bar, on the Upper West Side. “Starting my own business was a childhood dream and also a way to stay here,” says the Frenchwoman who was working at BNP-Paribas Bank in New York on a VIE, France’s program that allows people to have a first experience working abroad.
The concept: sell colorful choux with unique flavors, including some adapted to the American palate (peanut butter, strawberries and cream, Oreo…). “Visually, it’s very Instagrammable, we’re even going to make leopard-print choux,” smiles Tison. “The aim is to make our own unique choux and offer different flavors almost every week to match to the seasons and big events.” In the future, she hopes to build partnerships, host pop-ups in markets such as Le District or Chelsea Market, and offer catering services.
Choux, or cream puffs, as Americans call them, are not well known in the United States. At least, not in the way the French do them. “There are a few Japanese choux but they are very big, there’s no colorful topping. And they’re not very original flavors,” says Tison, who claims to have the first store dedicated to choux in New York.
To make them the best they could be, Tison hired a young pastry chef, Aurélien Decaix. They’ve already had many requests for catering that they’re not able to meet at this time.
Creating the choux bar was not easy for Tison, who has embarked on the adventure on her own. “The main thing was to convince the owner of the storefront to give me a chance. I’m 28 years old, I’ve never had a business before, I’m not American and at the time I didn’t have a visa,” she recalls.
Surprisingly, the fundraising aspect was quite simple for the young businesswoman, who found three investors via Facebook: “I never posted a message saying I was looking for some, they came to me!” After raising $100,000 in this way, she decided to launch a participative financing: “I could see that my expenses were starting to increase and it was also a good way to get some recognition. It’s a bit like free advertising that makes us money.” She was able to get an additional $19,000 that way. “There were things that seemed insurmountable to me, but now I’m well versed. Everything happened quite naturally,” she smiles.