Krista Marchand-Spinoy, Wanawafel, Victoria
Krista Marchand-Spinoy and her husband Renaat Marchand just wanted to bring a little piece of home to Victoria when they started their business, WannaWafel, last year. Having moved to Canada from Belgium in 2000, Krista was having a hard time finding a job that she was passionate about, so last year her and her husband decided to team up and start a business they could really sink their teeth into.
“Waffles are a very common and popular snack in Belgium, so we wanted to see if they could be popular in Canada too. We opened a cart in Victoria near the Wax Museum and the smell really surprised and attracted people to us. They trusted their sense of smell and wanted to try the waffles,” says Krista.
The delicious scent of vanilla and caramel drew tourists to the cart all summer long. Krista and her husband soon decided that it would be smart to cater to locals year round, so their next move was expansion. “To get the cart we used equity from the house, but we wanted to open a storefront location and needed more money, so we went to Women's Enterprise Centre,” says Krista. “They offered not just financing, but also business support and courses to help with improving business skills. We wanted and needed that help.”
Through Women's Enterprise Centre, WannaWafel received their loan and opened their storefront location in December 2009. With this expansion, serving up waffles is now a family affair. Their children, Arno and Dana, have supported their parents every step of the way.
“We’re so grateful that our kids want to be so involved and to work with us to help build and grow the business,” acknowledges Krista. Having already realized many of the goals for their business, Krista and Renaat see a lot of potential for franchising WannaWafel. In fact they hope that others do too when Renaat and his son, Arno plea their case on The Dragon’s Den this month. It could mean big things for the little company. “We of course would like to be able to franchise the business, but we’re also looking for the Dragons’ knowledge and experience to help guide us,” says Krista. “If we don’t get a deal from them, then we’ll just keep expanding the business ourselves.
Having already had such growth in under a year, Krista has learned a lot in her new career as an entrepreneur. “I’ve really had to learn how to put my trust in other people’s abilities, which is hard because when I start something I want to go for it and make it the best that I can. When you’re running a business it’s so hard to learn to let go and realize that you really can’t do everything yourself.”