Hi there! I’m Joëlle Paquette, founder of the lifestyle blog Very Joëlle, journalist and long-time corgi lover. Starting today and for the following year (yay!), I’ll be writing a monthly piece for Marigold’s website. I’ll talk about entrepreneurship, creativity, well-being, feminism and everything relating to the incredible women that you all are. Are you ready? Because I AM.
If there’s one thing that’s abstract, it’s definitely success. Its definition varies systematically depending on who’s giving it to you. For some, it’s a matter of recognition and for others, it’s about creative emancipation. In other cases, it’s all about the money or Instagram likes. For me? It’s being able to afford a mozzarella di bufala with a good bottle of wine on a Thursday night (I’m only half-joking).
I decided to investigate further the quest everyone’s after by asking three local entrepreneurs, all running well-established companies, THE question: So, what is success?
Tamara Bavdek, Founder of This Ilk
When you were a teenager, what was your definition of success?
I’ve always valued ideas and human recognition — being respected, even admired to a certain extent, for what you do. It’s never been about power or money.
How has your vision of success evolved since you first started your company?
In the beginning, you’re young and your dreams are limitless. I didn’t necessarily want to become the next Jean Paul Gaultier, but almost! Possibilities seemed infinite. I gained a couple of nice seals of approval from my peers: I almost got featured in the L’Officiel Paris for their 75th anniversary and I won a spot at the Who’s Next trade show. I was zero equipped for all those ventures, but I learned on the job.
Over time, I slowed down a little and figured I couldn’t provide jewelry for the whole world. Being a superstar wasn’t my goal anymore. Ultimately, what I’ve become is more in tune with who I really am. I don’t want to flash, I like being a little underground.
I’ve also found some kind of stability which feels good, even though stability is an entrepreneur’s worst enemy. You’re always supposed to seek growth, but personally, it allows me to breath. It’s important to have time for other stuff, like traveling, surfing, animals, social life, etc.
What gives you a sense of success?
When you respect yourself and stay authentic, that the richest form of success in my opinion.
How many times have I told myself that I could make jewelry that would sell in huge quantities, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t feel inspired. I have to feel like I’m inventing something. I don’t get how some people can copy existing designs and be proud about it. It’s a nonsense. I get how some people are strictly entrepreneurs and only interested in profitability, but I’m a creative soul first and foremost. I need to be proud both of my process and product.
Marilyne Baril, Founder of Marigold
What was your vision of success when you launched your company and how has it evolved since?
My goal has always been to be in line with my values and offer a locally-made product. At first, I wanted to have a big team and sell across Canada. I wanted to run a company that could be self-sufficient while I would go away on trips to find inspiration.
My vision has undergone a bit of tweaking since then. When I started, everyone told me that it would take five years before being profitable. I was like “Look at me do it in two!”. Well, it turns they were right. I learned to be humble about it all: I’m always learning and, for me, that’s success.
Do you consider success to be an ongoing process or an ultimate result?
In my case, I don’t say ‘I’ve succeeded’, it’s more like ‘I’m succeeding’ on a daily basis. It’s when I’m proud of myself at the end of the day.
When I was working for a huge fashion corporation, I’d tell myself “Yay, my day is over!”. My bimonthly pay was the only tangible aspect of my work. Today, it’s different. I’m satisfied because I accomplish many things everyday. It’s more quantifiable in my opinion.
Success is often seen from a professional point of view, but rarely from a personal one. How do you see that balance?
My ex-boyfriend and I broke up when I launched my company: he didn’t want to go along that path with me. So during the first years, I was really proud. Success meant managing my huge business, taking care of things on my own and running it all by myself.
To be honest, my motivation was more financial at first, but now, I just want to feel good about what I do. I know this company won’t make me a millionaire. If I can continue to travel and eventually have a family, I’ll have achieved my very own success.
Raphaëlle Bonin, Founder of Station Service
When you were a teenager, what was your definition of success?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to earn a living from my passion. For me, people who succeeded were the ones who did something they loved. My motivation was never about financial gain. Luckily or unluckily, I’ve never been a money person. I want to do something others won’t do; be different.
How has your vision of success evolved since you first launched your company?
It’s weird for me doing this interview, because I don’t feel like I’ve 100% succeeded. I have so much work left to do! I’d feel a little conceited if I claimed I had already reached success: I still have a lot to learn and many mistakes to make.
Success consists of many defeats and achievements. Station Service is a young success. I’m in one-step-at-a-time mode and always thinking about the next goal to check off my list. Until recently, it was the boutique. At the end of the day, it’s what I have to do to get there that I find thrilling. Success is in the process.
*Marigold is hosting a pop-up shop at Station Service featuring its F/W 18 collection until the end of October. Check it out, it’s so beautiful, tears of joy might roll down your cheeks!
You’re extremely proactive in achieving professional success. How do you manage your personal achievements?
Before opening the store, I went on a three-day yoga retreat. It allowed me to take time for myself and realize that, since launching Station Service, I’ve really lost sight of who I was. I’m so taken up with the business that I don’t know what my personal objectives are anymore. Finding a balance with my boyfriend, my friends and my family is so important. But it’s like I’ve accepted that my life would be like that for a while. My company is my priority. I often talk about it with my mentor and it’s any entrepreneur’s struggle.
Written by Joëlle Paquette
Photo Tamara Bavdek: Crédit photo Gaëlle Leroyer
Photo Marilyne Baril: Crédit photo Anne Ladouar
Photo Raphaëlle Bonin: Crédit photo Gabrielle Valevicius