Louisa Mouthon arrived in the United States in 2018 with the intention of improving her English and potentially becoming a teacher. This all changed when her friend introduced her to the World of Vatel and later to becoming a business owner of My Jolly Event. However, her friend was studying at Vatel Nice and Louisa was not looking to go back to France for a while, so she contacted Nathalie, the program director at Vatel Institute of Hospitality Management at Alliant International University. Louisa was told that she would not have to go back to France and had the opportunity to transfer her educational experience to the Vatel Institute.
The summer before the program started, Louisa was searching for professional experience in the event industry. She connected with a wedding planner and was appointed for an internship. She was able to assist with seven weddings during the summer. This confirmed to Louisa that she wanted to pursue a career in the events industry.
August 2019 was the start of Louisa’s experience at the Vatel Institute in sunny San Diego, California in partnership with Alliant International University. When asked which course she felt helped her later in her career as an entrepreneur, she immediately mentioned Entrepreneurship with Peter Mclaughlin. She stated that they were given in-depth knowledge of how to create a business plan for a hypothetical company. One of their projects included presenting the creation of a new company with certain guidelines in front of the class. Each class member was then able to give valuable feedback for each other’s projects.
As part of her studies at the Vatel Institute at Alliant, with the help and connections of our Program Director (Nathalie), Louisa took up her Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at the beautiful Fairmont Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego. She was pleased to work at the hotel’s famous Winter Wonderland event that took place in their gardens with a gorgeous carousel, ice skating and much more. She had the opportunity of working at the bar for the event with her Vatel Institute colleagues, Mia and Tadeo. Looking back, she relays that one of her management classes at Vatel really helped her during the CPT. The professor had a wonderful background in events, so when he taught any theory, he also gave the students examples of real experiences in the industry. Due to her determination and hardworking abilities, Louisa received fabulous feedback from a customer at the Fairmont while she was working as a receptionist from January to March 2020. However, due to covid, the hotel closed.
Louisa went back to France in July 2020 and finished the MBA program online. To complete her mandatory training for the Vatel Institute, she interned with a French Caterer; Le Bonheur est Dans le Poêle. She helped the CEO of the company in an admin capacity which included an umbrella of responsibilities; training cooks & employees, giving insights on general improvements for the company, social media marketing, and managing rendezvous appointments with clients. She worked with the company for two months starting August 2020 before they had to close in October 2020 due to Covid.
Louisa was not ready to back down because of Covid 19. She took advantage of the internet and explored what others were doing in terms of business. She recollected her experience at the summer internship with her employer, the wedding planner, and remembered a cotton candy cart at one of the weddings. It immediately struck her to do something similar in France. She connected over the idea with a friend and they both decided to start the venture of My Jolly Event together. They applied the knowledge Louisa learnt at the Vatel Institute at Alliant, from creating a business plan to researching target audience, to pricing strategy, to creating a brand identity.
With a pastel color palette, Louisa and her partner built the cart by hand and tried out various cotton candy recipes before they found their perfect flavors: strawberry, apple, chocolate, coconut, and passion fruit. The company went live in May 2021 and has an average of 3 events per month, with December being their busiest month. They create installations of chic and modern carts at weddings, corporate events, birthdays, baby showers and many others.
Having come this far, we asked Louisa if she would recommend the Vatel Institute to potential students. We were pleased to hear an immediate “Yes” from her. She recommended that doing the course in English was better as well because it was so much more rewarding to learn another language. It was also nice for her to meet students from diverse cultures, study insightful courses in American management, and to gain the opportunity to work in 4-to-5-star hotels.
At the Vatel Institute of Hospitality Management at Alliant International University, we are always immensely proud of all our students, and our aim is to not only part industry knowledge and experience, but also to help students with the determination to overcome obstacles and find solutions as Louisa did in her entrepreneurial journey.
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