Interview with Philippe Jambon, Chairman and founder of Jeff de Bruges
A good chocolate is a sustainable chocolate
How did Jeff de Bruges come into being?
Philippe Jambon: “I have a love story with chocolate that goes back to when I was a kid. I would roam around the factories and wonder at its magic. And since creating Jeff de Bruges, I’ve constantly strived to imagine all the ways we could make our stores a warm and welcoming place that tickle the tastebuds, where chocolates are not only fine and delicious, but also affordable and fun so that everyone can enjoy the quality of a sustainable chocolate!”
Where did the name ‘Jeff de Bruges’ come from?
Philippe Jambon: “With a name like Jambon, you need to be realistic and admit that maybe it’s not the best name for a brand of chocolate. In fact, it all started in Bruges, Belgium, where our first chocolate factory was. I felt it quite appropriate for a brand of chocolate to take the name of the city that’s also called the ‘Venice of the North’. And since my family were huge fans of Jacques Brel and his song Jef, ‘Jeff de Bruges’ was just an obvious choice. The unique French and Belgian chocolate cultures were two strong sources of inspiration for me when I founded the brand, so it was also important to reflect that in the name.”
What do you think customers like so much about your chocolates?
Philippe Jambon: “First of all, we sell good chocolates packaged in novel and varied ways, and we’re constantly coming up with new recipes to suit the seasons, so there’s always something new to taste.
What people also like a lot is that they’re sure to find the gift they’re looking for, be it something really refined for a special occasion, a token of appreciation for a friend or simply a small treat for themselves. Our teams are there to offer attentive, friendly advice, and that’s really important.”
What makes Jeff de Bruges chocolates so good?
Philippe Jambon: “Quality ingredients carefully selected by our master chocolatiers, unique know-how steeped in the traditions of good chocolate, a pinch of daring and originality, and above all the passion that goes into our generous and uncompromising recipes. To me, a good chocolate is a ‘sustainable’ chocolate that strikes the right balance between great taste, an affordable price, naturally sourced quality ingredients, treating people fairly and treading lightly on the Earth.”
What makes your recipes so original?
Philippe Jambon: “They’re the result of two great cultures, combining the gourmandise of Belgian chocolate with the cocoa chic of French chocolate to explore new territories. We put our own spin on traditional recipes, inspired by the trends of the moment.”
What kind of relationship do you have with your customers?
Philippe Jambon: “We try above all in our stores to be attentive to their desires, to rekindle their childhood memories and create sweet pleasures to make every day a day to enjoy: in short, to come up with recipes that add fun to people’s lives.
Today, our customers like to be able to compose their own choice of chocolates, so our role is to lend them an attentive ear and to offer a truly personal service at the right price.”
How do you see the chocolatier business today?
Philippe Jambon: “For us, chocolate is above all a pleasure that must remain within people’s reach. It’s not for nothing that we’ve based our business model on proximity, and we want to take this concept even further and develop the service that goes with it. In 2017, we decided to invest in our business and become a cacao grower, which seemed the most obvious way for us to apply, live by and disseminate our social and environmental values.”