Today’s Notable Young Professional is Cinthya Chalifoux, the designer and owner of couture design house, La Maison Bespokenov. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a fashion creator and the president of Maison Bespokenov. I conceptualize, cut and sew unique handcrafted pieces for men and women. Completely oriented towards professional craftsmanship, I see my approach as wearable visual art. Like a hybrid between museum curators and traders from days gone by, I scout the world searching for the secrets of remarkable craftsmen, couturiers, and fabric makers. On a recent trip to Paris, I had the opportunity to enrich my craft at La Fédération Nationale des Maîtres-Tailleurs de France (the National French Federation of Master Tailors). What an unforgettable experience that was!
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
As a child, I was always fascinated by the couture world and its pioneers, growing up as an individual and then as a professional my route evolved into going back to my initial love for the trade which translates into quite an atypical choice.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
A recent seminar with a world-renowned artisan which gave me a powerful awakening to prepare and allow a bold direction change in my career, but I have to admit that my three-month trip to France was something I will always remember and treasure.
4. Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 20 years?
Within the next five years, I see my business growing on an international scale, with in-house training programs. In 10 years, I see myself creating subsidiaries that will offer specialized craft services and 20 years from now, I see myself giving back to the arts and craftsmanship communities to assure the sustainability of this knowledge.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t let fear bring you down; instead, use it as motivation. We should embrace our differences; normal simply gets you nowhere.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I proudly support the Starlight Children’s Foundation and their annual Drive 4 Smiles event. I strongly believe that childhood should be about connecting with our dreams and the foundation is doing an amazing job at raising money for children in need of care, while also giving them a memorable experience. I also invest time as a blogger for BAAM Montreal. Without being an official charity, BAAM gives back to the community by creating a bridge between art and business, therefore raising awareness and helping to support a new generation of philanthropists.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Having to close a business and overcome the feeling of failure in order to emerge back in a more suitable direction in both a personal and professional way. It took time, great support (my husband is awesome!) and a great deal of humility. Admitting that you have to change direction is, to me, one of the greatest challenges to overcome.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Remarkable, different, humble and noble.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I have two! La Barake caserne à manger because it simply feels like a second home and when I feel like spoiling myself, I go to Da Emma.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Business of Fashion (BOF) is a recurrent read of mine and of course my own. Lately, I have been listening to a collaborative new unreleased song in a loop from A Pigeon.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Valerie Von Sobel. The artist and philanthropist will probably change your idea of what aging looks like.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Italy definitely. From the scenery to the culture, everything appeals to me and of course France for all its history and ancestral savoir-faire.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
I do work long hours and try to stay away from social media from time to time to avoid the feeling!
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Wine. Need I say more?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
A 1982 bottle of Rioja that didn’t turn out to be good. But it’s part of the game when purchasing a vintage wine!
Vinyls! I love their warm sound and had so many chances to buy some when I was younger. I would have a great collection by now!
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
In my world, work is play and success means accomplishing the goals to keep on playing!