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Industry Players' Profile

#mtlstyle: behind the seams | Ebonie, Student - Compétences-2000

« Fashion design is my passion, the knowledge of a seamstress is essential to the realization of my dream; which is to become a fashion designer. »   Ebonie is currently studying the tailor-made fashion and clothing program at Compétences-2000. Ambitious, passionate and very diligent in everything she does, Ebonie recently had a stimulating and exciting experience as a intern for Marilyne Baril, designer and founder of MARIGOLD Montréal. She was able to confirm her career choice by assisting a successful designer in her daily tasks. To mark her first steps on the Montréal’s fashion scene, Ebonie and her colleagues will create a tailored jacket for Philippe Laprise as part of a collaboration between Compétences-2000 and the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement. Geometric drawing, patronage, tailor-made clothing and accessories are just some of the many skills Ebonie has learned in her professional and technical training to prepare her for a promising career in fashion design!

#mtlstyle: Behind the Seams | Anne-Marie Rostaing - Head of Workshop, Le Grand Costumier

  Anne-Marie has been head of the workshop at Le Grand Costumier since April 2018. Having worked in the field of tourism for more than ten years, she made a 180-degree turn to take a course in tailoring at École des métiers des Faubourgs and to devote herself completely to this passion that has followed her since childhood. In 2015, once her training completed, she obtained sporadic contracts in the theatre industry and did alterations as well as tailor-made in between costume contracts to supplement her income.     She arrived at Le Grand Costumier as a punctual seamstress for the restoration of the collection. While facing the challenge of finding a stable job in tailoring, she planned on returning to working in administration, when an opportunity at Le Grand Costumier presented itself. Her great expertise and her passion have rapidly lead her to go from having a seamstress position to being head of the workshop and since, she is a brilliant resource for the organisation. Today, Anne-Marie coordinates all of the workshop’s projects; from alterations for custom-made tailoring to the restoration of the collection’s costumes.      Credit : Philippe Latour

Changing the Fashion World One Pair of Tights at the Time

The Success Story of From Rachel   Founded in September 2014 by three friends, Mélanie Heyberger, Carolyne Parent and Alyeska Guillaud, From Rachel is an inspiring Québec success not only for young people wishing to start a business, but also for well-established organizations in the fashion world that want to reinvent themselves.   Photo : AI Creation   Mélanie, Carolyne and Alyeska were friends and colleagues in an organization that helps entrepreneurs write their business plans. It was professional love at first sight, fed by a common will to start their business. Fuelled by a natural passion for the fashion world, Mélanie and her two business partners decided to focus on tights to achieve success!   Before starting their own business, the three young professional ladies thought: “Why do women carry such a love-hate relationship with tights?” “We love to wear them, but they snag at the worst possible moment”. We have to run to the pharmacy to buy a new pair at a good price. That is a consumer statement they experienced on a daily basis. Like many others, they had to settle for classic, albeit irritating solutions: carrying several pairs in their bag, keeping nail polish handy to stop runs, a real hassle!   How could they meet these women’s needs and still be innovative? The answer was offering a higher quality, personalized and trendy product on a regular basis in order for customers to constantly have several pairs on hand and a variety of styles they liked. Making tights trendy and accessible with a simple click on an online store featuring a new experience: that was the promise made by From Rachel.   A Virtual Friend With Style An idea then started to take shape in their minds and evolved into a reality that radically transformed their lives. Fashion lover Mélanie found the ideal partners in Carolyne, e-commerce specialist, and Alyeska, operations manager. They decided to stake everything on e-commerce but had to face an important challenge: how could they bring the human contact and warmth found in retail to the online experience? The three young women decided their organization needed a face to appeal to their customers.   From that desire was born From Rachel. As Mélanie would say: “Rachel is our customers’ friend. She selects the tights to include in the chests and ships them.” She is a virtual friend with style, and she breaks with the coldness of the e-commerce experience.     Subscription boxes, a simple, well-functioning and increasingly popular business model, has allowed them to focus first and foremost on the person behind the screen and her needs. Thanks to the customization of her online profile based on her style and her clothing habits, the customer can create a personalized subscription allowing Rachel to send her, on a regular basis, fashionable tights corresponding to her personal style and lifestyle. “It is as if the customer is chatting with Rachel and telling her about her tastes, her wishes, her desires.” Of course, she can review her selections at any time since Rachel is always listening and ready to evolve alongside her!   Wearing Quality, But With a Little Extra Something Finding a niche in the field of tights where old players have been involved for eons has not been easy for these new entrepreneurs committed to revolutionize that product, their way. Quality is of the utmost importance in marketing tights. Not surprisingly, Mélanie and her partners relied on manufacturers in Italy, the Mecca of tights, which supplies 70% of global production.   Since they wished to support local workers, they also forged ties with a tight manufacturer in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to cleverly blend local and international supply without compromising quality and profitability.     But despite the best quality, sooner or later a pair of tights will snag. In that case, how will the organization stand out among others out there? According to Mélanie, once you are sure you have a quality product, you need to go the extra mile and find new features that will set the product apart from the others. That is exactly what they did for tights by making them attractive, cool and inspiring in the eyes of younger people while tickling the curiosity of the regulars. The image and the marketing strategy must transcend the product for success to happen.     A Strong Image For a Strong Woman From Alyeska’s basement to business incubators and to their new offices on Casgrain, Rachel and her friends have come a long way in recent years, also thanks to an analytical approach focused on the customer. After a few tests and solicitation on social networks to get direct feedback about their brand, Mélanie, Carolyne and Alyeska have concluded that a beautiful and inspiring visual design, a well-thought packaging and a friendly approach were the best way to make their customers feel confident and have them adopt the brand.       According to Mélanie, conversing with customers has allowed From Rachel to cut to the chase and meet real needs in addition to building a strong brand with which the customer can identify. Rachel is strong, bold and stylish, just like the woman wearing the tights contained in her chest.     From Rachel In Québec, we live between two cultures, French and English. An organization has the responsibility to speak to audiences according to the appropriate cultural reference codes. Mélanie tells us the decision was not easy when they were looking for a way to translate Le Coffret de Rachel in English. Because of the weird way the name sounded in English, the three friends decided to simply use From Rachel to hit the English market.   The feeling of sharing something with a friend, the customer, is still present in both languages. Looking back, Mélanie admits she would do it differently and opt for a single name in both languages. Similarly, the organization proudly displays Made in Québec, Canada to showcase that cultural ambivalence which bears witness to our unique identity.     If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together. Mélanie, Carolyne and Alyeska are actively involved in the Industry Image, Innovation and Export working group committees of the mmode Cluster to use their expertise to serve the industry.   “From Rachel is still a young organization. Joining the mmode Cluster and being around Québec fashion industry leaders is a unique opportunity to interact and grow. These large organizations can benefit as much as we do from these interactions because they are connecting with a start-up mindset like ours that is not necessarily part of their DNA.” – Mélanie Heyberger   ______________________________   FROM RACHEL   Activities :                      Tights, fashion accessories Headquarters :               Montreal Foundation :                   2014 Founders :                       Mélanie Heyberger, Carolyne Parent, Alyeska Guillaud Points of sale :                10 + online sales Market :                            Canada Number of employees :   7     Thanks to the precious contribution of Ville de Montréal, the mmode Cluster commissioned Dario Bivona to conduct a series of interviews with entrepreneurs from the Montréal fashion industry.