Stéphanie SCHERMANN & Paulina CORTES are the co-founders of Joe & Avrels, an African high-end gourmet concept.Joe & Avrels was born in June 2016 thanks to the collaboration of three women: Nathalie, Stéphanie and Paulina. Rich in culture and diverse experience acquired around the globe, they launched the concept: Joe & Avrels, a high-end delicatessen with African influence. More than a nickname given to the founders, Joe & Avrels refers to a chic and modern Africa far from the usual clichés.
How was the idea of creating Joe & Avrels born?It all started off on holiday with Paulina when we discovered the book “Creating a Box for Dummies”. Instead of doing puzzles on the deckchairs, we flipped through this book throughout our stay. We returned to Paris with our idea and the inspiration to seize our opportunity to undertake it. Everything eventually happened very naturally. We helped Nathalie (Stéphanie’s mother) launch her new restaurant. In her establishment, she already offered some products for which she had a recurring clientele. A few months later, we decided to combine our three forces and give birth to Joe & Avrels.
When did you join HEC Paris?While the project was still young, we were seeking for advice and training, so we pursued the HEC Stand Up program in July 2016 in La Courneuve.
What lessons did you learn from this experience?This experience was extremely beneficial for all of us. It not only allowed us to get to know each other but also to validate the complementarity of our trio.
What are your links with the HEC Paris community?Starting a business as a woman presents challenges. The Stand Up program has provided invaluable support through its network of caring and supportive women. We have also created strong links with the academic team, who continue to support us beyond the training and regularly reach out to us for our input and experiences.
What advice would you give to get started?To encourage women who want to start a business, here is a quote by Xavier Dolan that motivates me every day:
“Everything is possible to [she] who dreams, dares, works and never gives up. “