Making Moves Podcast | Corporate to Successful Entrepreneur

The Making Moves Podcast (with business guru's Seema Alexander & Kelly Lynn Adams) is dedicated to helping 9 to 5'ers, side hustlers & entrepreneurs go from following the rules to creating their own. Get ready to be exposed to weekly bite-size trainings and inspiration about business building, money making, mindset training, and so much more. You will hear from top entrepreneurs and influencers (in all industries) tell the good, the bad and the amazing of the journey from employee to entrepreneur. This is the place to learn more so that you can be, do and have more.
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Making Moves Podcast | Corporate to Successful Entrepreneur


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Jan 30, 2017

Elisa Marshall is the Founding Partner of Maman--a french-inspired bakery and café in SoHo, New York City and Toronoto,

  • [01 : 22] -Maman serves locally sourced, family-inspired dishes and baked goods, both savory and sweet, from the South of France and North America. In this collaboration, Elisa manages the design and packaging, handles front of house and contributes to the recipes and baking.
  • [01 : 22] - PASSION is Elisa’s motivation and drive in making a move in her career from stability to opening a restaurant and tackling entrepreneurship head-on.
  • [02 : 45] - Elisa was doing everything at 20% of capacity for each area from fashion to baking, event planning, interior design, marketing, etc.  This was not fulfilling enough.
  • [03 : 10] - Created a world for herself and doing everything she loves all under one roof – that’s how Maman, a French-inspired bakery and cafe came about.
  • [04 : 10] - Elisa’s first business partner was her husband, Benjamin Sormonte and still is.
  • [04 : 54] - Three of Benjamin’s friends who were from part of a large hospitality group invited Elisa and Benjamin to join them.
  • [05 : 19] - Elisa and Benjamin quit their jobs and took a big leap.
  • [06 : 00] - Working in that restaurant was a great learning opportunity before venturing to do their own thing.  Be prepared to learn.
  • [06 : 49] - What should we do and what should we not do in “Partnership” and “Founders”? - Ensure that we have separate strengths and weaknesses.  There should be no gaps and not too much overlapping as both can cause issues.
  • [10 : 07] - One of Benjamin’s childhood friends is Michelin star chef Aramand Amal.  Chef Aramand’s accolades added credibility and made people take them more seriously.  Credibility is important.
  • [10 : 35] - Intimidated by the New York market, they needed to have the competitive edge, something more special.  Be different.  
  • [10 : 53] - Elisa’s recipes were given to Chef Aramand and he tweaked them to make it special.
  • [12 : 07] - Branding is super important – how do you balance food quality and ambience for a new restaurant? - It’s very important that they go hand-in-hand, especially in New York where competition is fierce.  
  • [14 : 42] - How much does marketing and PR play a role or is it just plain word of mouth? - We are fortunate because a NY restaurant opening in Toronto sounds much more intriguing to the media than vice versa.
  • [16 : 00] - Our coffee cups are unique and eye-catching.  In SOHO NY, we are in an environment where we can have celebrities come in and Instagram something.
  • [19 : 03] - How do you manage the process of moving to the other locations? - It’s a matter of finding the same level of expectation and interest.  Finding staff is the biggest problem in NY.
  • [21 : 10] - If you could go back and redo the investment for Mamon, what would be the two things you would have invested first?
  1. People
  2. Aesthetic


  • [23 : 45] - No. 1 advice to fellow “transitioners” who want to start a restaurant business today.
  1. Transitioning in general – to really create a world for yourself and make sure what position you are transitioning into, that you’re passionate about, that you love and that you’re willing to sacrifice a lot physically, financially and emotionally.
  2. Restaurant industry – willing to work very hard, probably ten times harder than you ever anticipated it to be, finding and managing good people.

Key Points:

  • Be prepared to learn
  • Credibility is important
  • Be unique and different
  • Be passionate and love what you do



  • [28 : 52] - Maman has six locations:


  1. SOHO
  2. Tribeca
  3. Franklin
  4. Greenpoint, Brooklyn
  5. International Centre of Photography Museum
  6. Toronto


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