A coffee with Caroline Néron | Bouncing back from failure

Caroline Néron joins me in the middle of the afternoon at the restaurant Les Enfants terribles on L’Île-des-Sœurs, very close to her home. A few hours earlier, she was packing vibrators and other accessories in cardboard boxes in her offices in the north of the city, near rue Chabanel.




Yes, Caroline Néron is making a notable return to the screens these days, with roles in the series STAT and the movie Will by Denys Arcand, but she still has both hands in her jewelry and sex toy business.

Literally.

“I take care of shipping,” she told me without flinching. It’s new, but it allows me to control my inventory, it allows me to control everything. »

It’s a major change for the actress and entrepreneur, who had 200 employees, 21 boutiques and offices in Paris at the height of her business fame in the mid-2010s. She now has five employees in total, including herself and her long-time associate, Julie St-Jacques.

“I’m not saying that I’m going to take care of the expedition all the time, but I learn a lot through it,” she emphasizes. I’m even back on the road. I am visiting all my clients at the moment throughout Quebec for the 2024 strategies. There are around sixty of them, jewelry stores, gift shops, funeral homes…”

This return to basics, very concrete, well illustrates the new life of Caroline Néron, who experienced a highly publicized bankruptcy and divorce in 2019. It is about this reinvention that I wanted to talk to her. To see how she managed to rebuild her life – and her career – on the ruins of a series of resounding setbacks.

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Caroline Néron has managed to rebuild herself, both personally and professionally.

The 50-year-old woman spoke for an hour and a half over a herbal tea, since a recent operation on her vocal cords means she cannot drink coffee. The notion of control, that which we lose, that which we cede, and that which we regain, occupied a good part of this exchange without filter.

Control, for Caroline Néron, seemed absolute in the 1990s and 2000s. She played a series of roles in around ten series like Diva And Tribe.com, in films, in addition to recording albums and launching her jewelry business. Exhausted, disgusted by the betrayals and the “stabs in the back” received on film sets, she left the world of entertainment in 2009.

His success, in business this time, took on stratospheric proportions over the next decade.

His company Néron inc. was experiencing one of the strongest growth rates in the country. She openly said she was aiming for a turnover of 1 billion, nothing less. Her seven-year marriage to Réal Bouclin, the wealthy owner of the Sélection group of seniors’ residences, now in serious financial difficulties, coincided with this period of absolute splendor.

“The truth is that my mistakes started when I started to grow too much and hire more vice-presidents, because that was a recommendation given to me,” she says.

You know, there are a lot of people who didn’t want to do business with me, who told me: “You should have someone, I would rather work with a VP, a guy who has years of experience. experience in retail. Not an actress.”

Caroline Néron

With hindsight, Caroline Néron believes that she took too much distance from the daily activities of her company, which would have recorded an annual turnover of 16 million at its peak. She lost count.

“I didn’t need so many employees, I didn’t need five accountants for a 16 million business,” she says. The biggest lesson, for me, was to say: reduce your fixed costs, control that. At my former head office, I had around 50 employees, and I definitely had 30 too many. »

PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Caroline Néron remains taken aback by the abundant media coverage she received in the wake of her bankruptcy.

Caroline Néron bought her business from a creditor in 2022 for $400,000, she tells me. Today’s version is “extra-skinny” compared to the pre-bankruptcy helium-inflated structure. She claims to have recorded profits last year, without however telling me her turnover. “I’m going to stay down to 20 employees. »

The entrepreneur now says she knows the fine details of her stocks. She mainly sells jewelry, but her new ranges of makeup and erotic accessories are gaining popularity, she says. The tone of its advertisements allows it to reach more mature customers who have never used such sex toys.

It’s not Léa and Maëlle. No, I’m Yolande.

Caroline Néron

Caroline Néron remains taken aback by the abundant media coverage she received in the wake of her bankruptcy. But if others can learn from his journey, it will be a great help. “I have no problem explaining myself, and I also have a lot of messages from entrepreneurs who are listening to this, who need to hear these stories. »

It was in her darkest period, in the midst of depression, just after her divorce and bankruptcy in 2019, that a call changed things for Caroline Néron. A former distribution agent, who had spotted her in the distant days of Divamanaged to find her by calling the customer service of her failing company.

He wanted to offer her to audition for the film The Goddess of Fire Fliesby Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, which ultimately earned her the Iris Prize for best female performance in a supporting role in 2021. A “comeback” in due form.

I will always remember this call. I was curled up on my couch, in the dark, you know, it was dark in my head, dark on every level. That call was very revealing, like a sign from life that told me to take the leap and move on, that sent me back to where I was supposed to be.

Caroline Néron

Caroline Néron says today she is doing “extremely well”. She has rediscovered a taste for her acting career, and the industry is good to her. She will soon play the lead role in a blockbuster series as well as in the film Anna Kiri Superstar, directed by Francis Bordeleau, alongside Anne-Marie Cadieux.

Her partner holds the reins of the SME during the weeks when she has filming, a well-defined “understanding” between them.

His personal life is up to par. She shares a condo on Nuns’ Island with her partner of recent years and her 14-year-old daughter, Emanuelle, who is making her debut as an actress.

“I’m making a comeback, but a return to everything,” she said. That’s a bit of what happens when you accept challenges. Me, I have the impression that you have so many life lessons through this that you have no choice, at any given moment, to reverse course. Everything that goes up comes down, but can also go back up. »

Questionnaire without filter

Coffee and me : Bereavement ! I no longer drink coffee since my last vocal cord surgery…recommendation from my speech therapist. I miss my morning coffee a lot, but today I am able to assess the impact it had on my health.

The books on my bedside table : My next scenario

People, living or dead, that I would invite to my table : Jennifer Lawrence and Jimmy Fallon

A dream that I would like to realize : Play in a film with my daughter Emanuelle

My favorite film : Forrest Gump

The best compliment : On my acting or that of my daughter

The worst insult : At least you tried to be in business!

Who is Caroline Néron?

  • Born in 1973 in Boucherville, on the South Shore, to parents who were real estate brokers.
  • Began an acting career in the 1990s in commercials and series like Diva And Tribe.com.
  • Her jewelry and accessories business was one of the fastest growing in Canada in 2013, before going bankrupt in 2019.
  • She relaunched a slimmed-down version of her business and resumed her artistic career in recent years.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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