I’m Jennyfer Delreux from Oh la la Shop, a small stall that sells French products in Coventry indoor market. As you can guess from my name, I am French myself. I come from Marseille, in the south of
France, the second largest city in France (Paris being the 1st one, of course).
I came to England in September 1997 with the intention to stay for a year in order to improve my English and employability back home in France. However, destiny decided otherwise.
After enrolling at Peterborough College for a NVQ in tourism and working as a barmaid at night in the Fifth avenue night club, I met my then future husband. Ironically, the guy was French as well. Well, to cut the story short, let’s say that it was love at first sight and we decided to stay in the UK because of his job.
In the 14 years that I have been living in the UK, I feel as if I have lived many different lives. From being a happy twenty something with no fixed job, to a full time mum of three, passing by being a full time student at Coventry University who graduated with a 1st class degree in English and Spanish in 2006.
Well, I am now in my mid-thirties and after struggling for so many years to find a job that really interested me and the French products that I love and miss; I decided to become an entrepreneur
and to open my own little business importing and selling French products.
The whole thing is pretty new, as I have only started trading since the end of November 2010. So far, the response I had from people at the market has been interesting. And that was the whole point for me to try out my products in the market first. Indeed, the products I sell are mostly unknown by the people of Coventry. Being based at the market, I can quickly see the response of potential buyers, see what they like and dislike and listen to their suggestions or requests. Indeed, some people will ask me for things they’ve heard of or that they saw or buy while holidaying in France. Other, will ask me about a certain product and ask for my help to choose one according to their likes and requests (e.g for the soaps advice about suitability for dry skin, suitability for vegetarians etc…)
My biggest hurdle so far has been enticing people to try the products such as Marseille soaps, the gourmet confectionery and the biscuits that I sell: Madeleine, Palmier, Sablé, Palet Breton.
However, my biggest pleasure and achievement is having customers coming back for more and saying how lovely the product was. I hope that all the experience I’m gathering now will help me
to understand my clientele better and enable me to develop this little venture further.
Jenny Delreux is a local entrepreneur operating from Tile Hill. She runs the Oh-la-la Shop selling traditional French soaps, lavender, sweets, jam and biscuits.
Tel: 078328 15254