KEDGE graduate David Notteghem's wine selected at the...
To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE?
I got a double degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Assas in Paris and then did parallel studies at KEDGE in Marseille. My studies there were very international. After the first year, I decided to do a year abroad, so I studied in Shanghai for a year and then went to Dubai for my final internship working in Revenue Management for the Accor group. I didn't know the hotel business before that, but I ended up working in the industry for six years.
When I was at KEDGE, in Marseille, I was a member of the student association Linkedge, which organises sports events that bring students and executives in the Marseille region together. I met some wonderful people there, some of whom I’m still in contact with today.
Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?
After I graduated, I stayed in Dubai with the Accor hotel group and got my first full job with them. I was hired as a Business Analyst covering a portfolio of seven hotels. It was an incredible experience and I worked with exceptional people. I was quickly promoted to MIS & Compliance Manager (the right hand to the CFO) and had a team of 20 people. That position gave me the chance to prove my managerial and organisational abilities to the company.
What are you doing today? What gave you the idea and the desire to do what you’re doing today?
I was thinking about starting a craft brewery for a while before Covid-19 hit. My fondness for beer and my family's experience in wine production gave me the desire to create such a project. I was a bit bored of the industrial beers that we regularly drink and I became more interested in exotic beers that allow us to discover new flavours and aromas. They are much more complex than we can imagine. So, I worked on a business plan when I was in lockdown in the Emirates.
In June 2020, when I got back to France, I decided to tour several regions in France to visit magnificent locations and try as many craft beers as I could. I had an idea of what was available on the market and wanted to tweak it to my palate. Last September, I got some professional training in brewing in Paris. That was when it really hit me that I was going to follow my dreams and become a brewer and entrepreneur. After eight months of intense work, deliberation, telephone calls, multiple kilometres, and endless meetings, I finally finished creating my company: La Brasserie de Senlis!
This 100% organic craft brewery takes us back in time. The brewery is located in Senlis, near Paris, which is the historic city of the Capetian dynasty. Senlis Brewery has recreated the medieval art of brewing with honey and offers four essential organic beers and one Elixir beer with royal jelly. I use only honey from organic flowers for its low bitterness and sweet floral notes. Inspired by the medieval history of this city, I wanted to replicate an ecosystem that is sustainable, local, ethical, and committed to producing organic products that are very close to the products you would have found at that time. Our first beers are scheduled to be released in July and I’m launching a crowdfunding campaign on Ulule to raise brand awareness and help launch our products. This is probably one of the most exciting moments in my life because creating something from scratch in the area I grew up in is a very powerful feeling. I almost feel like I'm giving birth to a future legacy for this region.
What are your development goals for the future?
My first goal is to get firmly established in the Senlis region, deepening the company’s roots and proving myself in the industry before attempting to expand further. The next step would be to expand in the Paris region, which is only 40 minutes from the brewery. For that, I'm going to offer beers that are a little more fashionable, such as IPA, Pale Ale, Stout, Triple, and gluten-free beers, so I can cater to a more developed market and satisfy the growing demand for organic products. After that, I hope to expand as quickly as possible throughout France, using the network I’m in the process of building, and which will, hopefully, bring me to La Canebière and Notre Dame de la Garde.
If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be?
It would be to really do what you desire. When I was working abroad, friends, relatives, and even family would say to me, "You’re crazy to do that! It's too risky! You should do X instead" about things concerning both the professional and personal aspects of my life. You have to listen to those statements, of course, because they help you weigh the pros and cons. However, you also have to know how to take what opportunities arise and gain experience. And you mustn’t hesitate to become an entrepreneur because I think that that’s where you learn the most.
The training I received at KEDGE greatly contributed to who I am today. We’re lucky to have qualified and experienced teachers and lecturers who pass along their knowledge and discipline in the work to be accomplished. The experience you gain in student associations is also a very big factor in what you are taught, and it’s where I discovered the fundamentals of the business world. More than anything, KEDGE is a network of extraordinary students and graduates located all around the world. I was lucky enough to take part in events organised by the school's Alumni branches while living on the other side of the world. I met people there with whom I still associate today.
Anything you’d like to add? A message to pass on?
I'm starting an Ulule campaign to help launch the brand. Please have a look at the campaign, watch my video, and hopefully, I’ll have convinced you into buying a pack! You can also help by sharing the campaign link with your friends and family to give my project as much visibility as possible!
- Website: https://brasseriedesenlis.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brasseriedesenlis/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/brasserie-de-senlis/