Small Business Spotlight
Small businesses and the people who own and work in them are the heart of our Nashville community. In this new series, we’ll highlight independently-owned businesses, and learn more about the folks that make them run.
Meet Guenievre Milliner of Little Gourmand
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always been a foodie, and passionate about food. I was looking for a way to share this passion and worked on an extensive market research back in 2012 to find the right city to do it. Nashville ranked #1 and here we are!
What sets your business apart from everyone else?
We offer a true French experience, like no other place in Nashville. The market in Green Hills has a wide range of imported products that cannot be found elsewhere, and the Patisserie in Melrose is a unique concept, similar to any upscale patisserie in France. I have always refused to compromise and what we offer is genuinely authentic, even though it comes with lots of efforts.
Why do you love what you do?
What I love the most is something I had not seen coming when working on my research and business plan: bringing joy. That part of the job is unmeasurable but seeing customer’s eyes light up, being part of their daily life and important celebrations, receiving the kindest messages, knowing their names and what they like… that make all the struggles and short nights worth it.
What has been your biggest success to date?
The opening of the Patisserie last year. We are a very small business and I am the CEO, buyer, HR, do sales and marketing as well as product development, so I knew that opening a second space would add a lot of pressure. Add a pandemic to the equation and all the adjustments we had to do to go through 2020… Almost a year later, I am extremely proud of the Patisserie. I have an amazing team there and they are a big part of this success.
What is another Nashville small business or organization you are inspired by?
I admire small businesses that have been there for years. It’s something to run a trendy business for a few years, or to be backed up by a group, but running a small business on your own for many years, with all the struggles and sacrifices, that is something that I respect tremendously. Margot McCormack, who opened in East Nashville long before it was a trendy neighborhood, or Seema Prasad at Miel are probably some of the women who inspire me the most.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start their own business?
Make sure you have a unique offer and stick to it. Never get discouraged. It took us a while to find the location on Craighead and we couldn’t get some other spaces because we were competing with bigger groups. Looking back, I am so happy we didn’t get these! Same for the team, when it doesn’t work with someone, be confident that there is someone better waiting… And other than that, know that it’s work, work, work… Running a small business is 24/7 so be sure you love what you do.
Step into Little Gourmand and feel as though you’ve waltzed into a French market. This intimate, upscale pantry is filled with tasty delicacies that can’t be found in other groceries. Whether you are looking for that perfect spice to finish a dish or need a considerate gift for a hostess or friend, Little Gourmand has treats for any season. Learn more.