Bien a vous for Oneself
OS Tell us about Bien à Vous. What is it and how did it come to be?
BAV Bien à vous is a stationary company based in Montreal. Our mission is to promote visual art from here.
Patricia was shopping at local shop Boucle et Papier and came to the conclusion that there was a shortage of beautiful greeting cards in French. She immediately called Jeanne. “Jeanne, we should start a stationary company together, are you in?” She said YES! 5 months later we already have to collections of greeting cards on the shelves and we are quickly expending our line to notebooks, pens, garlands and other surprises.
OS How did you guys came out to work together?
BAV We met through Beatrice Martin aka Coeur de Pirate at a switch and bitch at her place. We then came to work together for the last few years.
OS What was the most challenging part in starting Bien à Vous?
BAV Not knowing anything about being small business owners… Otherwise, we hate accounting and printing delays, but the rest is pure joy.
OS Alternatively, what’s the most rewarding part?
BAV Seeing our designs and the ones of people we love coming to life. We were really surprises by the amazing response after our launch. We can’t believe that it is our 3rd reprint. Also, our relationship with local shop owners are very heart warming. They have been so helpful and present for us. We also love ordering enveloppes, so many colors!
OS We love seeing the illustrations from different artists and yourselves. How does the creative process comes together?
BAV We have a wishlist of artists that we have been admiring from afar. For each collection we contact a few of them and we give them total freedom about the creative content they provide for us. So far, we’ve had great results and we are proud to encourage up and coming creators. As for the rest, we spend days at our kitchen tables drawing together.
OS Tell us a bit more about your shoot for Oneself. What inspired your choices?
BAV We choose pieces that went well together, cause we complete each other. Plus, we hate winter and these are great summer essentials.
"Relax and enjoy the ride. Drink decaf and wine when necessary"
OS If we go back to the beginning, did you started with a business plan? There was for sure room to be filled with creativity in Montreal’s stationary market but nobody took that opportunity. What's your goal for Bien à Vous?
BAV First, what is a business plan? ;) Just kidding! We met with our accountant and future partners and we just went for it (carefully.) We are going slowly and we make sure to establish meaningful relationships with shop owners one at a time instead of flooding the market with our products.
OS What are some lessons you've learned until now in creating your own products and working with a small team?
BAV You have to be in constant communication with everyone. Finding the right partner is key. We are constantly joking about completing each other, but it is true, it is the most crucial part about starting a small business.
OS Additionally to Bien à Vous, you both have different projects going on and work on tight schedules. What’s your working mantra or advice to someone who wants to launch their dream business?
BAV One day at a time, it is only greeting cards, we are not saving lives. Relax and enjoy the ride. Drink decaf and wine when necessary.
Photo credit : Oumayma B. Tanfous