Old Montreal’s Young Entrepreneurs
February 1, 2016 / Posted by Oliver Marshall Alexis - Fashion and Creativity
Our Neighbourhood Yuccies: The Young Entrepreneurs Behind the A785 Project
The Hipster is dead – make room for the Yuccie: The “Young Urban Creative”, or the new generation of young entrepreneurs.
Yuccies are a new generation of 20-35 year olds who define themselves primo by their strong 2.0 entrepreneurial spirit. They want autonomy in their professional lives, while pushing conventionally established limitations (within the limitations of what is possible). This summarizes an article written by David Infante, and published months ago on Mashable.com.
This new definition has produced a great number of mixed responses. Many are not convinced by the idea that young entrepreneurs could realistically throw themselves into the business world by using the Web 2.0. The ever-growing popularity of social media, as well as the communication opportunities that hail from these media certainly need to be accounted for in this new movement.
While we’re on this train of thought, I figured that I would talk to some of Old Montreal’s young entrepreneurs, who are truly emblematic of this new generation: Francis Rudman, Alex Lesage and Laurent Veilleux, three young men who founded the upscale fashion brand Brethren, as well as A785, an agency that offers marketing strategies for businesses.
Gentlemen, If You Would Please…
FRANCIS RUDMAN – 25
I grew up in a family of artists; my father is from England, and my mother is Canadian. Our trips to Europe together have really allowed me to see the world in a whole new way. I studied music, math and administration in cégep. I also got to learn a thing or two about marketing. During University, Alex, Laurent and I, worked hand in hand to develop new creative projects. Sport and fashion, our common passions, have truly inspired us to do the work we do today. When we were younger, we were big fans of extreme sports such as snowboarding and skateboarding. These sports have intrinsically established cultures, and produce unique identities. These sports have inspired many urban styles which come straight from the streets. They also give us a way of expressing ourselves, and I believe that we have developed common interests which have grown from this ideology. Self-expression goes hand in hand with creation, and today, we are lucky enough to have more means of communication than ever before! These last years have truly allowed us to develop a strong bond between us.
ALEX LESAGE – 24
I grew up in Trois-Rivières in a family of entrepreneurs. My parents owned an insurance company and a real estate company. When I was 14, I decided to gradually involve myself in the family business, and before I knew it, I was working full-time in managing the real estate company, while also studying administration at the cégep de Trois-Rivières. I continued in this field of study at UQTR, but I quit after my first session to found an import business with other shareholders, all while still working in the real estate world. I must say that this experience left a rather dry taste in my mouth – I was yearning for more. I then had to ask myself important questions about my long-term objectives. So, I decided to move to Montreal and focus on projects which I really took to heart, in collaboration with Francis and Laurent, my trusted partners.
LAURENT VEILLEUX – 26
I got to know Alex and Francis in Trois-Rivières. I had studied Management Accounting at Université de Laval, and it is during this that I travelled to Singapore, which allowed me to gain a broader vision of the world in general. I got to see what happened outside Quebec, and this allowed me to see new, international horizons. It really changed the way I looked at things. I realised that there are other ways to live, see the world, and do business; it was very different from the canvas that was laid before me in Montreal. I then completed my Master’s degree in Montreal and joined the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec. I have always studied with the final goal of one day being self-employed. Entrepreneurship and project creation have been two things that have always fascinated me.
So What About A785?
LV: We have always been involved in many projects, but our latest creation is a company by the name of A785 which offers business strategies. The company has three components: business strategies, creative marketing management and project management. Before all else, it is important to understand that the needs of our clients, who are mainly based in Old Montreal, vary from one to another, and can be very different. We can help people create websites and teach them how to use the web for their advantage, redefine their branding, and offer consultation in many domains. All in all, we accompany our clients throughout all the steps of their projects.
AL: The 1st service component deals with “Business Strategies”. In this first step, we evaluate the client’s specific demand, needs and expectations. Much of today’s demand is based online. The Web has truly changed the world in the last decades. Even today, there are some businesses that still don’t understand the value of an active presence on digital platforms, and how efficient these platforms can be for all their business needs.
Therefore, this first component allows us to create a giant model. We factor in their “initial situation” and we create a plan to help clients achieve their “desired status” after analysing their resources and expectations. To this end, we offer consultation services which transcend many fields of business (marketing, web, etc.)
FR: The 2nd component focuses on “Project Management”. It consists of orchestrating the evolution of clients’ projects. We evaluate different internal and external factors which can come into account (deadlines, human resources, mission statement, etc.), and we make sure that each step of the realisation process goes according to plan. Depending on our clients, these steps can be developed quickly, or take time to elaborate. Our greatest strength resides in our ability to adapt to the needs of various businesses.
AL : The 3rd component, “Creative Marketing Management”, has a larger scope. It aims to optimize clients’ images of their businesses, whether that image is more physical or digital. It is in this component that all esthetic, visual and functional aspects are reviewed and improved.
Several years ago, the market was oriented towards public display, promotional objects, newspapers, magazines, etc. These ways of communication were quite limited compared to the experience that the client could actually have. Today, the Web allows for UX design, a virtual experience that caters to the user’s needs. With creative marketing management, all clients’ web inquiries will be met with professional solutions. We aim to make user-friendly interfaces which integrate clients’ impacts and visions into the UX design. We believe that efficiency and design are two things that go hand in hand. We strive to produce an efficient, highly esthetic and functional experience.
What Does An Entrepreneur’s Daily Routine Look Like?
AL: Our routine is far from repetitive. I believe that the only thing that comes back day after day is our will to improve our ways. Francis, Laurent and I are of the same mind on this point. We always seek to surpass ourselves every day. Working with people in many different environments and constantly learning new things truly motivate us. We’re always working with new ideas and unknown domains. Therefore, it’s pretty difficult to have what you call a “routine”. We’re often discovering new things instead of cruising in a comfort zone. Our work is super motivating because we’re being constantly challenged!
LV: I believe that all entrepreneurs or people who wish to become entrepreneurs are filled with sometimes uncommon ideas, and often feel the need to act on those ideas for self-realisation. I believe it to be a predominant feeling in our generation (Gen Y). We can access more tools, more information, and this makes us able change the way we think, and the way we do business. There are many self-employed workers and entrepreneurs who dare to redefine the norm. In the 21st century, our work lives occupy more time than ever before. So working must become routine, and must be our raison d’être! This mentality inhabits me, and drives me to live for my passion – my work.
FR: What I find interesting, is that today most self-employed workers and entrepreneurs can work with each other, and find that their skills are compatible with those of their peers. Exchange-of-service agreements are very common, and I strongly believe them to be way more beneficial than competition. Everyone works to succeed!
Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
LV: With an even more developed expertise honed by experience. We’re currently working with a lot of businesses in the fashion industry. We would like to continue to evolve alongside them and specialize in the field of online shopping. We would like to position ourselves as a company that is truly in the know, always aware of new trends and ways to work. We are without restrictions or limitations! If ever it would be possible to work with clients from all around the world, well then why shouldn’t we!
* Photos taken and edited with iPhone6 ©Alexis GR