Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Salimah Jivani, Dania Lecomples and Darah Lecomples, who launched Montreal boutique Nouveau Noir to help women feel fabulous no matter the occasion. We caught up with the trio to find out what’s best about working together and what advice they would share with other young professionals…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
We own a women’s clothing store. Our job is to help our clients obtain a feeling of power, sexiness, comfort, or beauty. Whether it is dressing them in a pair of sweatpants and a basic tee or a black tie gown, our end game is to make sure they feel fabulous.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
We decided to open Nouveau Noir while chatting one night over drinks at the Ritz bar. The three of us really felt that there was a lack of access to unique, edgy, on-trend pieces in the city. We wanted to introduce a finely curated mix of brands from around the world that weren’t readily available in Montreal. Inspired by a slew of brands we personally love and pieces we handpick every season, the store is the ultimate reflection of our style. It combines each of our identities to form a one-of-a-kind fusion.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Definitely the best part of our day-to-day is spending time with our clients. There is nothing more that we love than getting to know our clients on a one-on-one basis and building bonds with them – whether it’s regarding style or our favourite restaurant.
The other amazing side to our day-to-day grind is the fact that we get to work with each other. We are truly lucky to say we get the chance to go to work with our best friends every day. We are more than just business partners to each other, we have a sisterly bond. We work hard together, and play even harder…
The challenging part would most definitely be making sure we are offering our clients everything they are looking for. We aim to please, so we are constantly focused on what we can be doing better, what products we are missing, and how we can be the best we can be.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Life is not unbalanced if you are having fun doing what you love with your friends. For the moments where we do get a bit caught up and turn into full-blown workaholics, our parents definitely keep us grounded and reel us back in.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Fingers crossed, we hope to be running a mini empire with Nouveau Noir shops sprinkled all over the world.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
One of the major challenges we encountered, especially at the beginning, was being doubted due to our lack of experience or the fact that we’re young. While it was frustrating, we learned that the best thing we could do was let our actions speak louder than our words. Showing our work ethic and proving to people that we stand by our word was the best way to overcome this challenge and show them that regardless of experience or age, we meant business.
What does success look like to you? Does Money=Happiness?
Success is the feeling of fulfillment; it’s a feeling of setting goals and reaching them and continuing to look higher and higher. Money does not equal happiness. The most exhilarating feelings are not associated with a monetary value, and no matter the price, they cannot be replicated.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Putting the key into the door on 2075 Crescent St. and watching that first sales receipt print.
Do you have any other advice for other young professionals?
Our motto is to keep it positive. There will always be someone trying to put a damper on your dreams and the best thing to do is take their negativity, flip it, and let it fuel your drive to work even harder.
Where is your favourite place to wine/die in your city and why?
Dania: Milos. Obsessed with their sea bass and tomatoes.
Darah & Sal: Maison Boulud at the Ritz. Sitting at the bar and having an Orient Cosmo is definitely our fave.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “me” time?
Dania and Sal: Trying the latest class at the gym together or watching and gossiping about reality TV shows.
Darah: Living at Grade Savers and finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Finance.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Dania & Darah: Love to go home to Panama – spend a little quality time with the family and soak in the rays.
Sal: L.A., because home is where the heart is.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
My Head is A Jungle – Wankelmut and Emma Louise
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Dania: Getting my Masters in Business.
Darah: In Panama working for the family.
Sal: Good question… but definitely not having as much fun as I am now.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Every October, we hold The Annual Noir Does Pink Fundraiser in honour of breast cancer. This cause is extremely important to the three of us as Salimah lost her mom to breast cancer, so it’s near and dear to our hearts. We also strongly believe that as three young women whose clientele is made up of women, it is our duty to spread awareness and use Nouveau Noir as a platform to make a difference.
What is notable to you?
Being able to live your dream with those you love the most.