It is my pleasure to tell you the story behind JOELLE. We could even categorize it as a typical film: The making of . Going back into my memories to tell you this story on a timeline makes me experience lots of emotions. Several victories, pitfalls and learnings are part of this personal and professional journey that I experience every day. Ultimately, these are life experiences without which I would not be the person I am today.
“The evolution of the last five years of my life is incredible”
We can say that JOELLE has been part of our lives for about five years. It may sound short expressed that way, but the evolution of the last five years of my life is incredible. I can still imagine myself, a few years ago, when I was studying fashion marketing, here in Trois-Rivières. What would I want to say to this old Joelle? What would I advise him to do? Was everything I was about to experience really worth it? I can't tell you at the moment.
If we go back to a relevant time frame, I take you back to the time when I offered my styling services to the clients that I had managed to build during my student years. I loved passing on my passion to women who needed daily structure in their fashion. The fact of being able to convey this passion to them through my learning and my experiences was gratifying.
A life and business partner
I was not the only one, at that moment, who saw the potential of my expertise. Indeed, my better half, without whom I would not have been able to seize the next opportunities, has become a huge pillar of what we call JOELLE today. Bill, my life and business partner, is of great importance to this story and it is largely with his ideas and structure that everything you see and experience with JOELLE is possible. The two of us make the perfect team since Bill is the reason and I am the creation. In other words, he is the mastermind behind this grand operation. As much as we are two opposites, he was able to see the potential, the scope and the impact that I could really have in the long term. When I think back to all these events, it makes me quite emotional since this route was more difficult to climb. If I were asked to start again tomorrow morning to get to where I am now, I would probably give you a negative answer. More often than not, we try to live in the present moment and therefore this forces us to only see what is in front of us. People sometimes forget the efforts and sacrifices others had to make to get where they are. Everything seems easy and achievable, but it's quite the opposite.
“It was difficult for me to come out with clothes that respected JOELLE’s true vision”
The first clothing collections I released were by far my current vision of fashion. I haven't always been able to offer my clients what I really wanted. All of this came at a crazy price. Not just monetarily speaking, but let's say my resources were limited. It was difficult for me to come out with clothes that respected JOELLE's true vision, so I went as far as possible of course. The number of hours spent in our offices planning, creating and making these garments is enormous. There were difficult days. On the other hand, the desire to let go of everything has never appeared at our door.
I won't hide it from you, it's tough to break into a more saturated environment. Not to mention that opening a store in addition to being pregnant offers its many challenges. My greatest gift in life, Oscar, became my greatest challenge to overcome and succeed. A roller coaster of emotions in addition to good performance stress kept me hungry to continue in this adventure.
A question of luck?
I have often been told that I am lucky to be where I am now and that it seems easy to represent fashion the way I do; “Just put on my nice clothes and that’s it!”
I want to tell you that it’s not all luck. It would be much more beautiful to believe in this kind of fairy tale. To come back to what I told you above; would I do it again tomorrow morning? The answer is no. Do I regret my journey and being here as of today? Neither. I will never regret choosing this path, with Bill. This is my passion; fashion. It's also the greatest gift (after Oscar, of course), that I can pass on all this baggage that I've been accumulating for years. To know that the community that we have managed to bring together over time supports us and proudly wears our pieces; this soothes all the suffering/sacrifices that we have had to go through over the years.
The big JOELLE family
On another note, I couldn't finish JOELLE's story without mentioning the people with whom all this would not have been possible. In another article, it will be interesting to explain the roles and responsibilities of each person in more detail, but it was important for me to tell you that these people are essential to the JOELLE equation.
The JOELLE seamstresses
That being said, when it comes to making clothes, we have a sewing workshop which is staffed by our seamstresses. Our first employees. They bring our products to life and understand my vision for these garments.
Our pattern maker
The same goes for our pattern maker, Martine. We could define Martine as being the architect of my head. In other words, it brings my creations and ideas to life from a more technical point of view. When I tell you that fashion is intelligent, well these women manage to give meaning to these words.
