Recognizing enormous market potential in the field of fashionable eyewear, Sophie Boulanger co-founded BonLook just over two years as part of a new breed of e-commerce businesses that changes the traditional model by selling directly to customers…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I co-founded BonLook over two years ago with Melanie Daigle and my brother Louis-Felix. BonLook designs, manufactures and sells fashionable prescription eyewear. We are part of a new breed of e-commerce businesses that change the traditional model by selling directly to customers. That way we can sell a very good quality product at an unprecedented price. While Melanie and Louis-Félix respectively take care of operations/marketing and web/admin, I am in charge of the product and the branding. Therefore, I travel a lot all year round either to international trade shows in Asia or Europe, or to visit our manufacturing plants and suppliers in China. I just love what I do and I think I have created the perfect job for me!
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
After graduating from SDA Bocconi in Milan, I started working for the LVMH group in Paris, at the headquarters of Christian Dior for their Prêt-à-porter féminin marketing team. Although this was a great experience, after a while I was looking to come back to Montreal to tackle a new challenge. I then accepted a job as a buyer for Montreal retailer Jacob for a few years, followed by a job as retail manager for the Groupe Germain hotels. I can really say that my past experience as a merchandiser helped me gain valuable experience to start my own business.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is really feeling that you are building something day after day and knowing that your work has a direct impact on your clients and on your employees. But I would say that at the same time this is also most challenging, because you start having greater responsibilities towards them as your company grows.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself having brought BonLook, along with my partners, to another level both in terms of sales, products, employees and involvement in our community. We are on a mission to democratize fashionable eyewear and I think that the market potential is enormous for us.
What does success look like to you?
Haha! I think success is kind of overrated, at least for me, because when you reach certain goals that you had, then your points of reference move up and you set yourself bigger goals. So for me success is actually acknowledging that you are happy and love what you do on a daily basis, and to keep going on for more day after day. If you do something you like, then I believe that you have a successful life.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Starting my own business.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I think it’s important to try to master at least two or three languages and open your horizons by travelling, studying or working abroad. It really gives you an edge and another perspective. Another thing is to “never say no” in your twenties. Accept all the challenges and tasks that are given to you. It’s the best time to learn and grab every opportunity you can.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am involved in the organization of the Casino contre le cancer of the Institut du cancer the Montreal. I learned about it through my father’s involvement. I really believe in the work of the Institute because it not only has the goal of fighting cancer but also acts to foster innovation and research funding in Montreal, contributing to the economy as a whole as well as the research ecosystem.
What to you is notable?
Having a proactive attitude in general rather than waiting for things to happen. We live in a time of millions of opportunities and it’s up to us to create value in our communities.
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