Entrepreneurial profile : Raphael Ricard and Olivier Lamontagne of C'est Beau | HandworkMarch 30, 2016
Two guys from Joliette, who followed separate paths and later reunited. Raphael Ricard abandons a job in a cabinetmaking to pursue studies in publicity in Ottawa and then settles in the big city. Olivier Lamontagne leaves his hometown to work a few months in Western Canada and follow a heavy equipment operator course before finally enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing in Montreal. The beautiful metropolis, bustling place of creation, will unite the passion of these souls and ignite the entrepreneurial flame: projects for C'est Beau are born.
It all started in a skate shop. The financial reality of a student with limited resources has led Raphael to recycle old boards left in the store by customers, resizing and repainting them to give them the look of a 70s cruiser. What was for him a personal hobby quickly became the subject of a growing demand. The scope and potential of this work charmed Olivier, who could not help but to partner in this promising project.
Without the ability to immediately take advantage of a sales point, the two friends instead chose to explore the avenue of e-commerce to effectively reach their target customers. They quickly became aware of the reality of local entrepreneurs and local craftsmen, more often than not struggling to compete with industrial chain products with no added value, particularly over a price issue.
Over time, Raphael and Olivier have therefore developed their own clothing line and partnered with several local craftsmen to create an exclusive showcase which aims to encourage and promote local talent. Those who recognize the importance of the origin of a product and the work behind its creation will especially appreciate the company's existence. A bon vivant who is interested in a minimalist design, the craft aspect, who wishes to consume less but better; this is how the typical profile of a C’est Beau customer is described.
What can we now wish for these two gentlemen? The distribution of their clothing line at many retailers and more particularly the opening of a C’est Beau store, where they can offer a more complete shopping experience to customers. In the longer term, the partners cherish the dream of exporting their model and to apply it to several major cities across the globe. To create "a small big business", a local multinational that adapts to each location by combining the C'est Beau we have here to the craftsmen of elsewhere.
Meanwhile, you can expect an amazing spring collection and 45 new products made by 12 local artisans. The collection will be available in presale, on April 4, on their website!
The boys in a few words
First thing you do in the morning?
OL : I swipe through my social media and news applications.
RR : I snooze at least twice and I feed Henrie.
Do you have breakfast in the morning?
OL : I rarely have time for breakfast. I usually eat something on the go.
RR : On Sundays. A real treat to make up for the rest of the week! But otherwise, I only drink a coffee or water.
Your favourite breakfast?
OL : A McGriddles sandwich from McD's! I don’t eat it every day, but I find it really good.
RR : French toast with fruits.
One word to describe you?
OL : Busy. There’s always full of ideas and projects that are running through my head.
RR : Relentless.
What do you do in your spare time?
OL : Music. Musical research or composition. I mix too.
RR : I think about C’est Beau. When I’ll actually have free time, I'll travel and ride my bike.
OL : Culture and the avant-garde. I like to think differently and be a little ahead of what is currently being done.
RR : The great pioneers. People who have made a difference, regardless of the field. I'm also a fan of documentaries. For aesthetics, I would say Japan and the Scandinavian countries.
An advice for all entrepreneurs?
OL : Believe in your project and don’t discourage yourself. When something doesn’t work, there is always an alternative. Also, don’t rush too much, take it step by step.
RR : Not to be swayed by others if you’re convinced of your idea. Don’t be afraid to work, don’t count the hours. Your success will be representative of the effort that you'll put into it. Not to be afraid to get your hands dirty, to believe in what you do and to be driven.