Today’s Notable Young Professional is Lord Photo General Manager Julie Clairmont, whose Montreal photo shop continues to be an industry leader despite the emergence of online camera shops and big box stores since her grandfather first established the business back in 1938…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Lord Photo was founded in 1938 by Lionel Lord, my grandfather, as the ‘Studio Lord’. He was taking portraits of military members who were leaving their families during the war. Few years after, he started selling cameras and became a retail store. He discovered his marketing skills by organizing events and making publicity. My parents and uncle took the business in 1979, keeping the same mission, and we became the largest photo store South of Montreal.
For the past 10 years, I have been involved in the business as General Manager and keep running with the same focus: on service.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was born in the family business, so I saw my parents work and give their heart to our customers.
I studied Hotel Management to learn more of each and every department in a hotel because it is the same in a store. You want your customers to come back and have the best experience. After a year in a hotel, getting experience, I decided to come back home and get involved in the family business.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The most challenging part of a normal day is to accomplish everything. As an SMB manager, we are touching every department – and it is also the best part of the job. I never do the same thing.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, my parents will have left the business and I will be leading it on my own, so I want to have a great team and co-workers.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have had was to work with my family. It’s a daily challenge and you have to be prepared to do that with a coach. We are all passionate and we sometimes have different ideas; we have to take an objective standpoint and determine what is best for the business.
We are also very challenged by the Internet, and we are taking an aggressive digital strategy.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success for me is to have happy customers that buy the right product and are well-served. When customers are satisfied, they come back, and they refer friends and family. Happy customers make you money.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The most important event in my career was winning the best retail store in 2007 by the Chamber of Commerce. It was my introduction as the new manager, and the new generation, and it was a great accomplishment.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Love your job. Do what you love.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Steak Frites Saint-Paul because it’s a family business with dynamic professionals; the ambiance is great and the food is amazing, plus you can bring your own wine.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Taking portraits and playing with my little girl.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love travelling. The best place I went to was Porto in Portugal. History, landscape, people… and Porto, there is a reason why the wine is notorious!
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Happy – Pharrell Williams
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I can’t see myself doing something else as I love the industry and my amazing team… but I would probably own a restaurant.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you? We support Saint-Vincent de Paul. It’s an organization that helps people living in poverty in our community. Each year we are supporting them by giving money and participating in their activities.
What to you is notable?
I would say great leadership and listening skills.
I found that my love and contact with people is what drives me the most. To listen to your customers and be able to suggest a product that really fills their needs is an amazing feeling and I love it. It’s the key to our success and also how we can compete with online shops and big box retailers. We train our team to serve our clients just like we would like to be served. That’s our leadership vision and that’s what we feel is notable in today’s competitive marketplace.
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, iPad, iEverything. It will never replace a camera, but has the best resolution in smartphones.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)