Last Friday, I had the opportunity to visit with and photograph the beautiful, talented and inspiring Marie-Christine Bouffard; the founder, owner, and creative force behind La Génératrice. La Génératrice is a small company who specializes in creating arts and crafts kits for children, families, and adults. For the french speaking audience, here is a great write-up(ckick here) from the blog, monsaintroch.com from earlier this week! La Génératrice holds workshops all over Québec for events or private parties. Everything they do is filled with so much creativity and FUN, I had to jump at the chance to work with her!
I arrived at the address she gave me, 335 rue Saint Joseph-Est, around 12:30pm. I stood downstairs waiting for Marie-Christine to buzz me into the building where she recently moved her workshop to; right in the heart of Nouvo-Saint-Roch in Québec City. It feels more like your walking into an apartment or condo building; no big signs present downstairs, and as you enter the hallway, there is a sort of retro-modern art-deco feeling, navy blue and silver wallpaper on the walls. We hopped into the elevator, which Marie-Christine adds is one of her many favorite features of her new space! "We don't have to lug all of our supplies up and down stairs anymore!!" She exclaims with a huge smile.
Once to the second floor, we arrive to the shared office space where La Génératrice is located. "I have walls and a door on my studio now!" She proudly annouces as we walk into the workshop. La Génératrice was previously located on Saint Vallier Est in an open co-working space. "It was a great space, and the people were great, but we have sooooo much stuff! I was always worried that we were taking up too much room and didn't want to disturb any of the other people who were working. We needed more storage. We needed a closed working environment. "
And this is exactly what Marie-Christine now has. Small but big enough, she is able to keep all of her material and products neatly organized on one wall, she has a desk that sits right next to a big window overlooking the corner of Charest and Dorchester, and in the middle of the room is a large working table where she makes all of her magic!
When I work with a small business like this, I don't just show up and take pictures but I want to learn about the business. I ask (a lot of) questions, it helps better guide me to understand the business and the creative forces behind it, and in turn makes me tell their story in the most authentic way possible.
Here is a bit of what Marie-Christine shared with me about her journey into entrepreneurship and where she sees La Génératrice going in the future!
JM: How long has La Génératrice been in business?
LG: La Génératrice started as an idea in the fall of 2013. My friend Maude and I were on maternity leave and the thought of eventually going back to our jobs didn't sound attractive at all! We were longing for a creative outlet. That kind of work environment didn't exist, as we perceived it, so we created it! The idea officially became a company in January 2014.
JM: Where did the concept for La Génératrice come from?
LG: We brainstormed about what we wanted to offer and do for a bit, but it all came down to making stuff; our heads were spinning with projects and ideas that we wanted to share. The name La Génératrice (the generator) came naturally as we felt we could provide people with the source of creativity they needed; a circuit of ideas!
JM: How did you get your start?
LG: Our big kick off happened a short while after a startup week long “day camp” organized by La Ruche, a local crowdfunding platform. After such an intense week of networking, strategizing and refining our brand, we were ready to start our journey. At the same time, we were approached by the entertainment & activity director at Hôtel Le Germain Charlevoix in Baie St-Paul, formerly known as Hôtel La Ferme, to organize craft workshops during their farmer’s market events. And off we were!
JM: How do you source your inspiration?
LG: My inspiration comes form a multitude of resources. My main focus is to use reclaimed materials and nature found items to make people aware of their surroundings. With that in mind, my creative process never takes a break! I’ll get inspired by branches on the side walk as I walk my daughter to school, or pine cones my 2 year old collected at the park, for example. I’ll then start my research by going through the material in my craft space to determine if it meets the project’s theme. Then, Pinterest and blogs for more ideas or finishing details.
JM: What plans do you have for the future?
LG: I am really excited about the adult workshops that I am just starting at a local coffee shop. I hope to offer these events at three different locations by the end of summer, and into the fall season with a full schedule.
I also would like to push my line of products (kids craft kits) on retailers’ shelves. They are truly practical and fun and every parent should have one on hand!
JM: What would you say to other small start up businesses who are just getting their bearings, or who don't even know where to begin? What's the best advice you could give them?
LG: My words of wisdom to other start-ups: start slow but think big! Also, a few clichés (but SO true!);
- Listen to your gut feeling; if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Remember the value of your work and/or product; sometimes we have to refuse projects/contracts to make room for bigger and better ones.
- Find a your work/life balance early on. Being an entrepreneur often means long days, short nights. Don’t forget about YOU!!
From kids arts and crafts kits to dreamcatcher kits for adults, La Génératrice has something for everyone. They hold workshops all over the province for children and families, as well as event planning and decoration for parties and weddings. Kids birthday parties, a ladies wine and crafts night, or maybe you need some decor and catering help for you husband's 40th birthday party?? As they once used as a slogan; La Génératrice: le moteur à idées.. Basically, you need some creative ideas?? We've got you.
for more information on her workshops or booking an event, contact
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