Graduate insight with Sophie Hamandjian

Sophie Hamandjian, a graduate of the Bachelor’s in International Culinary Arts Management, had been working for several years before creating her own brand of cookies in the middle of lockdown: Soha Cookies. With a shop open since 2021 in Lyon’s 6th arrondisment, Sophie’s gourmet business is popular with her loyal clientele and curious new customers.


Can you tell us about your career since graduating from Institut Lyfe?

Once I had my degree, I worked for a year in the gourmet cafe Chez Jeannine and Suzanne as a pastry chef, then I left for St Barts and the Christopher St-Barth Hotel, where I worked as a pastry chef. I returned to Lyon to work as a pastry chef at Châteauform’ in Lyon for a year, then Covid hit and unfortunately I lost my job. During this period, I then started to think about creating my own company specialising in cookies, and after a year, I opened a shop in the 6th arrondissement in Lyon.

Tell us about your shop and your responsibilities today?

Soha Cookies is a single-product store specialising in cookies. We offer big, gourmet, generously-filled cookies, that range from classic to original recipes. We feature a limited-edition flavour every 3 weeks, and we always adapt our products to the different events and holidays throughout the year: a galette cookie for Epiphany, a log cookie for Christmas, or a special Valentine’s Day cookie.

Since the opening of Soha Cookies, my role includes the management of the company but I still have a hand in everything: from pastry-making to sales, accounting, management of the risks that a company may face, appointments with consultants, researching suppliers, etc.

What do you think are the essential skills for your role?

For me, discipline, motivation, a taste for challenge and mental alertness are essential skills to embark on the extraordinary feat of creating your own business. You mustn’t be afraid, but above all you must be 100% committed to the project.

What are you most proud of today? 

What I am most proud of is having managed to get a team involved in this project, of being surrounded by people I trust, but also of having won over the clientele with these cookies. We have many loyal customers and it is always a pleasure to see them in the shop.




What are your ambitions for the future?

I want to develop my professional partnerships and focus on B2B. And why not also open a second shop, but I don’t know where yet! We’ll see what the future holds.

What would you like to say to students who want to get started as an entrepreneur?

To get started as an entrepreneur, you need to be mentally and physically strong. It’s not something to be taken lightly, there will be a lot of problems to solve when launching your business (and afterwards too, it’s a daily fact, but it is exciting!): you have to know how to keep your head up, have your goal in mind and hold on to it at all costs. Being surrounded by friends or family is a real plus.

Entrepreneurship is a great adventure because you work for yourself: it’s so satisfying and rewarding… and the challenges are (really) numerous!

Would you like to become an entrepreneur and open your own pastry shop? Our Bachelor’s degree in International Pastry Management is for you!

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