Noemie Zysermann reunites stateside customers with their favorite treats from France.
By: Cassandra Aquart, July 26, 2017
For Noemie Zysermann, Cornell was more than making lifelong friends, taking courses taught by esteemed professors, and pouring over game theory problem sets. It was where she cultivated life skills that would later become critical when she reached a crossroad in her life last year: continue climbing the corporate ladder or start her own company. Today, Zysermann is her own boss. She launched Noemie’s Pantry, an online food retail business, in February 2017.
Born in France, Zysermann came to the U.S. to go to college in 2007. She wanted a life that reflected her independent spirit—a stark contrast to Parisian college life where everyone lived at home. At Cornell, she studied Economics and embarked on a career in finance at a Fortune 50 company after graduation. As part of her job, she had to relocate every six months for a couple of years, often to far-flung places before settling in NYC. So every time she moved, she had to once again adapt to her surroundings—a life skill she acquired at Cornell. There, she had to adapt to a new country, college life in the U.S., living on her own, and, of course, Ithaca and the temperamental weather. Those experiences taught her that she could adapt and thrive in any environment. So she kept going.
It was while living in NYC that she came up with the idea for her business. After speaking with other French nationals, she realized that they all did the same thing when they visited France: filled up their suitcases with tons of food to bring back to the U.S. At that moment, she knew she had a great idea and a viable market. This was just the spark Zysermann needed to ramp up her efforts.
So last fall that is exactly what she did. For several months she juggled the demands of her finance job with launching her company. That meant burning the midnight oil to cram as much work as she could in a day to achieve her dreams. Zysermann (like most Cornellians) was no stranger to hard work, multi-tasking, and working long hours—life skills she picked up while meeting Cornell’s rigorous academic standards.
About five months ago, Zysermann took a leap of faith and left her successful career in finance to follow her passion and fulfill her dream of entrepreneurship, which she credits to her Cornell experience. “Cornell really showed me that nothing is static. You can change something if you want to change it,” Zysermann proclaimed.
Noemie’s Pantry is an online destination for people craving their favorite foods from abroad and foodies curious about international goodies. “It’s a business that reminds people of being home with their family,” Zysermann explained. Customers can fill up their carts with what they like and can buy as much or as little as they want. And with shipping throughout the U.S. and to Canada, customers living on this side of the pond can satisfy their cravings with treats from their native country any time they want. Currently, Noemie’s Pantry is stocked with about 50 French treats. Zysermann plans to expand her French product offering and stock up on tasty treats from other countries like India.
And Zysermann’s favorite pantry staples: She loves the all-natural Teisseire Grenadine Syrup. “In France, kids have it for their afternoon snack and adults use it sometimes in their cocktails,” she noted. “In the summer, everyone has it at least a couple of times a week.” Zysermann prefers to add a bit of it to sparkling water for a refreshing drink. (Check out the recipe on her blog!)
Another personal favorite—and a cult favorite too!—is the Milk Chocolate Granola. These are shortbread cookies with a thin layer of milk chocolate. “I actually ran out of these within three days of launching,” Zysermann exclaimed. And if you eat the entire box, there’s no need to feel too guilty. They’re actually a bit healthier and the portion size is a lot smaller than cookies you’ll find stateside. “In the EU, there are not a lot of chemicals that are allowed in food that are allowed in food in the U.S.,” Zysermann pointed out. Adding: most cookies are wrapped in individual snack packages so when you open the box all of the cookies won’t get stale.
Although she recently launched her company, she has some advice for promising entrepreneurs. “At some point, you have to take a leap and just do it,” Zysermann concluded. Moreover, if you’re transitioning from corporate America and a steady paycheck to entrepreneurship, “it may require a lifestyle change.” And, more importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff.
Entrepreneurship provides Zysermann with the freedom in her career that she was looking for and is grateful for her Cornell education and the life lessons she learned at college for giving her the courage, in part, to blaze her own trail to freedom.
For more information about Noemie’s Pantry, visit noemiespantry.com.