A moreish makeover for the Maison Dandoy

02.12.2015 - Dries Tack

The speculoos biscuits of the Maison Dandoy are booming! The famous Brussels store has gone for the designer touch to give a facelift to its gourmet biscuits, whose recipe has remained unchanged since… 1829! An interview with Alexandre Helson.

A moreish makeover for the Maison Dandoy

Alexandre Helson, you are in charge of Maison Dandoy’s communication and marketing. Can you tell us more about your role in the business?

I represent the seventh generation of the Dandoy family. I joined the team in 2013 to take on the communication and marketing campaigns. My role is to roll out the growth projects that have been in the pipeline for several years. I’m a management engineer, so I keep a shrewd eye on the development of our business while taking great pride in being so involved in the family business.

The brand’s visual identity has recently undergone quite a facelift. What did it involve?

Yes, in 2013, the agency Base Design came up with a comprehensive toolbox consisting of a new logo, adapted typographies, illustrations and a whole packaging range. We set out to give concrete expression to our goal of transforming a family business into a company, a brand in its own right. The logo perfectly illustrates our intentions: it is both completely overhauled and modernised but at the same time conveys our ties to Brussels, our history and our expertise. The golden polka-dot motif plays around with this to confer a contemporary identity, open to the future. The overall effect is intended to attract a wider, younger audience who appreciate the quality of the contents and the look of the packaging.

A moreish makeover for the Maison Dandoy

This identity change is a success. What are the benefits in terms of development?

Yes it’s been a runaway success. Over the past two years, the company has grown by 20% on an annual basis. Over the last five years, we have posted a growth of 75%! It's huge! Internationally, the marketing campaign has also been exciting: we now export 10% of our production compared to 2.5% in 2010 ... These positive results are encouraging and pave the way for our expansion beyond Brussels and Belgium.

How does graphic design give added value to your brand?

There’s no doubt about it, it’s all a question of visibility! The new face of the brand has opened doors, especially abroad. Prestigious stores such as Galeries Lafayette in Paris or Fortnum & Mason in England have come to ask us whether they can distribute our products in their establishments. This would never have happened without our new graphic identity. The work of Design Base makes us unique. It perfectly defines our DNA by conveying both our family values, our know-how, as well as the modern and contemporary vision of our products. The packaging plays a very important role: each box of biscuits is a gift in itself and they make eye-catching displays in these high-end stores.

A moreish makeover for the Maison Dandoy

What are the company's prospects for the coming years?

We want to continue to open up new horizons. Maison Dandoy is little known outside Brussels. Although we emphasise our origins in Brussels, we want to look beyond the capital and open more stores in Belgium. We would also like to continue to gain a foothold abroad by having points of sale within reputed stores or via other own-stores like the one we have opened in Japan, in Tokyo. With the success that we have enjoyed in recent years, this is now becoming a real possibility.

Has design become part of your sales strategy?

Yes, very much so. We are aware of the positive contribution of design, whether graphic or otherwise. We welcome creation in all its forms as a driver and source of inspiration. External designers bring a new perspective on our work. This stops us from being too set in our ways. Last year, for example, we worked with the artist Sophie Whettnall to create edible art. Another example is our new store on Place Stephanie, which is the brainchild of architect Erwin De Muer and designer Nathalie Dewez. All these collaborations give a breath of fresh air to our work, make us stand out and catch the eye of Belgian and foreign audiences.

Sylvie Reversez


Food, Business