As many of you may already know, because of my many Facebook and twitter updates, I’ve been spending most of January traveling throughout our beautiful province of Ontario and also venturing over into Quebec!
Quebec is fairly new territory for me as a jewelry designer. I’ve heard mixed opinions about doing business with our French neighbours and have even had a few negative experiences myself. My first crack at it was a three day trade show in Montreal. 100 stores came through and I ended up with a whopping 0 orders (yup, that’s right… zero, zilch, nada!), and that scared me! That’s when the road down negative lane began. How could this have happened? Why me? I’ve NEVER had an experience like this before. I asked everyone for their opinion! Here were some of the answers that I got. “Quebec people stick with their own designers”, “If you can’t speak French just forget it”, “Your colours are too bright”, “They like metal, not beads.” Writing these reasons out now makes me realize how ridiculous they are. For some reason I wasn’t processing these opinions, I was just letting them validate the reason why I was being rejected by Quebec!
You know when they say, NEVER let your ego guide you through life, ummmm I think this is one example of what they’re talking about.
I kept those stories about Quebec in my head for 3 years! Then one day I was speaking with a good friend, Brenda Beddome, who is an incredible clothing designer! We were discussing our retail accounts and giving each other leads. Brenda then said to me, “Why aren’t you in Quebec?”. I opened my mouth and out came the “stories”…. blah blah blah…. It sounded terrible just to repeat what I had heard. Brenda said, “I don’t speak French and we have some great accounts there, here are some names, go visit them”…. WHAT????? REALLY???? I was sure that Brenda must know of some secret formula that I didn’t have. I phoned those stores to make appointments… and they all said, YES!
First appointment was in Montreal; they loved the julz and placed an order! Second Appointment in Montreal, they loved the julz and placed an order! Then over to Saint Lambert, you guessed it, LOVED glamjulz!!!!!!!!!!! Woooo Hoooo!!!! I was thrilled and relieved, and my love for Quebec was reinvigorated!
It’s been such a pleasure visiting with them all over the last week and showing them the 2012 spring collection. They all mentioned that they especially love the julz because they dress up any outfit. Walking through Montreal I had noticed how “together” the women and men look. There are no track pants and hoodies, 80% of the people are “dressed” when they leave the house. Stylish, coordinated, and proud of the way they look. I think that’s one of the reasons why the boutiques here do so well, the staff is trained to “style” their customers and give them lots of attention. Customer service is always the first priority in any business. It’s wonderful to see, and the French language makes the whole experience even more romantic.
By the way, if you want to do business in Quebec and, like me, you barely passed French because you were too busy chasing boys or passing notes back and forth in high school, don’t worry about it! Just smile! Say “bonjour” and try your best! Vive le Canada!