My creative partner
Subsequently, in order to follow this chronological order of events, another great pillar arrives in JOELLE for whom I had an instant crush, Mel. Starting from the days when she was my college intern (when I taught at Collège Laflèche), she who wanted to learn so much about fashion, to today a stylist and designer at JOELLE. When I tell you Mel has been there since day one, it's the truth! She, too, believed in the impact I could have with the organization and I immediately felt a closeness and a deep connection with this girl. It is a beauty in every sense. Beautiful, both inside and out, Mel offers sweetness to my life. She simply inspires me. We are two full-fledged women who share the same brain if we want to depict an abstract reality. So, she was automatically added to the team we had and to this day, she continues to grow with us. The styling and creativity that Mel brings to JOELLE is indescribable. In the right direction. I couldn't find a second Melou, it's impossible (and I wouldn't want to either).
Our general supervisor
Let's continue with another woman essential to the JOELLE equation, Isabelle. I remember when she came to see me, a few years ago, to tell me that she knew full well that JOELLE was going to be big in the near future and that she absolutely wanted to be part of this adventure with us. When the moment was most opportune, Isabelle joined the big JOELLE family and it was a perfect match. It brings great structure to our organization. We couldn't have this sense of organization and planning without it. She went from managing in store to managing in our offices quite quickly, because I knew right away that she was going to achieve great things with us. She's the kind of woman who always surprises us; positive and warm, it even allows me to position myself on the person I am. Finally, Isa doesn't have two either, luckily for us!
(Oldest photo with Isa - 2016)
Our production director
Then, joins Kassandre, a long-time friend and a partner in fashion marketing projects. She worked under contract with us in the early days. Subsequently, when we realized everything that JOELLE brought us, we couldn't part with it. Her contracts changed constantly and we were very happy to have her among us. Her expertise is important to growth at JOELLE, the missing piece of our puzzle!
Our customer service team
Regarding the girls who are present, every day, with you on social networks and on the web, Maryka, Marlou, Caro as well as all the girls in the store; they are so important to this great story. These girls who have been there since the beginning of the opening and who are loyal, are necessary for the prosperity of JOELLE. I am proud to say that I have a great work team and I am grateful for everything they give me on a daily basis.
The marketing team
Finally, we have the marketing team which is made up of Charlotte (Charls) and Liana (Lee Chee) who have been with us since last January. A creative duo which was greatly awaited in the offices and which is important to this growth that we are experiencing. Two women, different in every way, but who complement each other on another level. Ultimately, they are two great pillars of this department and we can say that they arrived at exactly the right time in this story.
You see, all these people I told you about in this story, what do they have in common? They all believed in the scale that JOELLE could have from the very beginning and they remained extremely loyal to my vision. These are all my allies who share my passion through their daily lives and I couldn't be happier not only to have met them, but to be able to work with them (and him) every day!
“To him who has been my faithful companion for half my life already”
I would be lying to you if I told you that this completed the story since there is so much more I have to tell you. However, I would just like to make one last little nod to a being who is very precious to me and who has been there since day 1. He who has been my faithful companion for half my life already and without whom I couldn't imagine living this beautiful story that I'm telling you just now. A being who recently left us and who will remain forever engraved in my heart and in the big JOELLE family; Moko. It's important for me to tell you, perhaps to help me accept the reality of the thing or simply to remind me of all the positive things that this dog has brought me over these many years. In short, I didn't want to forget to include it in this magnificent timeline.
“Don’t regret anything, because everything you experience will bring real meaning to your life”
Finally, what I would like to say to the Joelle of 10 years ago: go ahead, go for it, my Jo! Hug that what you are going to experience will be difficult, but so rewarding. A lot of good will come out of this and several obstacles will be encountered. However, the positive will take over. No words I can say to you will do justice to what you are about to accomplish. Don't regret anything, because everything you experience will bring real meaning to your life.